Regular potatoes might get all of the glory when it comes to salads, but sweet potatoes deserve just as much love and attention. This roasted sweet potato salad shows off the orange-hued root vegetable, setting off its naturally sweet flavor with chili powder.
With earthy black beans, pickled red onion, baby spinach, salty feta cheese crumbles, and a vibrant lime vinaigrette, this is a colorful, hearty vegetarian salad that can be enjoyed a number of ways. Showcase it as a main for a wholesome lunch or dinner or serve it as a side with chicken, sausages, or fish.
How to Perfectly Roast Sweet Potatoes
Roasting is my favorite way to enjoy sweet potatoes, not only because it’s a largely hands-off method, but because it results in ultra-creamy flesh with crispy, caramelized edges. There are a few essential tips for achieving these results in the oven:
- Pick the Right Temperature: 425°F is the perfect temperature to roast sweet potatoes to ensure the flesh becomes tender while the exterior browns. A lower oven temperature will inhibit browning and caramelization while a higher temperature can cause the natural sugars in the potatoes to burn before the flesh is cooked through.
- Season Well: Sweet potatoes are, well, naturally sweet, so generously seasoning them with salt and savory spices balances their flavor beautifully. Here, along with the usual salt and pepper, I’ve chosen to toss them with a full tablespoon of chili powder. The spice blend is a nice one-and-done ingredient because it contains a lightly spicy, smoky mix of chile powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and coriander.
- Toss Only Once: It’s tempting to want to check on the sweet potatoes a few times while they’re roasting and give them a toss each time. Leave them be and toss them only once, halfway through, and they’ll brown and crisp significantly better than they would if you fiddle with them.
How to Meal Prep This Salad
Perhaps the best part about this salad is it stores exceptionally well, making it a great meal prep and make-ahead candidate. I love making it at the start of the week to enjoy for lunch throughout the week. Simply make the recipe in its entirety, transfer it to an airtight container, and refrigerate it for up to 5 days. The baby spinach will wilt slightly during storage, but I actually don’t mind that and think it makes for even more cohesive forkfuls. If you’d prefer perky spinach, store it separately and toss before serving.
Let the salad come back up to room temperature on the counter or warm individual servings in the microwave before serving. Refresh it with another squeeze of lime juice and a drizzle of olive oil and you’re good to go.
Simple Recipe Variations
There are a handful of easy ways to mix up this recipe, depending on what you might already have on hand in your kitchen. The results are sure to be equally delicious:
- Try another spice blend, such as garam masala, berbere, or baharat
- Swap the black beans for any other variety of canned beans, such as chickpeas, pinto beans, or navy beans
- Replace the feta cheese with crumbles of goat cheese, ricotta salata, queso fresco, or cotija cheese
- Use baby kale or arugula instead of baby spinach
- Add some crunch with pepitas, sunflower seeds, or toasted and chopped nuts
Roasty, Toasty Sweet Potato Recipes
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 medium or 2 large)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
1/2 medium red onion
1 large lime
2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 packed cups baby spinach
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.
Prepare the sweet potatoes:
Peel the sweet potatoes, if desired, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with the chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss to coat.
Arrange the potatoes in a single layer. Roast, tossing halfway through, until tender and browned in spots, about 30 minutes.
Once the potatoes are done, let them cool on the baking sheet until just warm to the touch, 10 to 15 minutes.
Quick pickle the onion:
Meanwhile, slice the red onion into very thin half-moons and place in a large bowl. Finely grate the zest of the lime into the bowl, then halve the lime crosswise and squeeze its juice into the bowl. Toss to coat the onion in the juice then leave to quick-pickle while the potatoes roast.
Assemble the salad:
Add the roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, baby spinach, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and black pepper to the bowl with the onion and lime juice and toss to combine. Add the feta and toss gently again to combine.
Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 14g||18%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||21%|
|Total Carbohydrate 58g||21%|
|Dietary Fiber 16g||56%|
|Total Sugars 12g|
|Vitamin C 43mg||215%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|