Quinoa with Sweet Potato and Spinach

May 18, 2013

I haven't been posting as much lately because I have fallen into a dinnertime rut.  It is an awkward time of year in Minnesota: the weather is getting warmer, but there won't be much in the way of locally grown produce until mid-June.  And as much as I love Tuna Noodle, it's hard to get excited about comfort food when the temperature is in the 80s.  So, motivated by a lonely extra sweet potato from my African Peanut Soup, I set off on the Internet to find some inspiration.

I used this recipe for Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Pesto on the Real Simple website as a starting point.  Since Mike is most definitely not a kale fan, I substituted spinach and shortened the cooking time.  I also skipped the pesto, since it seemed like there was enough going on flavor-wise without it.  This recipe ended up being exactly what I was craving: the sweetness of the sweet potatoes pairs nicely with the sweetness of the onion, the spinach provides some brightness, and the nuttiness of the quinoa and walnuts balance everything out.

Recipe update 12/14/2017: This is one of my most-cooked recipes, and I've changed it a bit over the past few years.  I now use coconut oil instead of olive oil, don't bother peeling the sweet potatoes, and always toast the walnuts.  I've also edited the instructions for clarity.


Inspired by Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Pesto by Charlyne Mattox

Serves 4


Quinoa with Sweet Potato and Spinach Ingredients  
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • (6-ounce) package baby spinach

Add quinoa and 2 cups of water to a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 15 minutes, until quinoa is fluffy and has absorbed all of the water.

Toast walnuts over medium heat in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove walnuts from saucepan and set aside.

Melt coconut oil in the medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the sweet potato, salt, and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potato starts to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potato and onion are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the spinach and stir constantly until spinach is wilted.

Serve sweet potato mixture over prepared quinoa and top with toasted walnuts.

Quinoa with Sweet Potato and Spinach


Recipe updated 12/14/2017