Today’s salad is a great example of how recycling a recipe—keeping it intact, but with a few key tweaks—can pay off. It’s based off of my mustardy lentil sweet potato salad, which isn’t a green leafy salad so much as a spread of sorts, in the same way that chicken salad and egg salad are salads. I love that recipe. And it happens to be one of the more popular recipes on this blog.
I make that salad often enough to have noticed some of my own tendencies in preparing and serving it. I often serve it with toast, but I serve it over a bed of greens a lot, too, and often a side of crackers to help me scoop everything up. I like the addition of greens, especially arugula; it gives the salad some peppery brightness and crunch. I like it with other greens, too, including baby spinach and chopped romaine.
So lately, I’ve been experimenting with transforming this salad into more of a leafy salad. And I’ve been eating and enjoying it regularly enough that I figured it was worth sharing the reimagined recipe.
What I love here is that the greens give the salad lightness and freshness, but it retains its heartiness and heft. It’s earthy and substantial enough to be a winter salad, too, and since sweet potatoes are available for me year round, I’ll enjoy it in every season.
I also love that that the salad is good for serving with, or on toast, because when don’t I want an excuse to bake some bread? I usually make a full batch of the salad, store the leftovers (they keep pretty well for 2 days), and serve it with a slice of homemade bread or a couple whole grain crackers, if for no other reason than to scoop everything on the plate up.
The other new addition here is cherry tomatoes, which add a lovely bite of sweet juiciness. And I’ll take any opportunity at all to eat more tomatoes when they’re in season, which they finally are. Without further ado, the new-ish recipe.
Tahini Mustard Sweet Potato, Lentil, and Arugula Salad
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil, such as safflower, grapeseed, or refined avocado
- 2 medium or large sweet potatoes, cubed (about 3/4 inch)
- 1/2 cup brown, green, or black lentils or 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (1 can, drained and rinsed)
- 4 cups baby arugula or roughly chopped arugula, loosely packed
- 1 cup halved or quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple or agave syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Toss the cubed sweet potato in oil and place them on the baking sheet. Transfer the sheet to the oven. Roast the sweet potatoes for 35-40 minutes, stirring once halfway through, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and crispy at the edges.
While the potatoes roast, bring a pot of water to boil. Add the lentils and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain the lentils. (If you’re using pre-cooked/canned lentils, you can skip this step.)
Whisk together the tahini, water, mustard, maple syrup, and salt. You want this to be a thick dressing, but if it’s very thick or gluey add one more tablespoon of water.
Place the roasted sweet potatoes, cooked lentils, tomatoes, and arugula into a large mixing bowl. Add the dressing. Toss well to combine. Taste the salad and add a pinch of salt if desired and black pepper to taste. Serve the recipe on its own or with whole grain toast or crackers.
In years past, I’ve felt that writing about food means constantly challenging myself to try, and post about, new combinations and new recipe concepts. This was a pretty good assumption in the past, especially since I started writing about food as a person who still had a lot of fear foods and unexplored culinary territories thanks to my eating disorder history.
Nowadays, as a recovered person with a solid love of food and a busy schedule, I appreciate echoes: recipes that can be reinvented in lots of ways, favorite combinations that I indulge whenever the craving hits. And I recognize how much of the joy of cooking can be found in nuances, in little adjustments between and among well-loved things.
I hope you’ll find something to love in the salad, too. It’s a little more time consuming than other salads I’ve been making this year, but the payoff is good.
Happy Tuesday, and I’ll be back around later this week with a satisfying new bowl!
Smoky Butternut Squash, Tofu & Apple Breakfast Hash
I’m almost embarrassed to admit how often, when I’m midway through making a recipe, I need to do a little Googling in order to confirm that I know what the recipe is actually supposed to be. What can I say: no matter how much I cook, I’m always a student in the kitchen.
Anyway, that’s how it was with this smoky butternut squash, tofu & apple breakfast hash. I was about to plate it when I realized that my definition of hash was slightly hazy. A breakfast dish with chopped ingredients, usually involving potatoes?
I was pretty close. According to Wikipedia:
Hash is a culinary dish consisting of diced or chopped meat, potatoes and spices that are mixed together and cooked by themselves or with other ingredients such as onions. The name is derived from the French: hacher meaning “to chop”.
