Quinoa, Avocado and Sweet Potato Timbale with Roasted Tomatillo Dressing

Last winter my friend Lindsey introduced me to Tal Ronnen’s book The Conscious Cook - it has a number of elegant and delicious vegan recipes, including this one which I (Emily!) made last night. I love this dish because it has so many different flavors but is pretty light. Served with some lightly steamed asparagus, it was perfect for the springy evening we were having in DC yesterday.

As in posts past, I will strike out any omissions and italicize any additions I make to the original recipe. 


For the Quinoa

1 cup quinoa, cooked in 2 cups vegetable stock (homemade!according to package directions and cooled to room temperature

1/2 2/3 jalapeño, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

juice of 1/2 a lime

For the Sweet Potatoes

large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and minced garlic or a bit of granulated/powdered garlic

For the Tortilla Strips

Canola oil

2 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

If you’re feeling really adventurous or fancy, make your own strips. It’s fun! They are delicious! But store-bought chips or strips work just fine for those of us who are just trying to have a good meal on a Thursday night.

For the Dressing

2 3 tomatillos, halved in olive oil, skins removed

3 tablespoons plus 

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon light agave nectar light brown sugar

juice of 1/2 lime

1/3 jalapeno

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve

2 avocados, diced

microgreens Spring Mix greens, rough chopped


1. Make the quinoa: Place all of the quinoa ingredients in a medium bowl and toss to combine.

2. Make the sweet potatoes:

Preheat the oven to 400 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, or until soft in the middle and lightly browned; be careful not to let the sweet potatoes burn.

3. Make the dressing:

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, toss the tomatillos with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place halved tomatillos with 1 teaspoon olive oil on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes at 375. Transfer to a food processor; add the vinegar, cilantro and agave nectar all other ingredients, and pulse to combine. With the motor running, pour in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a thin stream. Continue blending until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Make the tortilla strips

Pour 2 inches of oil into a small, heavy pot and heat until the oil shimmers. Add the tortilla strips and fry until crisp and browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning.

see above!

5. Assemble the salads:

Place a 3-inch ring mold (I use the clear plastic ring from this handy kitchen tool - improvise how you will!) in the center of one of 4 salad plates. Fill with 1/4 of the quinoa mixture and press down with a spoon to pack the mold, smoothing the top. Place 1/4 of the sweet potato pieces on top of the quinoa and press down gently. Top with 1/4 of the avocado and press down gently. Carefully remove the mold. Repeat on the remaining salad plates.

6. Carefully place 2 tortilla strips parallel to each other about 1 inch apart on top of each timbale. Place 2 more tortilla strips perpendicular on top of those. Top the timbales with the microgreens and drizzle the dressing around the timbales.

Thanks to Lindsey for introducing me to this magic!

  1. kalemenow posted this