honey glazed sweet potatoes, cranberries, and green bean salad


hearty wintery salad

After a weekend of eating out twice at dinner time (we ordered pizza with some friends one night and then had a decadent dinner at downtown Ottawa’s Beckta), we were feeling a little in need of a healthy, lighter dinner.  Everything in moderation, right?  If we were totally clean eaters I suppose I should have left out the feta cheese – but this bite of saltiness just works so well against the honey glazed sweet potatoes and adds a creamy texture to the dish!  You could sub in sautéed olives instead (but my husband hates olives…sad for me!). The fresh cranberries play a key role too, as their tart tanginess counteracts the sweet and salty of the sweet potatoes and feta.  The green beans need to be just blanched so that they retain their crisp bite, adding a crunchy texture to the salad. You can serve this salad at room temperature (just crumble the feta last minute!) or when all the ingredients are warm. Either way, it’s delicious! Even piepie (our 3 1/2 year old) ate it up!

Note: I didn’t make a dressing for this salad – but if you find you need one, try lemon juice and olive oil, or balsamic vinegar and olive oil (about 3:1 ratio of vinegar:oil) to give it more zip and moisture.  Also – if you’re looking for more protein and nutrients, try topping this salad with salmon. We had left some over pan seared salmon that went really well with it!

what you need:

  • a bunch of green beans (about two large handfuls)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 can (540mL) chick peas
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp raw honey
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 – 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used grapeseed oil)

what to do:

  1. Prep everything – wash and clean green beans (take off the rough tips).  Wash sweet potato thoroughly and peel if desired (I left the skins on).  Rinse the cranberries. Cut the lemon in half. Chop up garlic roughly. Drain and rinse chick peas. Preheat oven to 425 F (400 F if you have convection).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the sweet potato into cubes (bite size) and toss on the baking sheet with the fresh cranberries, and 1 tsp- 2 tsp cooking oil – season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the cookie sheet into your oven, for about 15-20 minutes, until sweet potato is tender and cranberries pop.
  3. Blanche the green beans quickly. To blanche – bring a pot of water to a boil, add the green beans, wait about 1 minute, then immediately remove them from the water and cool down by shocking them in cold water to stop the cooking process. This will maintain it’s crispness.
  4. Check on your sweet potatoes – at this point, glaze with honey (if your honey is too thick, heat it up slightly so that it drizzles onto the sweet potatoes and cranberries). Use a wooden spoon to gently stir everything and return to oven for remaining time to bake.
  5. In a large pan on medium-high heat, heat up cooking oil and garlic, then add chick peas and green beans, stirring occasionally until coated with the garlic oil (this won’t take very long, just a few minutes) – season with salt and pepper as desired and remove from heat. Transfer onto serving dish, squeeze lemon all over.
  6. Remove sweet potatoes and cranberries from the oven and layer them onto your green beans and chick peas. Crumble feta on top and enjoy immediately, or serve later at room temperature!

chick pea salad

chick pea salad

healthy and quick lunch

Usually on the weekend we have more elaborate or labour intensive dinners, because we have more time and the leftovers are perfect for Monday’s lunches. Since dinner is so involved though, lunch for us tends to be quick, easy, and a lighter vegetarian fare.  I always make sure I have chick peas at home since they are a good source of fibre and protein and are so versatile. Also, they taste great! Whenever I cook with them my toddler always wants a handful to munch on.

Canned ones are the easiest; already cooked just need a good rinse. If you have time though, the dried ones are a better bang for your buck and all they need is a good 12 hour soak in cold water, then about 1 1/2 hr on the stove to cook and soften (follow the package).

Here is a simple chick pea salad that will satisfy your hunger but keep you feeling light so that your belly will welcome that hearty dinner later.

even better the next dayprep: 10 min   serves: 4

what you need:

  • 2 cups cooked chick peas
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/2 cup cubed or crumbled feta

dressing: *in our house, we tend to like our dressing more on the tangy vinegary side – if you find it too strong try adding a bit more honey or oil, just 1/2 tsp at a time.

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt & pepper

what to do:

  1. Mix dressing ingredients together very well. I like using a mason jar to shake up my homemade dressings.chick pea
  2. Wash veggies thoroughly, peel carrot, then dice everything up into about the same size as the chick peas.  Toss together with dressing and add the crumbled or diced feta.  If you can, let stand for about 15 min before eating so that the salad takes on the flavour of the dressing (it’s even better the next day). Enjoy!