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Spinach Salad with Orange-Soy Dressing, Candied Almonds and Sweet Potato Crouton

What you need: 

Orange-Soy Dressing:
1/4 freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup safflower or other light oil (I used hemp, delicious and nutritious!) Candied Almonds:
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar (or brown rice syrup)
1 teaspoon or so cooking oil
salt Sweet Potato Croutons:
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1/2 teaspoon each basil, oregano, chili powder
1/4 teaspoon each mustard powder, onion
powder, garlic powder
Cooking oil Salad:
1 beet, shredded
Desired amount of fresh baby spinach leaves
1 carrot, shredded
2 oranges, peeled and chopped

What you do: 

Orange-Soy Dressing:
The recipe for the Orange-Soy Dressing is provided courtesy of The New Now and Zen Epicure with permission from the Book Publishing Company.
It's very important to squeeze the orange juice right before using, or it will lack the necessary aroma and flavour. Mix the juice, soy sauce, and vinegar together, then whisk in the oil slowly until thickened.
Candied Almonds:
Turn oven on 'broiler' setting. Spread almonds out on a baking sheet and drizzle with nectar/syrup and oil. Use desired amount of salt. Bake under broiler until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Sweet Potato Croutons:
This is basically how I always eat sweet potatoes, this time only in smaller cubes with a nice crispy texture.
Cube sweet potatoes about 1/2-1 inch in size. Mix spices in a Tupperware-type container. Throw in sweet potato, put on the lid and shake. Empty onto lightly oiled baking sheet, spraying a little extra oil on top of the potatoes.
Bake for about 10 mins on 350 (keep checking to see if potatoes have softened). Once they are almost cooked, turn on the broiler in your oven. Lightly brown the croutons, remove from oven, flip them over, spray lightly with oil and return to oven to lightly brown under the broiler again.
Salad:
Mix all salad ingredients together in large salad bowl with almonds, croutons and salad dressing!

Preparation Time: 
30 minutes
Cooking Time: 
Servings: 
4-6
Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

This is a visually stunning recipe, it makes an incredible looking salad - making sure it TASTES fantastic is a little bit more of a trick. I think that based on the quality of your oranges (Fresh fully ripened Florida vs random crap greenhouse orange) you need to be tasting and adjusting the quantity of orange juice in your dressing and the amount of orange you chop up to add to the salad. Following the recipe relatively closely left me with a salad that wasn't quite there, I tried a few things not in the recipe that helped (a splash of lemon juice to add a little more zing to the dressing) but in the end it was simple to turn it into a fantastic salad - more oranges. The sweetness and the flavour that this recipe is based on really needs to be there in full force, if it isn't you may not be getting the most out of this recipe.

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Delicious!  And I can't believe how much my husband liked this salad...
The sweet potatoes were my favorite part, with the candied almonds coming in second...although I burnt the first batch of almonds...I underestimated the power of my broiler....
The dressing was....meh....but it went well with the salad....I just wanted it to be a little more orangy, but all I really tasted was soy sauce and oil (and I only used 2 tbs of oil)
All in all, I think it was awesome and I will definitely make it again!

I always add a little extra vinegar, and some orange zest to this. It's a great salad!

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Delicious!  And I can't believe how much my husband liked this salad...
The sweet potatoes were my favorite part, with the candied almonds coming in second...although I burnt the first batch of almonds...I underestimated the power of my broiler....
The dressing was....meh....but it went well with the salad....I just wanted it to be a little more orangy, but all I really tasted was soy sauce and oil (and I only used 2 tbs of oil)
All in all, I think it was awesome and I will definitely make it again!

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The sweet potato idea is fabulous.. I love them even more now.  I didn't have beets or almonds, and I used the dressing as a jumping off point, and added some tahini and a little maple syrup.  I used cashews, which came out great.  I didn't realize it was so easy to candy nuts, and it didn't take much sweetener with the cashews, I barely drizzled on maple flavored agave and stirred them til coated.  Excellent, excellent salad, exactly what I was looking for, an interesting salad that would make me look forward to salad for dinner.

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The sweet potatoes in this recipe are awesome!  I will be doubling the amount of sweet potatoes next time I make this.  I used pecans instead of almonds because it's what I had on hand.  The dressing had a good flavor but proved to be just a little too acidic for my stomach.  I just love the combination of warm, crunchy sweet potatoes, sweet pecans, & fresh spinach. Very lovely!  ;)b

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This is pretty and pretty darn good salad.  Love the sweet potato in it of course!

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THIS SOUNDS SO GOOD!!!!! ;D  The sweet potato croutons sound amazing!  I'm really going to have to try this recipe!  Thank you so much for posting this, idioglossia!!  :biggrin:

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I've got to try the dressing sounds really good. Definitley will try the rest as well. I have blood oranges I need to make use of. Have to get a sweet potato first  Then I will let you know how it all is.

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Made this for a seder dinner tonight (all omnis) and everyone loved it - they all went back for seconds  ;)b. I think it helped that it looked impressive with all the lovely colours.

I had to modify the croutons though, as i'm poor & couldn't afford the powders i didn't already have, so i just used garlic flakes, chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper & i ate a bunch before they even made it into the salad >:D. Also i found my brown rice syrup had gone off, so i used golden syrup on the almonds instead.

I'll definitely be making it again for events when i wish to impress omnis, i find as a gluten free vegan i feel i must work doubly hard to show we can still eat well! Thanks for sharing it.

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This was FANTASTIC!!!  I had the girls over for dinner and made this and they LOVED it!  Even my husband loved it, especially the sweet potato croutons.  I can't wait to make it again.  I didn't candy the almonds and it was still great.  Next time I think I will though.

Thank you for posting this recipe!! 

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