Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cranberries, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

You know that feeling the week after the holiday season, or a vacation, when you just want a bowl full of veggies, because you haven’t had enough recently? Because I do! And salads like this are the answer. A bowl full of greens, but also sustenance — sweet potatoes, walnuts and goat cheese!

And, this salad is one even veg-haters will like (said it already, but: potatoes, cheese, nuts… I mean is it even a salad? You don’t have to tell them there’s — ehem - kale under all those potatoes).

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite roots. Their flavor is SO good, and they pair well with virtually anything. They are also super rich in beta carotene (dark orange sweet potatoes have more beta carotene than carrots!) and vitamins A and C. 🙌

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

The whole thing is then drizzled with an apple cider vinaigrette which has shallots and dijon mustard and even a little bit of honey — just the right balance of sweet and acid. It’s a pretty classic vinaigrette and one that you can use on just about any kind of salad or with any veggie (not just this salad!). (And if you don’t have shallots, it’s OK to skip them — but they really are good and worth the effort, so go ahead and just add them to your grocery list right now).

Lastly, if you’re into meal planning (I’ve never been that organized, but if you are, I’m in awe), you can make a big sheet pan of sweet potatoes ahead of time. Use some of them on this salad for light lunches throughout the week, and use the other half as a side with this Parma Rosa Chicken for dinner.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

P.S., If you like this salad combo, you may also like this Fresno Mint Broccoli Salad with Sweet Potato!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cranberries, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese

Published January 8, 2018 by
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Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 50 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, roughly diced
  • 1 tablespoon oil, such as avocado
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 cups kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles

  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Directions:

    1. Roast sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss potatoes in 1 tablespoon oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast in oven for 40-45 minutes, until sweet potatoes are soften all the way through and crisping on the edges. Set aside to cool.
    2. Prep the kale: place torn kale pieces in a salad bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice. Using your hands, massage the kale with the lemon juice until the kale is bright green (Why do this? It makes is softer, easier to digest, and nicer to eat).
    3. Top kale with sweet potatoes, cranberries, walnut pieces, and goat cheese crumbles.
    4. Make vinaigrette: combine all ingredients for vinaigrette in a jar and shake to combine. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, and serve.

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    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

    This post was written three times over, which is two times more than the norm. First I wrote about something so unremarkable I can’t even remember it. Later that night I read an article on climate change and it left me unsatisfied. Shouldn’t I write about something worth taking action on? Something that actually matters? So then I wrote the post again, and attempted to find that perfect balance you need to strike when writing a post like this — but I’m not sure I ever found it. So, fair warning: it is a bit of a rant. If you’d prefer to just scroll right on by and get the recipe, I won’t even know it.

    “Perfection is the enemy of good and done,” so let’s just get down to it.

    8,030. That’s how many days are in twenty-two years.

    It will be the year 2040. By then, I’ll be 49.

    How about you?

    By 2040, the International Panel on Climate Change predicts the planet will increase in temperature by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (you may already know this, it’s not the newest of news). It’s a minuscule difference, something that seems like nothing — barely discernible to the human body - but oh, it is most certainly not nothing.

    The impact of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit? “Worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs.”

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet
    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

    This blog has never touched on political issues before. That was intentional. And that’s not likely to change, aside from this one blog post. (TBH, it's absurd to me that keeping our planet live-able is even a political issue.) But I felt a need to say something, to spread the word, so here we are.

    Because in the end all of us — you, me, and 7.2 billion other people - have to face this together. And while it feels, in so many ways, out of our hands (I get it), it doesn’t mean we can’t try.

    I am a fairly environmentally conscious person but have never been an extremist by any definition, so I’ve been thinking about what I can do that still fits into my life. Tiny things that will add up. I already drive a hybrid car (though I could take the time to walk more places!), and we compost and recycle regularly. But what else?

    Here is my running list so far — things that have just been on my mind.

    • No food waste. I have already been much more aware of food waste and what it means to eat “root to stem” in the last few months. We are still eating crops harvested from the garden, but our first frost hit earlier this month so very few crops are still growing. Of course I knew this would happen, but going from growing most of our own food to figuring out how to preserve what we have has made me super aware of how the first homesteaders had their work cut out for them just to get through winter — and here I can just pop over to the store when our pile of squash runs out (or when we just don’t want to eat squash!!). So what? Eating local is on just about every “how to live an eco-friendly life” list,  but it’s just not realistic in every location. Our Farmer’s Market is only around in the fair weather months, and all I’ll be harvesting for the next six months is hearty greens. I’ll have to buy some food that was produced far, far away, and that’s just reality (at least for me, in the suburbs, where growing tons of grow beans, grain, or livestock isn’t realistic). But when I do, I’ll do my absolute best to make sure not a bit of it goes to waste. (Eh-hem, like that suuuupper crusty sourdough I made last week, which was basically a giant bread cracker. Strata, stuffing, bread crumbs... here we come!)

