Well, apparently this is the year for making giant salads that I eat all week for lunch. And this sweet potato salad falls right in line. I love recipes like these – that you can make on a Monday, that can hold up perfectly well until Friday when you are scooping the very last bits straight out of the tupperware container it’s been housed in all week.
Lunchtime is often kind of a crazy time of day for us. I’m usually rushing home, having stayed too long at a park because the knowledge that winter - the season of futility and death - is ever before me. (Did you click that link? No? You should. Camp Patton is one of my favorite mama blogs these days).
We’re soaking up every minute we can of these chilly but sunny days, but then I’m forced to drive home with one hand while the other tickles Owen’s knee and hands him a steady stream of graham crackers in an attempt to keep him awake.
When we finally do get home, it’s a mad rush to get him started on eating and to feed Elsa - which involves distracting her with something for her to hold onto and chew (a toasted breadstick, a thick carrot stub, a spoon) and sneaking bits or spoofuls of food into her mouth because baby girl does not seem to be the budding foodie we’d all hoped she’d be. That leaves me to eat spoonfuls of what I can while I race against the naptime clock of doom.
So, salads are my go-to right now. And you are twenty minutes away from eating this one.
Ready? This salad is a multi-tasker. You simply peel and chop some sweet potatoes, and then steam them for about 15 minutes – until they’re just under tender and still have the tiniest bit of crunch. With that 15 minutes, you’re chopping up celery, peppers, onions, cilantro, and making a quick honey mustard vinaigrette. The sweet potatoes get a quick dip in some cold water – to stop them from cooking further – and then get mixed in with your veggies and vinaigrette – and voila! You’re ready to eat.
This salad screams fall with it’s sweet potato goodness. This is a good one to have in your arsenal when you’re craving something fresh in the winter, but the nearest green thing is growing 1,357 miles away. Or to have on your spoon when you are simultaneously feeding two other people and trying not to starve to death.
(recipe adapted from Simply In Season )
(yields 10 cups of salad, serves 6-8 as a side)
I barely adapted this recipe, just upping the amounts of sweet potato, bell pepper, and cilantro slightly.
4 cups peeled, diced sweet potato (about 2 lbs.) (app. 1/4-inch cubes)
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 large bell pepper, cored and diced (about 1 c.)
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
3 green onions, green & white parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Steam Sweet Potatoes:
Place diced sweet potato in steamer basket over about an inch of water. Cover basket and turn heat to high; steam for 10-20 minutes, checking after 10 minutes by poking with a fork . You want them to be tender enough to be pierced with a fork but still retain their shape and just the slightest bit of "crunch" - similar to a just-tender cooked carrot. (My pieces were a bit bigger than 1/4-inch dice, and it took me about 18 minutes.)
Remove from steamer and place in an ice bath, or just run under cold water in the sink until cooled off. Drain water and place in a large bowl.
Make Vinaigrette & Assemble Salad:
Place all vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar with a lid. Seal tightly and then shake until thoroughly mixed (Alternately, whisk in a bowl). Gently stir the celery, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, and green onions into the cooled sweet potatoes. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to coat.
Store in a covered container in the fridge. Keeps for about 5 days.