Yes, Virginia, you can put roasted sweet potatoes into a salad!
Since when do vegetables, specifically cooked vegetables, have to be relegated to side dish status? Let’s not be casting our vegetables into some imagined pigeon hole. How unfair! Let them out to play and explore with the other foods. Okay, I know it sounds like I’ve totally flipped my lid but hear me out on this one. When you roast vegetables, their flavor gets a bit sweeter and their texture gets a bit softer but still has a chewability (yep, I’m making up words now too), or tooth to it. These characteristics are a bit like a piece of cooked meat.
When I first suggested to Craig that I was putting roasted sweet potatoes into his salad he told me I was crazy (he probably should have run for the hills then, but now he’s kind of stuck). I told him to just try it and if he didn’t like I would never do it again (little white lie there – I knew full well I’d be doing it again). I also heard “sweet potatoes are for mashing and eating at Thanksgiving.” The rhetoric continued throughout the cooking process. When he finally settled down and ate his salad, he really liked the sweet potatoes in the salad. He especially liked the contrasting soft texture that they brought to the crunchy vegetables on his plate. We had a winner.
Ginger Rogers once said “Two people who love each other, they don’t look at each other, they look in the same direction.” If you follow relationship guru Paula Abdul and her relationship advice that “Opposites Attract,” you may have found yourself in some pretty odd situations. Does it always end with a fight about should we stay in or go out on a Friday night? No, it doesn’t. While you may be Laura Ingalls compared to his James Dean (or maybe you’re Dita Von Tease and he’s George Bailey) this kind of opposite attraction doesn’t spell doom. But remember this: YOU ARE NOT GOING TO EVER…I MEAN EVER…CHANGE THAT PERSON! Just had to throw that in there. The main thing that keeps successful couples together, through thick and thin, is that they both have the same future in mind.
Serves 2 – 4 (depends if using for side salad or main course)
- 8 Ounces Mixed Salad Greens (baby arugula, mache, baby bibb, baby spinach, frisee, etc.)
- Handful of Parsely (chopped)
- 8 Mint Leaves (chopped fine)
- 6 Tablespoons Goat Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Pistachio Nuts (chopped)
- 1/4 Red Onion (sliced very thin)
- 1/2 Cup Dried Tart Cherries
- 1 Medium Cucumber (diced)
- 6 Baby Beets (roasted and diced)*
- 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes (roasted and diced)*
- Olive Oil (for drizzling)
- Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Cup Blood Orange Juice (can substitute regular orange juice)
- 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
- 1 Clove Garlic (mashed with 2-3 pinches of salt)
- 1 Small Shallot (sliced thin)
- 1 Teaspoon Herbs de Provence
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For Roasted Beets and Sweet Potatoes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
Place baby beets in foil (tops removed), drizzle with olive oil and tightly close foil around beets.
Spread diced sweet potatoes on baking sheet – drizzle with olive oil (using your hands mix sweet potatoes and olive oil to ensure all sides of sweet potatoes are coated in oil) and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Once oven is heated, place foil packet of beets on one rack and baking sheet of sweet potatoes on the top rack. Roast for 60 minutes. Half way through the roasting time, stir the potatoes.
Remove both beets and potatoes from oven to cool.
Once the beets are cool open the foil packet. Peel the beets, the skins will slip right off just using your fingers. Cut off any rough spots and dice.
For Salad Dressing
In a small bowl add first 6 ingredients and stir to combine. Be careful when adding the blood orange juice…this stuff stains.
Drizzle in olive oil while constantly stirring so that everything thoroughly mixed.
For Pistachio Crusted Goat Cheese
Place chopped pistachios on a small plate.
Roll one half of each tablespoon of goat cheese into a ball. You can make these whatever size you like.
Roll each goat cheese ball into the chopped pistachios and set aside.
In a large bowl add salad greens, parsely, mint, red onion, dried tart cherries, cucumber and roasted sweet potatoes.
If the dressing has started to separate, re-stir.
Drizzle the dressing onto the salad greens. You can use as much or as little as you like (you can always serve the leftover dressing with the salad). If you use too much dressing, your greens will get saturated and wilt.
Using tongs or 2 forks, lightly toss the dressing and greens together.
Serve greens on plates. Add roasted beets (these aren’t added earlier because they will turn everything purple when you are tossing the salad greens).
Top with pistachio crusted goat cheese and serve.