    • Buy less. In college, I had a self-enforced rule that when I wanted to buy something (new clothes, jewelry, etc), I would put it on a list and wait for a month. If I still wanted it in a month, then I really wanted it — it wasn’t just an impulse buy. Back then, the rule was put into place because of financial reasons (college student making minimum wage!), but it’s a really practical rule. It is easy to get just about anything delivered to your door overnight now, and sometimes our recycling bin fills up over the course of just a few days! It’s not just the packaging thought — the amount of energy that goes into getting something from point A to B is a lot!

    • Tame my wanderlust. I get this craving to see new places — to see the world. (Typical Millennial of me). But one round trip cross-country is a lot of greenhouse gases, and driving — or better yet carpooling - is more efficient in terms of CO2 emissions. I am very lucky to have travel a lot over the last twenty years, which I am so thankful for. Those trips molded my mind and made me who I am. But! There is no denying that all those plane tickets fuel an industry that’s putting of a lot of greenhouse gases. So, next time a case of wanderlust creeps up on me, I’m going to try to remember this paragraph, and go somewhere local instead. (Just this last weekend, we did a biking brewery tour of a near-by town and it was like being on vacation — so many places right here I’ve never seen!)

    • Support brands making eco-friendly decisions. I am just one person, but companies are made up of dozens (if not hundreds) of people, and are serving many many more. When they make eco-friendly decisions (like using recycled packaging, buying organic ingredients, or avoiding harsh chemicals) they make a big difference faster.

    • Collect and reuse water. For a long time in the state of Colorado, collecting rainwater was not permitted, but that changed two years ago. I’ve considered getting water barrels for watering my plants several times, but have never actually done it. Recently, I’ve been pondering what other water can be collected — for example, using water from rinsing dishes (avoiding harsh soaps) to water trees. A half baked plan, just something in my head.

    We’re also considering getting solar panels on our house, but that’s not so much a resolution as it is something we’ve always planned to do.

    That’s it for today. Just a rant and a resolution. And a breakfast!! Something that you can totally make from local ingredients almost no matter where you live, all year round.

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

    Published October 18, 2018 by
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    Serves: 3   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 packed cup kale, chopped small
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles

  • Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion, minced garlic, and cubed sweet potato to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
    2. Add chopped kale, and cook for 2 minutes, allowing greens to wilt.
    3. Crack the eggs into the pan. Cook for 3-5 more minutes, until egg whites are cooked through and yolks are cooked to your preferences. Top with crumbled goat cheese, and season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve hot.

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet
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    Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Pecans

    Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale

    Two co-workers were talking about the best kale salad ever at this fancy restaurant downtown — Oak. They both noted that it was most memorable part of their meal. The salad. Can you believe that?!

    That conversation got my mind going, and somehow I invented a story in my head about that salad. In my mind, it had pecans, dates, and even bacon. It wasn’t just kale, there were other greens to lighten it up. And the dressing was tangy and sweet but not overpowering. I thought about that salad so much that I went ahead and made it (because why not?).

    Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale
    Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale

    It wasn’t until I went to write this post that I remembered the original inspiration (Oak’s famous salad), and figured I should probably look up what their kale salad actually contains. Boy was I off the mark!

    Shaved Apple & Kale Salad. Grana Padano, togarashi, candied almonds.

    Say what??! Kale, apples, cheese, candied nuts, you have me on the edge of my seat! But then, Togarashi?!

    I guess I have to just go try the original. Until then, I’m going to pretend my own kale salad is just as famous.

    Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale

    Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Pecans

    Published October 4, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



    Ingredients:


    For the Salad:
  • 4 kale leaves, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup romaine, shredded
  • 1 cup radicchio, shredded
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, cooled and chopped in bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Directions:

    1. Place kale in a salad bowl. Drizzle lightly with oil and a sprinkle of salt. Using your hands, “massage” the kale, rubbing the leaves with your hands until they are bright green and tender. This will make them easier to eat.
    2. Add shredded romaine and radicchio to the bowl, and toss to combine. Add bacon, dates, and pecans.
    3. Combine first four ingredients for vinaigrette in a small jar and shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salad to your tastes and toss. Serve.

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