Sweet Potato Salad with Toasted Pecans and Dried Cranberries

When I prematurely (and optimistically) launched Salad Month last week, the weather was warmer and I had visions of enjoying various crispy cold salads out on our deck throughout the month of May. By the time Sunday rolled around, however, it was cold, rainy and dank outside again, and only warm salads were beckoning to me. So maybe this explains why I chose such a carby, autumnal salad for this meal instead of something more seasonally appropriate. Having said that, one of the great things about this salad is that it would be delicious served cold throughout the summer months, on a picnic or by a pool, but it also worked well slightly warm or at room temperature. Lots of options. In fact, it even tasted kind of Thankgiving-y to me since we typically make a sweet potato dish with toasted pecans at that time of year and this was a lighter, less creamy, less rich-and-decadent choice. And packed with beta-carotene and vitamin C, it's a nice variation on any traditional potato salad. All five of us enjoyed the mix of vegetables with the crunchy nuts and chewy berries.

Besides getting its zippy flavour from the chipotle pepper in the dressing, the main appeal of this dish was its prettiness. Beautiful little jewels of cranberries peeked out from the caramelized sweet potato chunks and dark pecans, all freshened up with the punch of parsley. Very colourful and captivating. It even kept its beauty, banished to the fridge for leftovers, over the next couple of days. No easy feat for any salad.

makes 6 servings

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

2 tbsp finely diced sweet onion

2 tbsp chopped toasted pecans

2 tbsp dried cranberries

1 tbsp minced fresh parsley


2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp ground chipotle pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place diced sweet potatoes on a baking tray and toss with the olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or just until fork tender. (Don't overcook or the salad will be mushy.) Allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Place potatoes in a medium bowl and stir in the onions, pecans, cranberries and parsley. Drizzle with the dressing and gently stir until coated. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

Rest of the week

April 25 Penne with caramelized onions, feta and marinara sauce, and tossed salad

April 26 Ate out at Vivetha

May 1 Pork tenderloin stuffed with mushrooms, sweet potato salad, tossed salad with roasted peppers