As someone who doesn’t own a car and thus spends a lot of time in the elements, I think my mood can be disproportionately affected by the weather and the turning of the seasons. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again: this winter was a long one. So many bike rides in the rain and in the dark. Weekday daylight hours spent entirely at work, at my desk, on a computer. Finding a way to get out of bed to go running in the cold, getting home, getting ready, and leaving again on the bicycle – still in the dark – to head downtown. Yep, long is the word I’m looking for.
This past Sunday I slugged out a 17-mile training run on and the conditions were rather brutal. My pace was about a minute slower than usual thanks to the thick layer of snow and ice on everything. But yet, despite it being about 25 degrees and windy, the sun was shining and the sky was blue. I met up with a friend for the last 9 miles and we did a big loop around the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill (which is the swanky neighborhood that’s across the water from the harbor, overlooking it), and back through Little Italy up to the train station. I was reminded of why I love running and got into it in the first place: in just a couple of short hours I saw so many different parts of Baltimore, and plus the sunshine made all of the snow look pretty beautiful. Hey, maybe winter training isn’t so bad after all!
Of course, after all of these frigid runs, I’ve got to replenish my body with good nutrients from vegetables (and an undisclosed amount of coffee). I try my darnedest to buy seasonal and local produce, but in winter I turn to citrus and fresh herbs from the supermarket to spruce up my root veggies and tubers. So do I lose credibility as a denizen of the farmers’ market movement? Totally. I’m not about to make a cucumber salad right now or anything, but I am at peace with a produce splurge here and there.
So, these green goddess quinoa-stuffed sweet potatoes are my winter-meets-spring meal. Warm, nourishing, wintery sweet potatoes, fluffy quinoa, and a bright garlic herb dressing, with the crunch of walnuts and the bittery freshness of watercress. I don’t think it’s my job to tell you how to bake sweet potatoes or how to cook quinoa, so check out those links if you need a refresher (I seem to need one every single time I make quinoa). The green goddess dressing is the most important part (and it’s good on regular ole’ salads too, of course), and I’ve got you covered below.
- 1 baked medium sweet potato, skin intact
- ½ c. cooked quinoa
- 2-3 tb. vegan green goddess dressing (below)
- 1 tb. chopped toasted walnuts
- handful of watercress (or other bitter greens, or omit)
- ½ package silken tofu
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tb. prepared dijon mustard
- 2 tb. lemon juice
- ¼ c. loosely packed tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ c. loosely packed parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 8-10 chives, sliced
- 2 green onions, sliced (both the green and white parts)
- salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Add the tofu, garlic, mustard, and lemon juice to a blender or food processor and run until completely smooth.
- Add the tarragon, parsley, chives, and green onions, and run for another 10-15 seconds or until the herbs are mostly combined.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Toss the quinoa together with the dressing and toasted walnuts.
- Slice open the sweet potato lengthwise and scoop the quinoa inside. Top with a handful of watercress.