Looking for a delicious salad that’s sure to wow guests at your next gathering? My sweet potato salad is here to steal the show! Packed with flavor, color, and incredible taste, this salad combines roasted sweet potatoes, refreshing greens, and a mouthwatering dressing.
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Don’t make a boring salad for the holidays! Instead, try this roasted sweet potato salad recipe paired with arugula and colorful toppings for a stunning presentation. Drizzled with a tangy maple mustard dressing, it will undoubtedly be a feast favorite.
I typically make a sweet potato casserole as a side dish for holiday gatherings. However, this vegetable and fruit-packed salad is a great lighter option. The potatoes are cut into small pieces, then roasted until fork-tender and caramelized on the surface. It’s easy to meal prep so that you can just assemble the day you plan to serve.
- Potatoes: Use orange-fleshed sweet potatoes like Jewel, Red Garnet, or Beauregard for the most candied taste and moist texture. White-fleshed sweet potatoes can be used but will have a drier texture.
- Lettuce: I like to use arugula for wispy greens that hold up well to the dressing. They also have a pleasant peppery taste.
- Fruit: To add crispness to the salad, dice or slice up tart Granny Smith apples. Dried cranberries add a burst of flavor and a pleasant chew.
- Nuts: Pecans add a crunch and pair well with the caramelized taste of the potatoes.
- Cheese: Goat cheese adds a creamy tanginess. Feta is a good substitute but will have a more intense aroma and flavor.
- Seasoning: The sweet potatoes are roasted with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil to enhance their sugary and savory profile.
- Dressing: The maple mustard dressing is a classic vinaigrette. It’s made with apple cider vinegar, shallots, and olive oil.
Prepare the potatoes
Wash the surface well with cool water. If you prefer, feel free to roast them with the skin on for extra fiber and a contrast in texture. Sweet potatoes peeled will yield a softer bite and cook a little quicker.
Slice them into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Any piece larger than 1 inch, cut into halves or quarters for faster cooking and easier eating.
Season the potatoes
Season and roast the potatoes on the same large-rimmed baking sheet. Lightly grease the pan to prevent sticking. Toss the cut pieces with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
I like using dried garlic because it doesn’t burn like freshly minced. Spread them on the sheet pan in a single layer. This ensures maximum contact with the hot pan for better crust formation and browning.
Roast the potatoes
Roast the seasoned sweet potatoes in a preheated oven set at 375ºF (191ºC). This will efficiently cook the tough vegetables in just 30 minutes. The temperature is high enough to carmelize the natural sugars as they contact the hot pan without burning them.
I like to let the potatoes gently cool on the sheet pan. It enhances the crisp crust as it dries and makes a more flavorful surface. While the potatoes cool, make the dressing.
Make the dressing
To make an emulsified vinaigrette, gradually whisk in the olive oil. Combine the apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Add the olive oil to the bowl in a slow and steady stream, constantly whisking to break up the droplets. As more oil is whisked in the dressing will thicken up.
Assemble the salad
Use a large bowl to assemble the salad. Grab all of the sweet potato salad ingredients and get ready to top! Add the arugula as the base, followed by the cooled sweet potatoes, diced apples, pecans, cranberries, and goat cheese. Drizzle the salad dressing on top. You’ll have extra to serve on the side.
You can give the salad a toss, or leave it as is for a pretty presentation. This is a stunning salad to bring to parties and potlucks. Just wait to add the dressing until you are ready to serve so the arugula doesn’t get wilted.
Now that you know how to make sweet potato salad, there are numerous ways to customize the dish. Try these delicious options:
- Herbs: Roast the potatoes tossed with fresh or dried thyme, rosemary, Herbs de Provence, or Italian seasoning. Alternatively, add chives, parsley, dill, or tarragon to the dressing.
- Spices: To enhance the sweet taste of the potatoes, add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, or ginger before roasting. For a fall-inspired flavor, I like to use pre-blended pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice. Add smoked paprika, onion powder, cumin, coriander, or chili powder for a savory or spicy taste.
- Vegetables: Cook the sweet potatoes with zucchini, carrots, turnips, butternut squash, sliced or diced red onions. You can even add pickled onions for a zingy flavor and crunch.
- Dressing: Swap the apple cider vinegar for red wine or white wine vinegar. Add a citrusy note with freshly squeezed lemon juice, lime, or orange.
- Cheese: Add a crumbled feta, gorgonzola, or blue cheese. Dice up cheddar, gruyere, or gouda. Add shaved pieces of parmesan for a nutty taste.
- Nuts and Seeds: Add chopped walnuts, almonds, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds. Candied pecans or walnuts are always a favorite!
- Fruit: Instead of sour Granny Smith apples, add sweeter Fuji or Honeycrisp. Pears are a great fall substitution. Dried golden raisins, raisins, cherries, or apricots add a nice chew and sweetness.
- Greens: Spinach or chopped kale are great substitutes. You can even skip the greens altogether!
- Roast turkey or spatchcock turkey
- Slow cooker turkey breast
- Green beans with bacon
- Mashed potatoes
- Classic stuffing or slow cooker stuffing
- Buttermilk biscuits
- Cornbread muffins
Frequently asked questions
The sweet potatoes do not have to be peeled before roasting. The skin adds extra fiber and texture. Scrub and clean the surface well to remove any dirt. It may take a few additional minutes to roast.
Canned sweet potatoes can be used. However, they will have a much softer texture. Be gentle when tossing the salad ingredients together. Most are sold in syrup, so it will be much sweeter. Drain and lightly pat dry the surface as needed.
The sweet potatoes and dressing can be made and refrigerated 2 days before assembling. Whisk the dressing to emulsify the mixture if the oil and vinegar separate as it sits. Wait to add the dressing until right before serving.
Roast sweet potatoes for the best taste
For the best candied flavor, roast the sweet potatoes at 375ºF (191ºC). The dry heat softens the flesh while carmelizing the sugars on the surface. The process only takes 30 minutes of hands-off cooking. Alternatively, try boiling sweet potatoes or steaming. However, the moist heat tends to dilute the sugary taste and has less texture contrast compared to roasting. A better alternative is grilled sweet potatoes for a smokey taste.
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Sweet Potato Salad
Sweet Potato Salad
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or honey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- Heat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the center position. Heat the oven to 375ºF (191ºC).
- Prepare the Potatoes – Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Trim off the ends, and cut them into ½" thick rounds. Cut large rounds into halves or quarters to create smaller pieces.
- Prepare the Pan – Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil, spreading it into an even layer to prevent sticking.
- Toss with Seasonings – Add the potatoes to the pan and evenly coat them with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Spread in a single layer.
- Roast – Roast until the potatoes are fork-tender and golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool the potatoes on the sheet pan.
- Make the Dressing – In a medium bowl, whisk the apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, continuously whisking until a thickened dressing is formed. Add the minced shallots and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble the Salad – In a large serving bowl add the arugula, sweet potatoes, apples, pecans, cranberries, and crumbled goat cheese. Serve with the dressing on the side, or drizzle on top and toss with enough dressing to lightly coat.
- Recipe Yield: About 8 cups
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Dressing Yield: About ¾ cups
- Make Ahead: Potatoes and dressing can be prepared and refrigerated 2 days before serving.
- Storing: Refrigerate salad and dressing in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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