I’ve only ever made vegan hash, but any time I try my hand at the dish I try to include a vegan meat or another hearty protein source, preserving the meat portion of the original recipe. And while I’ve often made hash with sweet potatoes, this time I wanted to try it with another root vegetable, butternut squash, and some onions and apples for one of my favorite, seasonal sweet/savory combinations.
The big liberty I took with this recipe was to roast the squash and apples, rather than cooking them in a skillet, which is the traditional way with hash. I like this because it’s slightly more hands-off, and also because the squash gets crispier when I cook it this way than it does when I make it on the stovetop.
I still use the stovetop, though, to sauté other ingredients. Shaved Brussels sprouts for a little green, onions for savoriness and flavor. And Super Firm Cubed Tofu from Nasoya, which may be one of my favorite new meal hacks.
For all of my years supporting Nasoya products, I haven’t yet tried these pre-cut, super convenient cubes. They’re the perfect size for hash, and they fit nicely into this recipe, but I’m also so happy to have them on my radar for stir fries, sheet pan meals, and more. I don’t mind cubing tofu, but these cubes are super uniform and smaller than the ones I usually cut. They’d be perfect for tofu egg salad!
I roasted the squash and apples first, and then—while the squash was getting nicely crispy on the outside, tender on the inside—I sautéed the tofu cubes with smoked paprika and coconut aminos. I added onion and Brussels sprouts, and by the time everything was tender, the squash and apples were practically ready. I folded everything together, added a pinch of salt and a splash of apple cider vinegar, and voilà—a beautifully autumnal, simple, flavorful breakfast dish.
It doesn’t have to be a breakfast dish, of course. I’ve been serving it with toast or a sprouted English muffin and a little Earth Balance in the mornings, but I’ve also had it with brown rice for dinner. The dish is rich in protein (something I’ve noticed really does make a difference in my morning energy levels) and easy to customize with different or additional veggies. I’d love to try it with parsnips, rutabaga, or the addition of some collard greens.
Making it so far, I’ve kept the hash mild, which is what works for me at breakfast. If you’d like to kick up the spice with a nice pinch of cayenne or a drizzle of hot sauce, I’m sure that would be delicious, too. Here’s the recipe.
|Smoky Butternut Squash, Tofu & Apple Breakfast Hash||
Recipe type: main dish, breakfast
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Serves: 4 generous servings
- 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil, such as grapeseed or refined avocado, divided
- 1-1¼ lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 large or 2 small apples (any variety), cut into ½-inch cubes
- 8 ounces Nasoya Organic Cubed Super Firm Tofu
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos (substitute low sodium tamari)
- 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
- 12 ounces (about 3 cups) shaved Brussels sprouts
- 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Black pepper or cayenne pepper, to taste
- For serving, optional: Toast, an English muffin, a whole grain, hot sauce
- Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Toss the squash and apple with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and add salt and pepper. Roast the squash and apples for 35 minutes, or until tender and crisping at the edges.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu cubes, smoked paprika, and coconut aminos or tamari. Cook the cubes, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes, or until they’re getting crispy. Add the onion. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently, or until the sprouts are crisp tender.
- When they’re ready, fold in the roasted squash and apples. Add the vinegar. Stir everything well, then taste and add salt and pepper (black or cayenne, depending on how hot you want the hash to be) and additional vinegar as needed. Serve with toast, a grain, and hot sauce if you like.
I’ve been relying a lot on baked oatmeal lately for portable/quick breakfasts, but making this dish reminded me of how lovely it is to have a great, savory breakfast at the ready. Savory breakfasts used to register as a weekend brunch treat for me, but I’ve warmed up to them a lot in recent years, relying on them as often as I do the sweet options. This hash is a nutritious new favorite, and it keeps well for up to 4 days in the fridge, which means it’s perfect for advance meal prep.
As always, so glad to have convenient, healthful plant-based products available these days, so that cooking something tasty can feel just a little more accessible, even when life is moving fast. Hope you enjoy this smoky, sweet, savory meal—and wishing you a wonderful rest of the week.
This post is sponsored by Nasoya. All opinions are my own, and I love this go-to brand of tofu and other creative soy products! Thanks for your support.
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