Today I’m bringing this Smoky Sweet Potato Salad to your plate. To energize and nourish you – while tasting fabulously delicious!
After the holidays, January arrives with detox plans, and unfortunately quick-fix diets.
I feel one of the perks of eating a whole-foods plant-based diet is that the majority of our foods are already… clean, real, minimally processed – detoxifying! Even when we enjoy some sort of treat or indulgent foods, the bulk of our diet is naturally nourishing and cleansing.
Like this Smoky Sweet Potato Salad with Black Beans!
This salad is full of color, texture, flavor and offers abundant vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
I once read “healthy eating is a one-way street”. There’s something to that. The more we move towards healthier eating, the more we feel how bad it feels to go ‘backwards’, returning to dairy or meat or more processed foods.
I’m no food saint. I enjoy my chocolate and ice creams, and other treats. But if I’m not eating a good amount of whole foods and vegetables, I simply feel the drag of missing those foods.
This Sweet Potato Salad comes from Let Them Eat Vegan, and can become a staple for you throughout the winter and also summer. In winter, rely on those heavier, deeply satisfying sweet potatoes. In the summer, try swapping the sweet potatoes with fresh mangoes.
I love the blend of ingredients and flavors in this sweet potato salad. The smoky, spicy, bright dressing plays off the sweet, comforting spuds and hearty black beans. It’s tasty, nutritious, and very satisfying!
This sweet potato salad is also a perfect example of how one dish can be served in different ways to be enjoyed for a lighter lunch, a more substantial lunch, or for an even more substantial dinner…
- Serve on its own, in a bowl as-is!
- Or, serve how I usually enjoy it – in a ‘lunch bowl’ with steamed kale, raw spinach or lettuce.
- Spoon and roll in green wraps, or simply spoon into smaller, crispy romaine leaves for “salad boats”!
- Do I need to mention it’s even more fabulous topped with avocado or avocado cream?
- Try layering with that guacamole in a serving dish to serve at parties. Pair with tortilla chips (see recipe note, below).
- Transform into a heartier dinner meal: serve over quinoa or brown rice (again with avocado), or over baked potatoes drizzled with a savory cashew cream, use as a taco filling, or tuck into whole-grain tortillas and bake for warm burritos to serve with salad and guac on the side!
Wishing you a bright new year – and a delicious one! x Dreena
Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad
- 2 cups cooked sweet potato cut in cubes (see note for baking tips)
- 2 14 oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
- ¾ cup red or yellow bell pepper diced
- ½ cup cucumber diced (seeds removed) (or jicama, peel trimmed and diced)
- 2 tbsp chives roughly chopped, or green portion of green onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley minced (cilantro can also be used)
- 1 - 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano minced
- 4 - 5 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice will need about 2-3 limes
- 1 tsp sea salt little scant
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp chipotle hot sauce I use Tabasco brand; can use another ½ tsp if you like it smokier/hotter
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ - 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup or agave nectar
To bake potatoes, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 400 for 40-60 minutes (baking time will depend on whether you are using smaller or larger sweet potatoes). Check the potatoes a few times in the last 10-15 minutes of baking. They can be baked until quite soft, which will give potatoes that meld into the salad (losing most of their structure). While baking and cooling sweet potatoes (see note), prepare other ingredients. Once sweet potatoes cool to just warm or cool, cut in cubes and add to a large bowl with remaining ingredients (starting with 4 – 4 ½ tbsp lime juice, I like to use close to the 5 tbsp myself). Toss through to combine well. Taste, and add additional lime juice if desired, and season to taste with additional salt, pepper, or chipotle hot sauce if desired. Salad is delicious at room temperature, but can be chilled for a picnic or to keep for lunches during the week.
Make It More-ish!: This would be delicious as a layered dip with guacamole. Distribute salad over the bottom of a shallow casserole dish. Make a simple guacamole, and dollop or smooth over top to distribute as evenly as possible. Scoop out portions to serve with tortilla or pita chips, or to wrap in lettuce leaves.
If This Apron Could Talk: If you want more of firm texture to the sweet potatoes, bake for less time, until just ‘al dente’ (cooked through, but with a slight give when pierced), which will help them hold more structure in the salad. I like the sweet potatoes cooked until mostly soft since I like how they meld into the salad and help it ‘hold’ when serving/eating… but, it’s up to you for your salad!
photo credit: Emma Potts
What are your favorite meals for regular healthy eating and weekly meal routines? Please share your tips/ideas.