Warm Chai-Spiced Quinoa & Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

A beautiful, fragrant and delicious blend of textures and fall colours makes this healthy salad (or side dish) worthy of an appearance at your Thanksgiving dinner table!


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (try a red-and-white blend)
  • 1¾ cups strongly brewed chai tea (see alternatives in Cooking Tips)
  • 4 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes (½ inch cubes; about 1 large sweet potato)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup (well packed) coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ tsp grated orange zest
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Bring the quinoa and tea to a boil in a medium pot. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until quinoa is cooked and liquid is evaporated. Be careful not to burn the quinoa. Remove from heat and stir in spinach. Cover and let stand while you roast the sweet potatoes.

Toss the potato cubes with 2 tbsp olive oil then spread them on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast at 400°F for about 20 minutes, stirring once (halfway through cooking time), until potatoes are tender.

Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Add quinoa-spinach mixture, cranberries, almonds and parsley. Mix well. Whisk together orange juice, zest and 1 tbsp olive oil. Pour over salad and mix well. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Salad may be served immediately or chilled. Enjoy!

Makes about 6 cups salad

Per cup: 281 calories, 10.7 g total fat (1.2 g saturated fat), 6 g protein, 43 g carbohydrate, 5.5 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 148 mg sodium

Cooking Tips

If your quinoa is not the “pre-rinsed” variety (it will state this on the package), then you must rinse it in a mesh sieve under cold running water before cooking to remove the bitter outer coating.

If you don’t have chai tea, you can substitute 1¾ cups vegetable broth + ½ tsp garam masala spice blend or pumpkin pie spice. Garam masala is a popular Indian spice blend that’s widely available in most well-stocked supermarkets. One of our favourite brands of chai tea comes from the Canadian company, Steeped Tea. Their Roasted Apricot Chai Green Tea is perfect in this recipe!

This salad also makes a great side dish to roasted turkey, chicken, fish or pork!