A harmonious blend…
I am a complete sweet potato fiend. It seemed to happen overnight, too; one moment, sweet potatoes were a vegetable I paid $1.50 extra for when replacing french fries, the next, I couldn’t stop trying to find ways to incorporate them into everything I cooked. So naturally, when I first had this salad at a café in Dublin, it blew. My. Freaking. Mind. Seriously. Not least because they were extremely generous with the goat cheese, although that was certainly part of it. But the combination of warm roasted sweet potatoes, creamy, tangy goat cheese, sweet roasted red peppers, and perfectly dressed greens was other-worldly.
Have I mentioned how much I love complex salads? Because, in my mind, when all the elements of a salad come together to achieve that perfect, harmonious bite, the skies clear, the stars align, and angels sing. And trust me, I heard them singing at that café in Dublin. I took that as a sign that I should recreate it as soon as I returned home… so I did.
All in the roasted sweet potato
The roasted sweet potatoes really are the key to this salad. It’s taken many attempts to perfect cubed, roasted sweet potatoes; just finding the right cooking time and temperature required a great deal of trial and error. For the longest time, I always burned at least a quarter of the sweet potatoes on the tray. That said, I’m pretty confident in what I’ve come up with; I think I’ve found the right blend of spices, the right amount of oil, and (finally) the right cooking time and temp. If you’re like me, then you are constantly experimenting, which means your recipes are constantly evolving. However, these sweet potatoes have become a holy grail that I don’t dare touch.
Trust me, once you’ve combined these gorgeous sweet potatoes with roasted red peppers, mild green onions, and copious (I mean copious) goat’s cheese on a bed of lightly-dressed mixed greens, you’ll know you’ve hit heaven on earth (cue: angels singing).
Hint: Toss the lettuce, onions, roasted red peppers, with the dressing first, THEN add the goat cheese and roasted sweet potato (fresh out the oven) for the ultimate bite.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, in ~1in. cubes
- 1½ tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. oregano
- ⅛ tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- Mixed baby greens (about 6 cups)
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 4 roasted red peppers, sliced
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- 100-125g goat cheese (plain or herbed, as you like)
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice (~half a lemon)
- Salt & pepper
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 375°
- Spread sweet potato cubes onto a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil.
- In a small bowl, combine paprika, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Sprinkle spice blend on top of sweet potatoes and toss (don't be afraid to get your hands dirty).
- Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until fork tender and slightly browned (keep an eye on them to avoid burning!). This may take slightly more time if your oven is older and perhaps weaker.
- In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt, pepper, honey, and dijon. Pour olive oil slowly, while whisking constantly.
- In a large bowl, toss the baby greens, green onion, and roasted red peppers. Dress to your liking (you don't have to use all the dressing if you don't want to)
- Dish out the salad onto plates or bowls, top with tons of goat cheese and, finally, with the warm roasted sweet potatoes