One potato, two potato, three potato, four…..five potato, six potato….. JUST GIVE ME SOME MORE!
My dear hubby absolutely loves all things sweet potato! Sweet potato biscuits, grated sweet potato pudding, baked, mashed, fried, roasted, candied…according to him, it doesn’t matter how you cook them, as long as you cook them. He especially likes them cooked , mashed to smithereens, loaded with sugar and butter and topped with tons of marshmallows. My belief is that, with so many wonderful ways to cook this versatile and delicious veggie, why in the world would you ever want to mess it up by preparing it that way! I mean, really, what did that cute little sweet potato ever do to you? However, I am inclined to agree with hubby dear, who’s name is Tony, by the way. …sweet potatoes are good stuff, they are the real deal! As my kids used to say, they are “delicious and nutritious.” (If you don’t believe me, look it up!) Sweet ‘taters are actually good for you and good to you!
I know it’s not sexy, but one of my very favorite ways to cook and eat sweet potatoes is to simply dice them (with the skin-on, of course), toss them in a little EVOO or coconut oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper and then to roast at 425 degrees until fork-tender, and browned with some slight charring. If I want to get really fancy, I add in a tiny bit of pure maple syrup and other spices, to taste, before roasting. But for real, they are sweet enough on their own.
Now when I really want something special, Kickin’ Sweet Potato Salad is the only way to go! This salad was inspired by a salad made by the awesome folks at www.NourishCharlotte.com, which is “Charlotte’s only locally-sourced, organic, vegan, prepared healthy food delivery service”. The folks in Nourish Charlotte’s prep kitchen, led by the uber- talented Chef Julia, rock! (Okay, this is where I give you full-disclosure and let you know that I was blessed to work under Chef Julia as a Vegan Baker/Vegetable Engineer for about two years. And, as anyone who was lucky enough to work in Chef Julia’s kitchen can tell you, she is a master chef and teacher who teaches how to appreciate and cook some kick-butt vegan food.)
Kickin Sweet Potato Salad is so good, that our daughter requested that I make and serve it for her wedding rehearsal dinner. And, dear hubby requested that I make a HUGE bowl of it for our annual Couple’s Bible Study Picnic. Needless to say, it was a big hit on both occasions! As you can see, our daughter is the apple of her father’s eye…they’ve surely bonded over a sweet potato or two! Like father, like daughter.
I apologize, in advance that this recipe has a few steps, but I promise you, it’s totally worth it!
First, make the Spicy Roasted Pecan topping. By making this first, you can snack on a few (only for quality control purposes, I assure you) while you prep the rest of the salad.Print
Spicy Roasted Pecans
Roasted Pecans that have a spicy, sweet, salty thing going on.. delicious used as a topping on Kickin’ Sweet Potato Salad or as a little snack..just because you want to!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
- Total Time: -25218463.183333 minute
- Yield: 30 .33 oz per serving
- 2 Tbl. Coconut Oil (Melted)
- 1/4 Cup Organic Sugar ((Make sure it’s vegan/gluten-free if you are keeping this recipe Vegan and gluten-free))
- 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
- 2 Tbl. Smoked Paprika
- 2 Tbl. Ground Cinnamon
- Black Pepper (To Taste)
- 10 oz. Pecan Halves
- Mix together everything except the pecan halves.
- When mixed well, add pecan halves and toss to coat.
- Bake on parchment-lined baking sheet for 8-10 minutes, in a preheated oven, at 400 degrees. Stir once, half-way through cooking time.
- Watch carefully, being careful not to burn. These nuts will smell nicely fragrant when done. -Overcooking these will result in a burnt, smelly, bitter mess and you will only be ticked-off at yourself for missing out on the awesomeness of eating these! Can you tell that I’ve burned a just a few roasted pecans in my day? Visualize a grown woman crying 🙂
- If you have extra, these make a great snack.
