I make a lot of salads. Most of them I don’t bother posting here, as they’re usually just a mishmash of ingredients I happened to have lying around, paired with produce from the garden and tossed with some vinegar and olive oil. Simple, often boring (by food-blog standards, anyway), and not always good enough to bother re-creating. This salad, however, was an exception. It was originally supposed to be black beans and rice with roasted sweet potato and lime, but, as I came to discover at the last minute, I was out of black beans. Time for Plan B. Thanks to some apples from our neighbor’s tree and some spinach in the crisper, I was able to transmute most of the original ingredients into a salad that’s actually worth revisiting.
As below, it serves 2.
• 1 medium bunch spinach, washed, dried, leaves torn: 99 cents
• 1 large orange-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes: $1
• About 1/3 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), toasted: 50 cents
• 1 cup chopped apples (don’t bother peeling them*) (garden): $0
• 2 T balsamic vinegar (we buy the Costco bottles, as the price-to-quality ratio is as yet unmatched): 30 cents
• 2 T olive oil: 12 cents
• Salt & pepper: 2 cents
TOTAL: $2.93/2 = $1.47/serving
*If you want to keep them from turning unappetizingly brown, toss them with a little lemon juice.
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Toss the sweet potato with about 1 T of the olive oil, a couple pinches of salt, and some pepper. Roast until soft, turning cubes over a couple of times to keep from sticking or burning, about 20-30 minutes depending on how large you cut them.
Combine the 1 T olive oil with 1 T balsamic vinegar and a small pinch each of salt and pepper, either in a bowl or a small glass jar. Shake or whisk until combined.
When the sweet potato is done, put the spinach in a bowl and toss with the balsamic dressing. Remove spinach and divide between two plates. Sprinkle with the apples, then the sweet potato cubes, then the pepitas.