Wow, it seems like spring is finally here in Ottawa! We had a few false starts, including a 20 degree day in March followed by an ice storm, but as of now I’m extremely happy to report that there are no below zero days listed in the 14-day forecast (which I have been checking medium obsessively since February). Plus, if I was looking for a sign from the gods that spring was here, I got it on Monday night when my curling team (The Spice Curls) and I were scheduled to “curl” our final game of the season but the rink forgot about us and locked us out. It was 22 degrees outside and so none of us was really in the mood to curl anyway. Instead we all went for beers and had a super time discussing the merits of expensive bathing suits (when you actually find one you like, you just have to go for it, no questions asked).
It’s also the long weekend and for the first time ever Anthony and I both have the time off. Throughout our entire relationship at least one of us has been in school and incredibly stressed during Easter, unable to even fathom a hike in the woods or a road trip out of town. Finally, our time has come. We’re going to take advantage of this teeny miracle by heading to Vermont, the best place on Earth that’s not near the ocean, and stuffing our faces with cheese, coffee, beer, and artisanal doughnuts. Probably everything will be artisanal, actually, and you can’t even imagine how much I’m looking forward to the Jamaican avocado sandwich from Four Corners of the Earth.
Enter this warm, winter-spring-transitional, roasted sweet potato brown rice salad. It’s the epitome of a girthy salad, and just the kind of thing I need for dinner mid-week when I’m getting back into running after a winter of Netflixing. Gotta replenish those muscles, spirits, etc. There’s a lot of different components to the salad, but it’s easy enough to throw together on a Tuesday night while also listening to S-Town. It’s built on a vaguely Middle Eastern/Mediterranean flavour profile, using mint, lemon, sumac, and feta. You could make it in the winter, but the fresh mint is really the thing that hints at spring in this dish. Yay for spring! Yay for this roasted sweet potato brown rice salad.
Any readers out there have Burlington recommendations? Preferably food related? Let me know!
You can eat now 🙂
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 pound sweet potatoes (2 small), cubed
- 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp ground sumac
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato kale), ribs removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium lemon
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves
- 3 tablespoons roughly chopped walnuts (or hazelnuts)
- 1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook the brown rice according to the directions on the package. When done, drain off the excess water and return the rice to the pot. Set aside.
- While the rice is cooking, roast the sweet potatoes: toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper, and sumac. Arrange them on the pan so they are evenly spread out and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway. You'll know they are done when they are caramelized on the edges and tender.
- Add chopped kale and a glug of olive oil to the rice and mix gently until slightly wilted.
- After the sweet potatoes are done, add them to the rice too and stir to combine.
- Squeeze an entire lemon's worth of juice over the rice/sweet potato/kale mixture and stir to combine.
- Season generously with salt and pepper and top with mint, chopped nuts, feta, and cranberries.
- Enjoy immediately!