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Mucho Gusto

Valeria’s Harvest Bowl

This is the forty-seventh installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Sitting at my desk in my home in Miami, Florida I reminisce about college, wishing that I was on campus in Boston. The past few days I’ve been missing my friends who went back to campus and having major FOMO (fear of missing out). I also miss the independence I have in Boston as I find myself doing so many chores and contributing to the wellbeing of my whole family. This is something that I am not used to doing, because I am usually only home for short periods of time, during which my family usually spoils me. Now, I find myself having to ask permission when I go places, cooking meals for the whole family, and barely leaving the house because of COVID-19. 

To be completely honest with you, other than my friends, what I long for the most is my trips to Wegmans, Oath, Amelia’s Taqueria, and Sweetgreen. These trips were changes to my daily routine that I looked forward to all week when I was in Chestnut Hill; they were a chance to get away from campus and to enjoy something different from dining hall food. That is not to say there’s anything wrong with BC Dining’s food, only that it just gets boring after a while.

In particular, I’ve been really craving a tasty and fresh Sweetgreen salad. Tragically, there are no Sweetgreen locations in all of Florida. So, I had to get creative and invent my own rendition of one of my favorite fall seasonal salads from Sweetgreen: the Harvest Bowl. The main vegetables in this salad are kale and sweet potatoes. To be honest, I’m not usually a fan of kale’s acidic flavor, but in this salad, it works very well, because it compliments the tanginess  and fruitiness of the other ingredients. This recipe satisfied my craving, and for a moment, made me feel like I was back on campus in Boston.

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 bag of kale (about 4 cups)
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of wild rice
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 red apples
  • ½ cup of sliced almonds
  • ½ cup of crumbled goat cheese

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ¼ tsp of ground pepper

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium pot with a lid, boil 1 cup of water over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the wild rice and a pinch of salt. Cover the pot with a lid, and reduce the heat to low. Cook the rice for about 45 minutes or until it absorbs all the water. After, fluff the rice with a fork. Next, remove from the heat and cover the rice for an extra 5 minutes so that it steams.  

Next, peel the skins off the sweet potatoes. With a sharp knife and a cutting board, slice the sweet potatoes into thin pieces about ¼ inch wide and 1 inch long. Place the sweet potato pieces on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place these in the preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Flip the pieces over, and leave in the oven for 7 to 8 more minutes or until the edges are golden brown. 

While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, prepare your apples. If you do not like apple skin, you can peel them first, but this is not necessary. Then, slice the apples into pieces similar in size to the sweet potatoes, ¼ inch wide and 1 inch long. 

In a medium-sized pan on medium heat, grill the chicken breast until fully cooked. This usually takes roughly 5 minutes per side, but the cooking time may vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken breast. When the chicken is fully cooked, the juices that come out when you cut into it will be clear. If the juices are pinkish, the chicken needs to be cooked for a little longer. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the heat and place it on the cutting board. Dice the chicken into small cubes that are about the size of your thumb nail.

While the chicken breasts are grilling, roast the sliced almonds. To do this, place the sliced almonds on a small pan over low heat. After about 30 seconds, flip over the slices of almonds. Repeat this step until the sliced almonds turn into a lightish brown color. Beware: pay close attention to them because they burn extremely easily! Roasting the almonds is completely optional; they can be added to the harvest bowl raw or even be omitted. 

In a large serving bowl, combine the kale, grilled chicken, wild rice, roasted sweet potato pieces, sliced apples, sliced almonds, and crumbled goat cheese. 

To make the dressing, in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Using a fork, mix these ingredients together until the dressing looks like one liquid with no division between the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil. Pour this dressing onto the large serving bowl and use salad serving utensils to mix everything together. Voila! You just made a Sweetgreen salad at home!

This recipe serves about 4 people. Leftovers can be saved in the refrigerator for around 1 week. Avoid putting the dressing on the harvest bowl when storing it in the fridge. 

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