Jun 22, 2012

Southwestern Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Once upon a time the summer before college, I worked at a little Israeli restaurant in Minneapolis called The Little Tel-Aviv. All their food was amazing. (I am a huge Middle Eastern food fan after having been exposed to it by the many Lebanese people who lived in the Ivory Coast and Liberia to do business. I lived in these countries many years as my parents are missionaries and I have also done mission work in Africa as an adult. But I digress...)

One of the deli salads The Little Tel-Aviv served was called Rainbow Salad (if I recall correctly). It had sweet potatoes and some other vegetables that I can't quite remember (eggplant may have been one of them), and was in a tomato sauce/dressing. It was simply phenomenal. It was my favorite of all the food they served. Years passed and I (still!) have not been able to find a recipe for that amazing salad. (If you know of a recipe PLEASE leave the recipe, or a link to one, in the comments section!) But in my internet search for said amazing salad, I came across this gem; Southwestern Roasted Sweet Potato Salad. I saved this recipe in my ever-growing recipe collection on my computer, then one day recently, I pulled it out and made it.

It was everything I dreamed it would be.

It is hands down my favorite non-lettuce salad recipe. The tastes and textures blend together perfectly and the slow roasted sweet potatoes give an unexpected sweet flavor. It makes a great side dish, but can also be a vegetarian main course. And as if all these things were not amazing enough, the recipe is high protein/low carb AND Nourishing Traditions approved! It's not Israeli, but it turned out to be a wonderful sister recipe to the one I was searching for. (This recipe is adapted from one I found at Taste of the South Magazine online).

Southwestern Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

5-6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes, to make 8 cups
3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil or olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoon salt (Kosher salt or flakey sea salt works best)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 cups black beans (see my recipe here), or one 15.5 oz can, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (about half a medium onion), or one large Carolina sweet onion (about 2/3 cup)
1 1/2 to 2 cups grape tomatoes
1 cup feta cheese (can be omitted if you can't have dairy or don't like feta)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the coconut oil. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, cumin and oregano. Stir to coat. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet with an edge. Bake for 45-60 minutes, checking after 30 minutes as some ovens heat differently (no need to stir). Bake until the edges start to brown. (The goal is to slow roast them to caramelized perfection.) Cool.

Now this is where it gets tough. You'll want to taste one of these suckers and when you do you'll find you can't stop snitching them. I literally make extra potatoes since I know that I'll eat too many before they make it into the salad!

These suckers have perfectly caramelized flavor.
Transfer the potatoes to a large serving bowl. Add the black beans, red onion, tomatoes, feta and cilantro.

In a small bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice and chipotle pepper powder.  Poor over the salad. Stir gently to combine all the ingredients. 

Can be eaten right away, but it tastes best if it's had at least one hour to chill.

*Chipotle pepper powder is very important to this recipe. I found mine from McCormick in the spice isle at Wal-Mart. You can also order it online.

Preparation time: 30 minutes. Cook time: 45-60 minutes: Servings: 4-5

This salad goes well with grilled meat and a green salad. It also is a great vegetarian meal. I serve it for dinner as a side one night, then eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. As a side dish it serves 4-5, but for a main dish it is about 2-3 servings.


  1. Loving this blog already, girlie! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Made this twice already....love it!!!!!

  3. Yes! This is an absolutely DELICIOUS salad!! Beautiful and tasty!