Sweet Potato, Fennel & Olive Salad with Crispy Kale & Quinoa
This bowl has been my lunch for the last four days… I may have even eaten it for lunch and dinner yesterday! It’s just that good.
The idea of sweet potatoes mixed with olives, fennel and kale may not seem totally conventional, but it’s really one of the best combinations of flavours and textures that I’ve found in a while. The sweet, tender nature of the potatoes contrasts perfectly with the salty, ever so slightly chewy olives, the crispy kale and the crunchy, lime infused slithers of tangy fennel. Once everything is mixed together with the quinoa it’s just heaven, so unbelievably delicious and wonderfully energising. You’ll be jumping up and down after you eat it! You also feel like a total goddess while you eat it as you know that you’re taking it such an amazing amount of goodness with each bite, which is so awesome.
Everything in the bowl is bursting with goodness, but the real winner here is Kale, which is such a powerhouse of nutrition, it’s really the king of all vegetables. Did you know that per calorie it has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk? As well as being loaded up with vitamins K, A & C, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and fibre. You can’t really get much better than that! Really its the best support for every system in your body, as well as your hair and skin. I’ve even been putting kale in my morning smoothies to ensure that I eat it everyday.
The other veggie here which I don’t talk about all the time is fennel. It’s such a delicious vegetable, and one that is not enjoyed enough, as it makes an awesome addition to any meal, while also being a fantastic source of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. It even contains particular compounds which have been shown to prevent the occurrence of cancer. Most people tend to roast their fennel but I prefer mine raw and marinated overnight with lime and olive oil. This process softens the fennel, leaving it slightly crunchy but soft enough to devour, while also infusing it with a tangy deliciousness. If you haven’t tried it like this then you’re in for such a treat! It is seriously divine, everyone always loves it, especially as it’s so nice to get something new and unexpected into your diet. It also lasts about five days like this if it’s stored in an air tight box in the fridge, so you can marinate two or three bulbs at once, which only takes a few minutes, and then leave them so that they’re ready to add to any quinoa, salad etc over the week. It’s perfect. I do the same with my sweet potatoes and quinoa too, so that I always have a meal like this ready to go when I’m hungry and busy. This way a meal like this only takes 5 minutes to throw together so you won’t be tempted to stray to something unhealthy!
– 1 large sweet potato
– 1 cup of quinoa (260g)
– 2 fennel
– 5 kale leaves
– 1 cup of pitted black olives (180g)
– 2 juicy limes or lemons, 3 if they’re not super juicy
– olive oil
The night before marinate the fennel, Start by slicing off the spiky top and the very bottom edge, then cut the rest into slithers. Place it in a big tupperware box and cover with the juice of two limes, salt and olive oil – there should be enough liquid in there from the juice and oil to ensure that each fennel slice is coated. Then leave the box in the fridge to soften.
Heat the oven to 180C. Then cut the sweet potato in half, into slices and then into bite sized cubes. Place these in a baking dish with olive oil, salt, cinnamon, paprika and rosemary – stirring everything well with your hands to ensure that all sides of each cube is coated in deliciousness. Then bake for 60 minutes, stirring them once or twice during this time.
While the sweet potatoes bake cook the quinoa.
Chop the kale leaves into bite sized pieces and two or three minutes before the sweet potatoes are cooked add the leaves to the top of the baking dish with a little extra oil and salt.
Once the kale is crisping up remove the baking tray and mix everything together with the quinoa, fennel and olives. Enjoy!