sprouted kitchen


I knew it would work it's way into my writing at some point, but I have yet to mention here that I spend some of my days working at Trader Joes. While the blog and cookbook are my love and dream, I really enjoy being around people, having that routine and the great healthcare benefits :) This is relevent because I spend a majority of those days at the demo station. If you shop at a Trader Joes market you know the sample booth in the back. Everyone loves a free snack, it's a popular corner. I waver between loving and hating it, for reasons that those who have worked in the service industry can likely relate to. As you may assume, I meet a lot of people in the work of giving away free food. I've explained food allergies and a number of diets, I've walked aisles helping an older fellow just learning to cook for himself, whose wife had passed days earlier and I've planned a romatic dinner menu for a man surprising his wife. But I also meet people who solely have mac n' cheese and frozen orange chicken in their carts, some who refuse to cook with anything but microwave, or those enraged that in mid-December, our strawberries are white (the NERVE!). I have seen and heard the gamut of relationships that people have with their food. I love ice cream and dark chocolate peanut butter cups as much as the next guy, but eating well is your responsibility. Sometimes I want to scream from behind that corner, it is not always easy or quick or cheap or tidy but you taking care of your insides is important. Period.

The more I hear, the more I am thankful for good food. I'm thankful that I have been inspired to learn to cook, that I enjoy the process, that we can afford good quality ingredients, and the knowledge to know the difference. I have a community, you people, who engage me in this passion and send me emails and leave comments that you care about good food too and that makes me want to share it. Thank you for nurturing this in me. Yes, we offer you recipes and photos, but you give me so much.

Wishing you a Christmas filled with wonderful food, even better company and time to soak it all in. 

sprouted kitchen


Barely adapted from Food + Wine November 2012

I am bringing this salad to two Christmas meals as I imagine it will hold well. Everything can be prepped in advance, kept in bags and then tossed all together when it's time for dinner. It's a simple salad, so take the liberty to add some toasted nuts, shaved asiago or chopped hard boiled eggs if you want to make it even more filling. As with most things around here, alter to your taste. 


  • 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes (about 2 large), cut into 1/2'' cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • 2 large apples, diced (granny smith, fuji, honeycrisp etc.)
  • 8 cups packed baby greens (arugula, kale, red romaine...a mix looks pretty)
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced



  • // dressing //
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper


sprouted kitchen

Preheat the oven to 400'.

Put a drizzle of olive oil in a pot and add the quinoa to toast over moderate heat for two minutes. Add 1 1/3 cups water and bring it to a boil. Turn it down to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15-18 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the quinoa and set aside to cool. 

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil and hearty pinches of salt and pepper. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes until golden. Let them cool. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, mustard, olive oil and pinch of salt and pepper. Add the cooled quinoa, potatoes, apple, greens, parsley and onionand toss everything to coat. Serve immediately.

sprouted kitchen

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Reader Comments (53)

I would just like to say that this entire post, from the fact that you're working at TJ's to the story about the man who'd just lost his wife to the frustration you feel sometimes, dazzled me. And it encourages me.

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShanna

That looks amazing, and delicious!

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessi

This looks really good! I like that it's actually a salad and not just a salad of quinoa.

I can't even imagine how hard it must've been to help the old man who had just lost his wife. So sad.

I totally understand the rage you must sometimes feel at people who only eat microwavable stuff. Hooray for good food and for you blogging about it!

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertara


Your blog stirs something in me that I just cant explain...thank you so much for reminding me of my passion!!!!

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

Mmm looks awesome! And your photos are so gorgeous (as always).

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

Thank you writing this post, Sara. So inspiring and uplifting, as always. Merry Christmas!

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermegan

Merry Christmas to you, Sara, and Hugh! May this next year keep bringing you both much happiness and success!

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

Wow, this looks sensational. Perhaps it's time to introduce some of my family to quinoa...

Merry Christmas! Hope you have a wonderful festive season. :)

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBec

Beautiful looking salad, Sara. Happy Christmas to you and Hugh.

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

It is so important to treat our insides well. I'm baffled when people don't seem to understand that food is our fuel, and we're worth the good stuff! I think it's great that you work at TJ's. I often want to go back to food service so I can move around on my feet and come home to do computer work that I actually enjoy.

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathryne

This was such a lovely read, so inspiring and touching. Somehow the thought of you helping all kinds of people at Trader Joe's makes you even more lovely, if that is possible. Merry Christmas! xo

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersarah

Thanks for another amazing recipe Sarah. Only a few more sleeps until I unwrap my Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook, then I won't be leaving the kitchen for some time I imagine!

