Cinnamon-Roasted Beet and Sweet Potato Spelt Berry Salad
First of all, thank you so much for your kind words about my refrigerator woes, and an immense amount of gratitude goes to my friends and family for offering to help store our food over the weekend. You’d think there would be an emergency fridge delivery service, eh? Or maybe our landlord just opted for the “deliver it on Monday” option. Suffice it to say we had three days without fridge stuff.
How did we manage? Oatmeal. Twice a day. I am only partly joking. If I going to make a single serving of any food, it better be quick. Hence, the oats. I jazzed them up as a dessert pudding with chocolate protein powder, which is also how I ate them for breakfast, too. Still tasty.
Rob and I also unearthened some of our favourite foods from the freezer. It is amazing what I had forgotten that been stashed away. I had the forethought to freeze meals in single servings (or 2), so it was perfect. Freezer meals don’t have to be shabby. We had memories of summer produce by munching through Greek Stewed Swiss Chard With Tomatoes, Mint and Lima Beans, Peruvian Mayocoba Bean Bowl with a Roasted Pepper Sauce, Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew and even older but (still) goodie Cauliflower, Spinach and Chickpea Balti. Score!
I also experimented with frozen oats and frozen stir fries. Meals that I had made before the fridge died but then stashed outside, in the winter chill, to freeze. It works! Turns out I am not the first person to have figured out you can freeze steel-cut oatmeal (Trader Joe’s even sells it). You can rest assured I will be sharing those recipes eventually (the stir-fry, not how to freeze oats).
In the meantime, I am sharing a cinnamon-spiced beet and sweet potato salad with spelt berries and kale. Ashley raved about Kath’s salad, so I had been meaning to try it out for a while. Plus, Valentine’s Day is all about the red foods, eh? Bring on the beets!
I’ve gone the savoury cinnamon route before (Strawberry and Roasted Chickpea Salad with a Cinnamon Vinaigrette, Moroccan Barley and Pea Shoot Salad, Cherry Collard Dolmas) and this was pretty good, too. I won’t gush its praises but it was fit for a weeknight meal (maybe not for anti-kale guests). It may seem like an involved salad but you just need to prepare each component separately – the cinnamon-roasted beets and sweets, the spelt berries, the sauteed kale and finally, the dressing.
I have had problems with burned spices when added to roasted vegetables, but this worked out. The sweetener from the dressing helps to accentuate the earthiness of the cinnamon. I imagine adding maple syrup to the veggies while roasting would be delicious as well.
How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? Red food? Chocolate? Or nothing at all, since every day is an awesome celebration of love? I vote for the latter, but I know Rob is planning a special home-cooked meal for me later this week. He has leaked that it will involve frozen bananas. (Exciting! Nothing more sexy than your man in an apron, no?)
3 beets, peeled and chopped (I had 300g golden beets)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups or 400g)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup dry spelt berries (or wheat berries)
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch of kale, leaves removed and stems chopped (400g) – could also use beet greens
7 cloves garlic, divided into 5 and 2, minced
2 tbsp sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Smear beets and sweet potato with 1 tablespoon oil, and sprinkle with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Toss to evenly coat. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring half-way.
2. Meanwhile, combine spelt berries with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes, until tender but still chewy.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: combine maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, 2 cloves garlic, salt and pepper in a jar. Stir to combine and set aside.
3. Once your veggies and berries are almost finished, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and when warm, stir in 5 cloves garlic until fragrant. Add chopped greens and saute for 5 minutes, until cooked through and they turn a rich green.
4. To assemble, combine roasted vegetables, spelt berries, sauteed greens, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.