Second, make the Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes.Print
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 15 people 1/2 cup per serving
- 8 medium Sweet Potatoes
- 1/3 cup Coconut Oil (Melted)
- 1/2 Tbl. Sea Salt ((may add less or omit, if desired))
- 1 Tbl. Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tbl. Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Cayenne
- Ground Black Pepper (to taste, preferably freshly ground)
- 1/3 cup Maple Syrup
- Thoroughly wash potatoes. Cut into 1 inch dice, place in a large bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, thoroughly mix all other ingredients.
- Pour the mixed ingredients over the diced potatoes and toss well to coat the potatoes.
- Spread in a single-layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a 400 degree, preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cook until fork-tender and browned. Some small flecks of charring is okay.
- When done, set aside to cool.
- Save extra roasted potatoes for another meal or recipe. These freeze well.
Once you’ve got the sweet potatoes roasting in the oven, go ahead and make the Diced, Roasted Peppers.Print
Diced, roasted Peppers
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 10 approx. .13 cups per serving
- 4 medium to large red bell peppers (preferably organic)
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Coconut Oil
- Pinch of Salt (may be omitted)
- Thoroughly wash the red bell peppers. Cut into a small dice.
- Toss peppers with the remaining ingredients.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place peppers on prepared baking sheet and roast for approximately 15 minutes. You should see some browning (but not burning) on the peppers as shown in the picture above.
- Save any extra roasted peppers for another use. These freeze well.
Then, go ahead and prepare the dressing for the salad and set aside.Print
Dressing for Kickin’ Sweet Potato Salad
A slightly sweet and tangy dressing with just a hint of heat.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: Makes About 2 1/2 cups cups
- 1 cup Dijon Mustard
- 1 cup Pineapple Juice ((unsweetened))
- 1 medium Orange ((juiced))
- 1/3 cup Coconut Oil ((melted) *(may add less, if desired))
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cayenne ((more or less to taste))
- Place all ingredients, except Coconut Oil, in blender. Blend for about 30 seconds until combined.
- Slowly drizzle in coconut oil, while blender is running. Once all the oil has been added, let blender run for an additional 30 seconds.
- Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.
- Save extra dressing for another use (great as a marinade or drizzle over fresh salad greens)
Finally, lets get it all together! I present to you…Kickin’ Sweet Potato Salad!Print
KICKIN’ SWEET POTATO SALAD
A little sweet. A little spicy. Roasted sweet potatoes, sweet pineapple, peppers, parsley and arugula all combine to bring a you a whole lot goodness!
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 8-10 people
- 4 cups Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes ((See Recipe in this blog post).)
- 1 cup Diced, Roasted Red Peppers ((See Recipe in this blog post.))
- 1 20 oz. Pineapple Chunks ((Preferably organic, no sugar added. Drain and save juice for use in the dressing or other uses))
- 1 bunch Green Onions ((Use both white and green parts).)
- 3 oz Dried Cranberries ((Preferably organic))
- 3 cups Baby Arugula ((Preferably organic))
- 1 cup Chopped Fresh Parsley ((Preferably organic))
- 1 cup Spicy Roasted Pecans ((See Recipe in this blog post.))
- 1 cup Prepared Dressing ((See Recipe in this blog post.))
- Put prepared cooled Maple Potatoes and Diced Roasted Red Peppers in a large, non-reactive bowl.
- Wash, dry and slice green onions. Use both green and white parts. Place in bowl with Potatoes and Peppers.
- Wash and dry parsley. Remove large stems and rough chop. Add to bowl
- Add drained pineapple chunks to bowl.
- Add baby arugula (wash and dry, if not already pre-washed) to bowl.
- Drizzle 1 cup dressing over mixture in bowl. Gently toss all to mix and coat with dressing.
- Chill salad for about an hour to give the flavors a chance to hang out!
- Sprinkle Spicy Roasted Pecans onto salad just before serving.
This salad is a great side-dish served with your favorite roasted protein (chicken, tempeh, etc.). Enjoy!!!! And, don’t forget, let me know what you think!