Merry Christmas to you & Hugh, and I look forward to seeing what the New Year brings to you both.


December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Love seeing you at TJ's, so great every time!! Thank you for always being so sweet. This salad looks beautiful! Merry Christmas to you!!! Xoxo

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Winrich

Quinoa and sweet potatoes a perfect combination, in taste and health benefits!

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Beautiful words, beautiful salad, beautiful you. Enjoy this festive season!

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Had to make this immediately for lunch. Such a lovely salad. Happy Holidays to both of you! You're awesome.

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSini

Such a gorgeous salad that makes me happy on the outside, as I know it would on the inside. Also you are right: I cannot help LOVING that corner of Trader's Joe's!

Merry Christmas! I have enjoyed your blog so much and am looking forward to the coming year. You do such a great job---thanks for the stories, the recipes, the pictures, etc. And thanks for my 2 new loves---coconut loaf and pumpkin pecan granola!!!

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Sara, Can I just say that I love the fact that you work at Traders! Aw man! There is something to be said about having that routine and contact with people. It keeps the balance somehow doesn't it?? :)

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYumi

Couldn't agree with you more about the importance of taking care of your insides - the body is a temple as my family has always said! Merry Christmas to you both, thank you for your lovely posts all year.

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHarriet

I love it when you're working at TJ's!! It's always nice to see you and your stories shared on this post are really touching. Food creates community, and the free food station is no exception! I'm trying to avoid holiday madness, but I'll be in this weekend...hopefully we'll see you to wish you and Hugh a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoz

I spent many outraged young adult years working at my dad's local grocery/produce market, so needless to say I feel you on certain aspects of this. The same outrage/impatience when peeps asked "WHY OH WHY is zucchini only available from Mexico in December?!?! Why are you BETRAYING ME PERSONALLY by not conjuring up a local version in its prime for me at this very moment? I MISSED PEACH SEASON?! WHY DO YOU TAUNT ME." ...It's amazing how worked up peeps can get over food.

People are silly. You are awesome. This post is a nice reminder that it's good to be stoked on real food and to just have it in your life is a miracle. High five, Sara xoxo

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

congrats on picking up a side job! whenever I work from home I feel like it's a blessing and a curse. I get so much work done, but then I really miss that human interaction. And my neighborhood feels like a ghost town during the day.

Thank you for the recipe and have a wonderful holiday!

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersam

Love this post, love that you work at TJ's (the best ever) and the image of the man learning to cook after his wife passed away hurt my heart- but in a good way :)

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRuthy @ omeletta

Purchased you book at Anthropologie today! It's amazing!

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley B

This looks delicious. We are going to have it as part of our Christmas Eve Dinner...sprinkled with a few pomegranate seeds for a touch of holiday color. Thank you and Happy Holidays.

December 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDena

My mom works at Trader Joe's as well and I'm sure she loves and hates it for the same reasons. While her house is always stocked with chocolates (candy cane JoJo's this time of year), there's never a shortage of kale, sweet potatoes, quinoa.. in fact I should go make this salad for her right now. Looks great. Merry Christmas!

December 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

This salad looks wonderful. Great idea of using sweet potatoes in this salad..

December 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeide M.

This post made me happy, and that salad will be on our dinner table soon.

And I hear you on the healthy, real food thing. It is so important. On one hand, my now husband and I spend several years in college and just out of college struggling to pay the bills and feeding ourselves on SNAP/EBT. It is so incredibly hard to feed yourself and your family real food on the tiny budget allotted to you under SNAP/EBT! I felt lucky I knew how to cook, but because of that we could usually eek out the month (barely) most of the time. I get it. It is hard, and lets face it, more expensive to eat real nutritious food than Cup of Noodles and Twinkies alone.

Now I work in a public institution in a rough neighborhood and it just *kills* me to see young children eating buckets of KFC or giant slurpees and a bag of Doritos as an after school "snack." Their reaction to healthy food programming run by the city is usually either "EWWW" or "what is that?" It is enough to make a girl want to start handing out sweet potatoes and broccoli on street corners!

