One thing I love: super colorful meals that are balanced, healthy, and that my husband will eat.
One thing I don’t love: meals that take way too long to prepare. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
If you feel the same way, you’re in luck!
Plus, it’s pretty cheap to make, too. Boom.
I prepared this salad based off of my anti-inflammatory meal planning guide. It has all of the main components to a balanced, restorative meal!
Although I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, I do try to incorporate a solely plant-based meal at least once per week. In my free anti-inflammatory meal planning guide, you’ll also see how to make all of your meals predominately plant-based. Meaning, the majority of the plate is sourced from plants (mostly vegetables), but then supplemented with wholesome sources of pasture-raised protein and healthy fats!
Arugula, sweet potato, cucumber, bell pepper, and black beans all make for excellent sources of gut-restoring fiber. As you may know, fiber can help lower levels of inflammation in your body and create a healthy, diverse microbiome of gut bugs. We need at least 30 grams of fiber each day.
Extra virgin olive oil provides an unprocessed source of wholesome fat for this dish. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The chia seeds in the dressing are also a wholesome fat, derived from omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Related post: 7 Ways to Lower Cholesterol Without Medication
Although rich in fiber as well, the black beans in this salad provide a plant-based source of protein to help promote fullness, and repair tissues in your body. For an added source of protein, I sometimes top this salad with a filet of roasted wild-caught salmon. Salmon is a nutrient powerhouse containing excellent sources of protein as well as high amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats (EPA/DHA)! For the most benefit, I recommend eating a source of cold-water fish at least twice weekly.
This salad is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan (if no salmon used), and low-FODMAP friendly (see modification below) for those of you with IBS or bloating. By removing the green onions, and replacing the arugula for kale or spinach, this recipe is also LEAP-friendly, for those of you going through my food sensitivity program!
Let’s get to making the sweet potato arugula salad!
Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.
In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, zest, mustard, chia seeds, and herbs. Whisk in the olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Chop the bell pepper, cucumber, and green onion while waiting for the sweet potatoes to roast. Add the drained and rinsed black beans. Once cooked, add roasted sweet potatoes to the large bowl with the rest of the veggies. Don’t forget to add the arugula!
Arugula is packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals to help lower inflammation in the body. It is considered a cruciferous vegetable (in the same family as kale, broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts etc.) which have incredible anti-cancer and anti-aging benefits!
This anti-oxidant rich salad encompasses the sweetness of roasted sweet potatoes, paired with the cool crunch of bell peppers, cucumbers, leafy greens, and fresh herbs. Combine with protein-rich beans or quinoa for an easy-plant based meal in under 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Toss cubed sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread on baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.
While potatoes are roasting, mix the red bell pepper, beans (or quinoa), green onions, cucumber, and arugula into a large bowl.
In a separate small bowl, mix the lime juice, zest, mustard, chia seeds, and herbs. Whisk in the olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Once sweet potatoes are finished, add them to the large bowl with rest of vegetables. Toss salad with olive oil dressing.
Serve immediately, or for best taste, refrigerate for 20 minutes prior to serving.
*This plant-based meal can be made low-FODMAP by substituting the beans for 1 cup cooked quinoa. Ensure that you only use the green part of the green onion, as this is the low-FODMAP part.
**I will sometimes add a 4 oz filet of roasted, wild-caught salmon to this salad as well. Simply roast the filet of salmon at the same time as the sweet potatoes to time it perfectly!