Every few months I get a package with a Cranberry Bog Blogger Recipe Challenge. I usually receive a few ingredients and a recipe, but for this month the challenge was turned around and I had to come up with my own recipe using the ingredients in my mailer.
Fall Cranberry Bog Blogger Challenge: We’ve provided a few ingredients you may not typically think of when serving cranberries – and we challenge you to use them all in one cranberry-inspired holiday dish! Show us your chops by making a main course, side dish or dessert that includes the surprise ingredients you’ll find in your package arriving in the mail this week.
The ingredients: cannellini beans; whole berry cranberry sauce; quinoa; sage
I worked with what I know best, the warm grain salad. This time, I made a sheet tray style salad. Honestly, at first I was going for some sort of fall nacho (inspired by these Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos), but the final product was more warm fall salad than crunchy nacho.
The fall sheet tray salad method goes something like this: Roast potatoes and cauliflower (I used an orange cauliflower) in a hot oven with some olive oil. Meanwhile, sauté some garlic in a pot, add the quinoa and some water and cook. Sprinkle in sage and salt. When the potatoes and cauliflower are done, add cheese (I used both a hard and a soft cheese), cooked garlic-sage quinoa, beans and slices of red onion. Return to oven for another 10 minutes or until everything is warmed through. Out of the oven and dot with cranberry sauce.
Talk about fall colors!
I attempted to make puffed or popped quinoa by heating some oil and toasting the quinoa like popcorn. It didn’t quite work as it mostly turned out like overly crunchy dry quinoa. I still added a few pinches to the sheet tray salad so as not to waste my puffed/popped quinoa experiment. I will keep at the popping experiments. I know it works with amaranth. If anyone has pointers, let me know.
Can we please make the sheet tray salad a thing? Who even needs a bowl anymore?!
Fall Sheet Tray Salad
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
optional: 1/2 small head cauliflower, sliced into thin florets
1 1/2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 small red onion or 1/2 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup soft-ish cheese like goat, brie or feta (I used 2 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese), crumbled
1/4 to 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce or homemade cranberry sauce, or to taste
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet (or two, if also roasting the cauliflower) with parchment paper. Arrange the sliced sweet potato, and if using, the cauliflower on the baking sheets. Drizzle with 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes and cauliflower are cooked through and golden.
Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small pot. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the quinoa and 1 cup of water to the pot, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Stir in the sage and a pinch of salt and pepper.
To assemble the sheet tray salad: pile the cooked potatoes and cauliflower onto 1 sheet tray. Sprinkle with quinoa, beans, red onion slices and both types of cheeses. Bake for 10 minutes or until everything is warmed through. Take out of the oven and dot with cranberry sauce.
Scoop onto plates or grab your forks and eat it right off the tray.