Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

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Salad assembled but before dressing. Don’t dress it until you are ready to serve. Such pretty colors!

It’s been rather warm here in Colorado. No snow in Boulder at all. Temps in the 60’s and 70’s. One good thing: my lettuce is still chugging along. Usually, we’d have had a hard freeze by now that freezes the leaves solid.

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Chicken wire essential to deter my dog, who loves lettuce!

But, it’s still fall after all. That means that thoughts (and produce sales) are featuring veggies like sweet potatoes. Who doesn’t dream of sweet potatoes this time of year? And turkey! Sorry, I love Thanksgiving food.

This salad combines some classic fall flavors: sweet potatoes, cranberries, and orange. Compared to so many Thanksgiving sweet potato dishes, this is light and refreshing. Now, I’m not saying I won’t make rich and sweet sweet potatoes this year. But, in a year where summer is hanging on until past Election Day, this is spot on.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
(serves 6-8)

2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
leaves from 3 6″ sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
leaves 3 6″ sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 cup cranberries, rinsed and dried (see Note)
3/4 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 orange, zest and juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 medium shallot, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups lettuce or arugula (or a mix), washed and dried

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into large dice. Toss with 2 Tablespoons olive oil, generous sprinkle of salt, light sprinkle of black pepper, and chopped herbs. Put on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until potatoes are browning at the edges and tender.

While the potatoes are roasting, place the cranberries in a small baking pan and drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. When you take them out of the oven, sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon sugar. Set aside.

When the potatoes are cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to let them cool while you make the dressing.

Place the sherry vinegar, zest and juice of the orange, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper into a blender jar. Blend for a few seconds to mix. With the blender running, slowly add the remaining 5 Tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallot and parsley and mix with a spoon. (If you blend it, the parsley will turn the dressing green. Which isn’t the end of the world but it’s prettier if it’s orange.)

To assemble, place the lettuce in the bottom of a large bowl. Pour on the sweet potatoes and distribute over lettuce. Do the same for the cranberries. When you are ready to eat, pour over the dressing and toss it all together.

Note: You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. If using frozen, thaw them before roasting.

Adapted from a recipe in Sweet Potatoes by April McGreger, The University of North Carolina Press, 2014.

 

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Beet and Carrot Salad with Coriander-Sesame Salt

I pulled this recipe off of Epicurious.com. It’s fantastic. Really, really delicious. What a great way to get your vegetables. Because these are hardy vegetables, it keeps quite nicely for a few days in the fridge too. The beets turn the carrots red, but who really cares?

Beet and Carrot Salad with Coriander-Sesame Salt

The Zucchini Glut Continues…

These are zucchini, a French variety called Ronde de Nice. It’s my absolute favorite.

Oh, the glut of zucchini continues! I have one zucchini plant. As you can see from the photo, I pick them when they are pretty small. And still…there are way too many of them!!! Talk about prolific.

Inspired by this video by Jamie Oliver (filmed in less-than-ideal grilling weather), I switched up my usual zucchini grilling method. And, I have to say Jamie is right. Grill them dry, no oil at all, and they seem to take on more smokey, grilled notes. You dress them with oil after they are grilled, which gives you better options for oil. You can choose any number of delicious but fragile oils, such as walnut, hazelnut, almond, or fine extra virgin olive. As Jamie would say, “Brilliant!”

Grilled zucchini

There isn’t a recipe here. More a basic process:

  1. Slice the vegetables about ½” thick. Much thicker and they take too long to cook. Much thinner and they dry out.
  2. Grill over high heat with no oil until you get nice grill marks on both sides.
  3. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Dress with a tasty oil and season with salt and black pepper.
  5. Add other seasonings as desired. I tossed in some sliced grilled cherry peppers and some lemon thyme. Basil certainly is another great choice this time of year.

Yucatan Cabbage-Pineapple Salad

A delicious tropical twist on cole slaw – it’s from a great cookbook with a punny name: Lettuce in Your Kitchen by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby. Lots of fun, bold salads in here. I doctored their recipe up a little and cut it down. They must be very hungry guys because their recipe, that is supposed to serve 4-6,  can easily serve 10. Unless you are serving this for a party, you really don’t need that much salad. You’ll feel like you are eating it forever!

Yucatan Cabbage-Pineapple Salad
(serves 6)

Dressing
1⁄2 cup Pineapple Juice
1⁄3 cup Olive Oil
2 tbl Fresh Lime Juice, about 1 lime
1 tbl Chipotle Peppers In Adobo, minced (if you are a chilehead, add 2 tbl)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Salt And Black Pepper

Salad
1 medium Mango, peeled and cut into 3⁄4″ dice
1⁄2 small Pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 3⁄4″ dice
1⁄2 small Green Cabbage, cored and cut into thin strips
1⁄4 cup Chopped Cilantro
1 medium Red Bell Pepper, seeded and cut strips
Salt And Coarsely Ground Black Pepper

In a small saucepan, bring the pineapple juice to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil until juice is reduced to a thick syrup. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Combine pineapple syrup with remaining dressing ingredients and mix well.

In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients. Give the dressing another stir and add to salad. Toss to dress. Season generously with salt and black pepper.

Link to PDF of Yucatan Cabbage-Pineapple Salad