Mexican Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

I’m taking some time off to be with my family for a little while.
This recipe is written by Allison of Some the Wiser. Welcome, Allison!

I love food and I love to cook, though I haven’t always been very adventurous in the kitchen.  I have been a regular stalker of food blogs, I love to try new recipes and unusual ingredients, and I read cookbooks cover to cover like novels.  But until very recently, I didn’t dare deviate from a recipe.

mexican quinoa salad with sweet potato

I think my cautious cooking ways may have began when I was eight years old and I hatched a plan for an original Mother’s Day breakfast surprise.  My creation involved green grapes, yogurt, and lettuce.  It was a surprise alright, just not an edible one.  After that, I stuck to recipes.

For the most part, things have run smoothly in the kitchen with recipes and I have served meals, not science experiments, that are met with smiles at the table.  But now I have three kids and that has changed everything.

As a single mother working from home, I have to make a deliberate effort to accomplish the things on my daily to-do lists while making sure my children are always at the top of the priority list.

sweet potatoes and quinoa

Sometimes, getting to the grocery store doesn’t make it onto the schedule.  When I haven’t been able to round up all the ingredients for specific recipes, I have, of necessity, learned to improvise.

And that’s how this recipe, Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad, was born.  At the end of a long week, I found myself an hour from dinner time, with only some of the ingredients for all of the recipes I wanted to make.  But I had Quinoa, and I had Sweet Potatoes, and I was craving that Southwest Flavor.

mexican quinoa sweet potato salad

I can’t tell you that I have completely recovered from my childhood kitchen trauma, but I can assure you that this delicious recipe is no science experiment.  You will find it enjoyably edible!

Do you follow recipes closely or do you experiment in the kitchen?

Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

serves 6


1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)
1 red bell pepper, cored, and diced
3 tablespoons minced green onion
1 cup sliced black olives
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or to taste)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes for garnish
freshly ground pepper


Combine quinoa with a large pinch of salt and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until until the grain is tender. If there is some water remaining, carefully strain the quinoa. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and dice into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces. Cover with water in a medium saucepan, add a pinch of salt, and bring to boil. Cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Drain well and cool slightly.

Toss together the potatoes, quinoa, bell pepper, onion, olive, avocado, and cilantro. Whisk the oil, lime juice, and chili powder together then toss the salad with the mixture. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasonings. Garnish with cilantro and grape tomatoes. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Note: If you have a baby, six months or older, at home, this makes delicious baby food too! Reserve a small portion of cooked quinoa and cooked sweet potatoes. Puree with one or two tablespoons of milk and serve.

by Allison Ruth

Allison Ruth is mama to three hungry girls. She blogs at Some the Wiser where she takes life as it comes and tries to learn a little something as she goes. Whether she’s baking bread, sewing, or contemplating the fate of socks gone missing in the laundry, she looks for the peace and creativity life offers to everyone who is paying attention. Living life deliberately isn’t easy, she admits, but it helps when you have good things to eat. You can also find her at Allison Ruth Photography.