Sweet potatoes aren’t just for fall and winter holiday fare. They’re available year-round so why not enjoy this super food in a summer salad! This Sweet Potato Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette is a ridiculously delicious, low-fat alternative to mayo versions. It also happens to be vegan and gluten-free. 🙂
Sweet Potato Salad
Sweet potatoes rank among the highest of favorite veggies in our house. In addition to their awesome taste, they’re chock-full of fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and of course, beta-carotene. When Elise was a baby, she ate so many mashed sweet potatoes (and carrots), her nose was tinged orange. Now that she’s 12, I’ve been banned from including a photo (bummer!).
So, not only do sweet potatoes taste great and are great for you, they’re so darn versatile! Simply roast, whip them into a casserole, make breakfast hashes, stews, the list goes on. This salad combo has great taste, texture, and color. Tender, roasted sweet potatoes take the lead role and are fully supported by lightly sautéed shallots and bell pepper, toasted walnuts, golden raisins, green onions, and fresh parsley.
To begin, soldier the sweet potato wedges on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Simply coat with olive oil, and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until just fork tender so they maintain their shape when cubed and mixed with the rest of the cast.
While the sweet potatoes get happy in the oven, toast the walnuts in a dry skillet until fragrant. This accentuates their flavor and adds subtle crunch and texture to the salad. Next, sauté the shallots and diced pepper until they begin to soften and release their sugars. Like the sweet potatoes, you don’t want them to overcook and become mushy. The gang is now ready to unite with the vinaigrette!
Blood Orange Vinaigrette
This is an easy, one bowl dressing. It has the familiar spice trio often seen in sweet potato and pumpkin pies, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg . Blood orange, lemon, and apple cider vinegar blend beautifully for that just-right, sweet acidity. It’s easy to see how blood oranges got their name once you cut one in half. They display a deep, crimson flesh with a rind often splattered with marks resembling blood vessels. In case you’re wondering why I decided to make a vinaigrette using this native Mediterranean fruit instead of just pouring regular oj from a carton…
- Blood oranges have a distinct sweet flavor with overtones of raspberries and strawberries, much different than the more acidic taste of a regular navel orange.
- The vinaigrette gets a deeper hue from the ruby red blood orange juice. Whereas, the navel’s juice is the familiar light orange.
- All orange varieties are high in vitamin C. Blood oranges, however, contain up to 40 percent more than navels and other sweet oranges. We’re using a small amount here, but still getting a little more nutritional bang for our buck.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, and you have one glistening, healthy, and oh-so satisfying summer comfort food. Round out the menu with other delicious vegan or gluten-free options like our BBQ Vegan Black Bean Burgers, Caramelized Salmon, or Mocha-Rubbed Sirloins. Enjoy!!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon blood orange zest
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about ¾ cup)
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Place sweet potatoes on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover. Using tongs or a spatula, turn sweet potatoes to other side, and bake uncovered until tender and light brown, about another 15 minutes. Let potatoes cool and cut into ¾-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to large bowl with sweet potatoes. To same skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and bell pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Scrape into bowl with sweet potatoes and walnuts. Add green onions and raisins. Pour dressing over. Toss gently to blend. Add parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temp. (Salad can remain at room temperature up to 2 hours before serving.)