December 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZoe

Just wanted to say that I love your statement that eating right is everyone's responsibility! I agree totally! So many people have no regard for what they eat or how it will affect their bodies. I'm glad that you pointed out that of course everyone loves sweets or meals that can just be microwaved, but, everyone needs to take it just one step further and thing long term (healthy eating) rather than short term (this tastes good so I"ll eat it or I'll eat this because I can just pop it in the microwave and it will be ready with no effort). Thank you! I hope you talk more about this in future posts.

December 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

It sort of enrages me to hear people speak highly of food simply because it is 'cheap' or 'easy.' I'm happy to pay a premium for the food that goes into my body - it's hard for me to understand why you'd spend more on shoes than on the stuff that makes your body run better! I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year - you have lots to celebrate! xo

December 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKasey

Sometimes simple is all one needs... I made your braised white beans and leeks to rave reviews. With such humble ingredients, everyone should be able to eat this well. :)

December 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjanet @ the taste space

Inspiring post and a good reminder that our relationship with food is so important as it is what nourishes our bodies. When I tell people I work with that I don't own a microwave (and haven't for years), they look at me with a blank stare. It's interesting to see the dynamic between those that eat healthy, and those that don't. Thanks for the last minute inspiration with this salad! I'm going to bring it to my family's Christmas Eve dinner swapping in golden beets for the sweet potatoes :)

December 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

I absolutely love TJ's! I just read this fun guide about navigating holiday shopping at TJ's - it's at I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I can't wait to try this salad!

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Hello Sara and Hugh! I got your cookbook for Christmas and already read it from cover to cover! It's already filled with post-its and personal notes. I absolutely love it and I think I will learn a lot from your approach to food and cooking (although I already do eat fairy healthy and wholesome). The recipes all look simple but (or because of that!) very delicious and the pictures are breathtaking! I wish you a merry Christmas :)))

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

Made this to go with a whole fish that had been grilled on the BBQ - it was wonderful, and the rest was eaten as leftovers for lunch today. Thanks for the great recipe, as always!

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

yesssssss I LOVE quinoa! Thank you for another recipe I can try.

December 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Just made this yesterday and it's delicious! I stored everything individually and had leftovers today for lunch and it was just as good! Thanks for another awesome recipe!

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I love the style of your pictures, delicious!

December 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalf

Just having started a blog recently to help my patients make better food choices I utterly and completely relate to wanting to scream at people at a restaurant or supermarket, or in my office in the exam room... , about taking responsibility for their health and choices. We truly and literally are what we eat, and the saying "garbage in, garbage out" applies here as well.
I love your blog and your photos, and hope to someday take pictures that come close to the poetic quality of yours! AND you work at TJ's, my favorite store!! You rock.
Happy New Year!

December 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEva

Love this salad! The combination of the apple and sweet potato is a simple match made in heaven. Perfect of the New Year!

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephen@HappyHeartCourse

This salad sounds divine! I really like the combination of quinoa, apple, and sweet potato. I will have to share this with my Twitter and Pinterest followers. Thanks!

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShelley Alexander

i have made this 4 times,

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara

I made this salad and it was super delicious! I love that all the ingredients are fresh and they all blend to well together. I used mixed baby greens and added some kale to it too! And the sweet potatoes were to die for! The natural sugars caramelize a bit in the oven so it adds a delicious subtle sweetness. <3

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErika

Two thumbs up to your post and to this recipe!

March 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaley

I am eating this again for lunch new favorite salad...with a slice of meyer lemon bread...third loaf...thank you for your inspiring food and writing!

March 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Made this salad yesterday for a large Easter Dinner. Everyone LOVED it! There were many protein options for dinner (turkey, ham, and lamb) so I didn't add any meat/eggs - but will definitely make it again and add some chicken and or eggs and bring it for lunch every day! (I personally don't like onion that much - so when I make it for myself, I will omit that). Fabulous combination of flavors - and it held up 24 hours later!

April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

I made this a few days ago and it may just be one of the most delicious things I have ever had! (And I have had a lot of delicious stuff in my life. I grew up in Italy ;-))

Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElisa

My business is feeding on this kind of all over again pertaining to lunch now... the completely new favorite salad... that has a peel of Meyer fruit breads... next loaf... appreciate it on your striking meal and also writing!

November 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErica R. Galle

Oh my goodness... this chopped salad looks so good! It being so cold outside, I am looking for hearty salad recipes and ideas. Love how you have incorporated sweet potatoes in this salad. Sweet potatoes aren't something I've ever thought to include in a salad. Can't wait to try this salad soon!

Thanks for the nice recipes!


January 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

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