When I hear “potato salad,” I think of my mom’s amazing potato salad – a true summer staple growing up – that I would eat bowl after bowl of, while sitting outside, toes in the grass, after spending all afternoon running through the sprinkler/reading a book in my fave climbing tree/riding bikes with my friends/insert your fave childhood summer activity here. It’s one of those dishes that you taste and are transported down memory lane. I wanted to wrap all of that joyful, childhood summery-ness (yes, not a word) and create a flavorful, cheerful and modern potato salad that is also vegan, could be eaten as a meal, and was not just relegated to side-dish status. I stumbled across a dish by Mark Bittman in his cookbook How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (also known as one of my Kitchen Bibles, I am the biggest MB fangirl ever) called Spicy Sweet Potato Salad, which I have based my dish off of, with a few key changes – for instance, I’ve substituted black beans for raisins in order to increase the protein in the dish and adding a little more savory flavor to the mix. The resulting dish is so good it is sure to become a summer staple, and incidentally, it is probably the most bomb vegan taco filling EVER. Without further ado…
Best Ever Sweet Potato Salad
4 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and quartered
2 teaspoons ground cumin (plus more to taste)
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
4 – 5 scallions, sliced
1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves (optional)
1 to 2 fresh minced chiles (jalapeño, Thai, serrano, or habanero), or to taste
1 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
Step One: Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into bite-size pieces. Put them on a baking sheet, drizzle with two tablespoons of the oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast, turning occasionally, until crisp and brown outside and just tender inside, about 30 minutes. Remove and keep on the pan until ready to dress.
Step Two: Whip up the dressing while the potatoes cook. Pour the remaining six tablespoons of oil in a blender, along with the vinegar, bell pepper, cumin, and zest. Purée until smooth.
Step Three: Combine! Toss the warm potatoes with the scallion, chiles, black beans and mint, if you’re using it (I didn’t use any mint and I thought it tasted fantastic without). Add 1/2 cup of the dressing, and toss to coat, adding more if necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Step Four: Enjoy!! 😀 Serve as a side dish, a taco filling, or just put it in a bowl and nom away.
This dish was unreal. I made my friend K come over and taste it because it was so good I HAD to share. I ate it with a side of sauteed baby spinach (it was actually teenager spinach because it was marked as “baby” but somewhere between actual baby spinach and regular spinach) and it was the perfect summer dish. I have a ton of leftover dressing, too, and I’m planning on tossing tater tots in the remaining dressing and serving with tempeh bacon for brunch this weekend (I am so beyond stoked for tempeh bacon, I can’t even tell you!!!!). This one is definitely worth trying. I’ll be remaking it for a Fourth of July BBQ – yassss!
I hope you guys are having a great week so far and a fantastic day today!! 😀