Recipe: Sufferfest September Salad

When Sufferfest asked me to contribute a gluten free, athlete focused recipe for their blog, I had a hard time choosing what to submit. In the end, I chose this recipe which evolved over several iterations to become a hearty, seasonal salad that highlights some of fall's best flavors while celebrating the fact that California tends to have it's best summertime weather in the fall. See the original Sufferfest posing here. This salad features sweet potato for fall flavor and staying power, beets and tart cherry for enhanced recovery, pumpkin seeds for more seasonal flavor and protein and goat cheese because it's just so tasty! It is gluten-free and if you skip the cheese, it’s vegan as well.

Serves 3-4

For the Salad:

  • 4 ounces baby arugula

  • 2 ounces baby spinach or kale

  • 3 oz goat cheese ( I like Purple Haze by Cypress Grove Chèvre), crumbled

  • 2 small to medium beets, raw, peeled, grated

  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and Spiralized or cut into thin strips with a julienne peeler

  • 2 tablespoons avocado (or other high heat) oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

For the Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons tart cherry juice concentrate (I like Stanton Orchards)

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed

  • Pinch of salt & pinch of pepper


1) Heat the avocado oil in a large pan on medium-high heat.

2) Toss the spiralized sweet potato with the salt and pepper so it is evenly distributed

3) Once the oil is hot add enough sweet potato to cover the pan without much overlap. Fry the sweet potato without flipping it for about 5-7 minutes, until it starts to brown on the bottom. Once it is brown, flip the all the sweet potato to cook the other side. Cook another 4-5 minutes until crispy. Remove from oil and place on paper towel to absorb extra oil. Repeat until all the sweet potato is cooked.

4) Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until mixed. Add more of any ingredient to taste.

5) Assemble the salad: Combine the greens, beets and dressing and toss until they are mixed. Crumble, the goat cheese on top. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds on top. Top with crispy sweet potato spirals.

You can add chicken or salmon to turn this into a hearty dinner.