Mint Pesto Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad

I've been thinking a lot about what I have to be thankful for; and my list is long, it's expansive, it's awesome!

Too often I forget how blessed I am, and take for granted life's simple gifts; they include this blog that gives me so much fulfillment,  a job that inspires me everyday,  my friends and family, New York city. 
I'm grateful to be the woman that I am.  Despite my ups and downs, confusions, insecurities and fears, above all I am proud to be me: compassionate, passionate, creative, ambitious and so much more. 
My favorite thing to do in the world is to eat!  Firstly, it is imperative that I give thanks for the gift of having the food I love, that nourishes and excites me, whenever I please to indulge.  Having shifted my life's focus from performance to cooking and health, I have become even more obsessed with food.  From reading Sweet Potato Soul you're well aware that the Standard American Diet does not appeal to me.  I'm a girl who fantasizes about the vibrant colors, tantalizing textures and euphoric qualities of plant foods (another thing I am very grateful for).  My relationship with food has gone from love hate, when I used to eat boxes of Wheat Thins, Fig Newtons and milk chocolate and wonder why I felt so crappy, to passionate love!

This mint pesto sweet potato and pomegranate salad is one example of how food can make my soul dance.  When ingredients are at their freshest the brilliant qualities of each has a way of harmonizing with the rest to create edible bliss.  The basic ingredients for this salad are as follows:
Fresh Mint
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
Shallots
Pomegranate Seeds
Roasted Sweet Potato
Red Kale  

 Not much in there, but so delicious! 

I've been seeing a lot of salads on blogs these days that feature pomegranate seeds, and as a lover of the little nutrient dense gems I was eager to use them in my own way.  At my job the other night there was a special featuring Brussels sprouts and lemon sage pesto. Yes, Lemon Sage Pesto! I guess that's where I got my idea for an unorthodox take on pesto, though mine is technically too liquidy (in a good way) to be called pesto. 

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and if I had to recommend a side dish that is as beautiful as it tastes, I'd recommend this.  And aside from taking the seeds out of the pomegranate, it's super easy to make.  As a salad tossed with kale (or any other leafy green), simply by itself or with fluffy quinoa, I love this autumn dish.  

Thank You for reading my blog.  I hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving!  

Mint Pesto Sweet Potato and Pomegranate Salad 

2 sweet potatoes, cubed and roasted at 350° for 30 minutes
1 cup pomegranate seeds 
3 cups kale, chopped and massaged with olive oil
3 cups red quinoa, cooked **optional**

Mint Pesto:
2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp shallot, minced
1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed 
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed 
1 tsp chili flakes or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt 

In a food processor blend pesto ingredients.  The pesto will be liquidy, so you may think of it as pesto plus dressing. 

Assembly
Toss sweet potatoes with kale and quinoa (if you're using it).  Top with pomegranate seeds and pour on mint pesto.  Top with fresh mint, enjoy!  

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