Bliss in My Belly: Roasted Sweet Potato, Wild Rice, Arugula Salad

This salad is perfect for dinner, lunch or a picnic!  The sun is shining in Phoenix and this is the time of year we grab every bit of cool weather outdoor fun we can from hiking with friends, lazy picnics in the desert parks or just dining outside our home al fresco.  Add some grilled chicken breast to make it a hearty meal and a bottle of Pinot Noir to complete the symphony of flavor. The recipe below is not mine, but I added my own twists and flavors to it.  I use all organic and local ingredients when possible. Enjoy!

ROASTED SWEET POTATO, WILD RICE, ARUGULA SALAD

SALAD INGREDIENTS:
2 cups cooked wild rice (about 1/2 cup raw)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3-4 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chipolte chili powder (my fav is from Native Seed Search)
1 drop of smoked mesquite olive oil (not necessary if you don't have the oil, another fav from Native Seed Search)
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups arugula
1/2 cup toasted cashew pieces
1/2 avocado cut in slices

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons – more to taste)
zest of the lemons
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
2 teaspoons agave nectar
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Cook the wild rice according to package directions. 
2. Meanwhile, make the dressing by pureeing all the dressing ingredients in a food processor or bullet mixer.
3. When the rice is done, toss it with a little bit of the dressing and refrigerate. Let it rest for a little while so it takes on the flavors of the dressing.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the sweet potato pieces directly on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil(s) and sprinkle with the chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir directly on the pan to get everything mixed. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring every so often to keep from burning. When the sweet potatoes are golden brown on the outside, remove from the oven and set aside.
5. Toss the arugula, wild rice, sweet potatoes, cashews, and the remaining dressing together. Top with avocado. Serve warm or cold. 
6. If you want to make the salad heartier, add a few slices of grilled chicken breast. 

Serves 3-4 as a main meal or 4-6 as side salad
300 calories per serving (for side salad portion and no chicken)
To lessen the calories, less cashews and no avocado, but these are healthy fats in moderation! 
Source:  @pinchofyum