It doesn’t matter how I prepare them. I love sweet potatoes! Though I seem to eat them more in the fall and winter than any time of the year. So it seemed appropriate that I turn them into a salad!
Big roasted spears of sweet potatoes are topped with peppery arugula, sweet caramelized red onions, toasted pecans and drizzled with a simple white balsamic vinaigrette. Quick and easy, this sweet potato salad is substantial enough for your main meal.
Roasting adds such great flavor to most any vegetable. Here, I wanted to highlight sweet potatoes, but you can swap in fall squashes as well.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of A, C and B vitamins. Use any sweet potato you prefer. Here I’m using some jewel sweet potatoes that I picked up at Whole Foods. I like their bright orange flesh and longer shape, especially when cutting them into spears. A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt is all you need to prepare these beauties.
I also use purple onions a lot, too. I love the pop of color it will add to your salads. And they are great for pickling, too. But let’s face it, ANY onion tastes great when it’s caramelized. This step takes an easy half hour. You can cook them while the potatoes are roasting!
I used some peppery arugula, just to have a bit of a bite to cut through the sweetness of the roasted sweet potatoes. But bitter greens and spinach would be great choices. I also tossed in a handful of radish shoots, because I had them and wanted to use them up! And the dressing is a very simple but extremely flavorful white balsamic vinaigrette. I make that luscious stuff in big batches! I love the sweet, tart, tanginess it adds to this salad.
I think pecans go so well with sweet potatoes. But use your favorite nut. Walnuts or hazelnuts would be great. And instead of dressing the arugula, I like to throw everything on top of the potatoes and give them a good drizzle of vinaigrette.
A great addition to this lovely fall potato salad were my Spicy Pickled Cranberries. They lend a pop of color and a spicy tang to all the rich, sweetness of the potatoes. I’ve also added crumbled blue cheese before. So good!
You have so many options with this salad. So here are some ways to MAKE IT YOUR OWN:
- You don’t have to stick with sweet potatoes. Regular potatoes would work. Or how about a mix of baby potatoes or fingerlings?
- Not feeling the potatoes? Try chunks or slices of pumpkin, butternut squash or acorn squash.
- Play with the shapes. Instead of spears, cut your potatoes into cubes or circles.
- All onions taste great when caramelized. So yellow onions, Vidalias or shallots would be a good substitute.
- Instead of pecans, use walnuts, hazelnuts or pine nuts.
- Add a fruit that roasts well alongside the sweet potatoes. Cranberries, grapes, apples or pears come to mind.
- I like the peppery arugula. But you can swap it for another green. Make sure they are hearty enough to hold up to the warmth of the potatoes. For instance, spinach, bitter greens or kale would be good choices.
- I LOVE the white balsamic vinegar because it’s so light and delicious and doesn’t affect the color of the food. But regular Balsamic Vinaigrette would be great; as would Maple Walnut Vinaigrette, Apple Cider Vinaigrette or Parmesan Vinaigrette.
There are seven days in a week. Someday isn’t one of them.
- FOR THE SALAD:
- 4 sweet potatoes, cut into quarters lengthwise
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 4 cups of arugula
- 3 Tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- ½ cup of pecans (I used whole and chopped)
- salt & pepper
- FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
- ¼ cup of white balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons of honey
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Drizzle the sweet potatoes with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
- Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, a few grinds of cracked pepper and toss to coat.
- Place the potatoes on the baking sheet with one cut side down.
- Roast the potatoes for 30-40 minutes, turning them once about halfway through,until they are browning and tender when pierced with a fork..
- Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over med-high heat.
- Add the onions and stir to get all the onions coated with the oil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onions, stirring frequently for about 30 minutes or to desired color and texture.
- If the onions start to cook too quickly and the pan becomes dry, reduce the heat some more and add a little water to the pan.
- Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium high heat just until fragrant.
- Remove them from the skillet to cool.
- Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl.
- Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Place 4 sweet potatoes on each serving plate.
- Top with some caramelized onions and a cup of arugula.
- Toss on some pecans and drizzle with your desired amount of vinaigrette.
- Best served warm or at room temperature.
All of my salads are just a starting point for your imagination. So swap and add ingredients and do what works for you!