It is officially spring! And finally the weather is getting better here in Denmark! Spring is the moment my appetite will change from me wanting warm stews, curries and soups to my love for picnics and salads. This recipe is our go-to salad that has known a few variations. Sometimes we make it with rice, like this one, but other times we use lentils, bulgur or quinoa to create this dish. It is a tasteful and filling salad that you can take with you to school, your work or a picnic (and you can even eat it for dinner!).
This salad might seem like a bit more work than you normally want for a lunch salad. You need to prepare sweet potatoes and cook rice, which is not something I would like to be doing every morning. So I will give you a little meal prep advice: create a big bowl of this salad and divide them into portions and keep them in the fridge. I would advise you to make the 4 portions like in the recipe below (after six days of eating the same thing, even the food in my university canteen starts to look appetizing), with the dressing kept separately. This way you can enjoy a good and healthy lunch, without having to go through the trouble of cooking every morning.
We have made different variations of this salad and served it to people many times, but one time will always stand out to us. We were both invited to serve lunch at the Dutch embassy in Ottawa, Canada. It was the middle of the summer in Ottawa, and more than 30 degrees Celsius. We made the salad in the morning at our home and walked to the embassy to be there on time for lunch. It was so warm that both of us did not think at all about what we were wearing or how we looked. Everything went fine and they loved the lunch we prepared (we prepared this salad, among others) but when we look at the pictures now, well, we stand out quite a bit (okay, a lot!). Two girls in slippers, shorts and t-shirts next to the ambassador and other workers in their fancy suits! At least we can laugh about it now.
I hope the weather is nice enough for all of you to go out and enjoy this salad outside as a picnic, together with some lemon infused water and our chocolate cake as dessert! Mums.
Our favorite lunch salad
for 2 lunch portions
200 gr rice (brown or wild rice is our favorite)
2-3 sweet potatoes
2 handfuls of spinach
2 tbsp cranberries
2 tbsp cashews
1 tsp cayenne pepper
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Wash and cut the sweet potato in small squares, mix them with olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper and place them in the oven to roast for 20 minutes. In the meantime: cook the rice according to the packaging (cooking times varies, depending on which rice you use). Quickly roast the cashews in a pan and let them cool down. Wash and cut the spinach and slice the oranges. Mix all the salad ingredients together when cooled down and add the cranberries. Whisk the dressing together and keep separate until serving.