I had a delicious dish at the SF restaurant NOPA this weekend and it seemed simple enough to attempt to re-create at home. Their version includes toasted quinoa, walnuts, grapes, squash, and greens. I’ve changed some of those ingredients around based on personal taste and availability, but the taste is similar: this is a healthy vegetarian dish that combines sweet and salty flavors to a nutrient heavy savory dish. This can be served as either a main dish or a side.
You can also prep this in advance as the dish is just as tasty served cold.
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper
Before assembling the dish, some of the ingredients need to be prepared:
1. Roast the sweet potato: Preheat the oven to 350 F. If you’re making the dish for 1, use just 1 sweet potato. Peel the sweet potato, slice it into little rounds (or even cubes), and then place on a baking sheet. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil, add a bit of salt, and place the sweet potatoes in the oven. It’ll take about 45 minutes for the potatoes to roast. Remove from the oven and let it cool while you finish prepping the rest of the ingredients.
2. Absorb the kale in lemon juice: Kale tends to have a very bitter green taste to it that needs to be balanced with lemon or lime juice. Shred the kale into a bowl, squeeze half a large lemon over it, and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the dish.
3. Cook the quinoa: I recommend 1/4 cup quinoa per person. Combine 1/4 cup quinoa with 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan and place on medium heat until all the water absorbs.
4. Toast the quinoa and almonds: You will need to toast each of these separately, ideally in a toaster oven. Place a small amount (1/2 tablespoon) of sliced almonds on a baking sheet and toast for about 1 minute. Do the same with the cooked quinoa, but it will take closer to 10 minutes (keep an eye on it!)
5. Assemble the dish: Place the lemon juice absorbed kale on a plate and add the toasted quinoa on top. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar, and add the rest of the ingredients (toasted almonds, pomegranate, and sweet potatoes). Sprinkle some salt (truffle salt for me!), pepper, and crushed pepper (if you like a kick) and the dish is ready to serve!