16 November 2013

It's time again for The Salad Bar, hosted by Wendy of The Weekend Gourmet.  

This month's theme was sweet potatoes.  I knew that I didn't want to do a "potato salad" kind of salad, a picnic-y type salad with mayo.  I was thinking more of a tossed sweet potato salad with some kind of vinaigrette.  Something with a fall flair to it.  I found the perfect one at The Daily Meal.  I changed it up to make it a little more savory.  Here's my version.

Autumn Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Orange Vinaigrette

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½” cubes 
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar 
2 tbsp orange juice 
2 tbsp maple syrup 
1 tsp Dijon mustard 
¾ tsp salt 
½ tsp cardamom
2 tbsp canola oil 
2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted 
1 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Place the sweet potatoes in small saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook at a low boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Spread them out on a clean dish towel to dry.

Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, maple syrup, mustard, salt, and cardamom in a bowl. Slowly whisk in canola oil until well blended. Set aside.

Add the bacon, pecans, and goat cheese to the sweet potatoes. Toss gently with the dressing. Serve warm or chilled.

Makes 1 main dish serving.

I just love the flavors in this salad!  The sweet potatoes provide sweetness, of course, and beautiful color.  The bacon gives it a lovely salty savory-ness.  The pecans give it great crunch, which is always important in a salad, and the goat cheese gives it contrast of color and a lovely tangy creaminess.  And the vinaigrette is perfect for tying it all together.  The original recipe called for cinnamon, but the cardamom is so perfect in it.  Orange and cardamom is a great combo (in fact, those are the assigned ingredients for this month's Improv Challenge, so come back on Thursday to see another great recipe featuring orange and cardamom!).  You can't really see the dressing in the photo because it is thin and mostly sat at the bottom of the bowl, but if you look closely you can see some little brown flecks on the sweet potatoes; that's the cardamom in the dressing.

The original recipe called for raw apples and dried cranberries.  I thought that would just be too much sweet flavors all together.  It's much better balanced out by some savory flavors.

I ate this salad for lunch the other day.  It was the perfect amount.  It would probably serve two as a side dish.

Be sure to check out all the other great sweet potato salad recipes below and don't forget that I am posting a great Thanksgiving dish every day next week starting on Monday!

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  1. Now I know what to do with the goat cheese and bacon I have on hand from my planned salad...yum!