One of my overall strategies in the kitchen is cooking by color. Color in food indicates its nutrients; tomatoes and bell peppers signal lycopene; dark leafy greens declare a rich source of antioxidants. Choosing ingredients with varied colors can balance your dish, and we all know that you eat with your eyes first.
I saw Mark Bittman make this bold and flavorful sweet potato salad on his NYTimes podcast and made it the next day. The prep is extremely simple. Roasting the sweet potatoes enhances their flavor and creates a crust so they won’t fall apart in the vinaigrette. Canned black beans add fiber and protein. A spicy, acidic jalapeno vinaigrette comes together in a flash in the food processor. The rainbow of colors in this dish manifests the stellar health benefits in the bowl.
Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 small red onion, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can of black beans, rinsed and well-drained
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 small garlic clove
2 tblsp lime juice
salt and pepper
4 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Toss the sweet potatoes and red onion with 1 tblsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until tender (but not mushy), about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper and 3 tblsp olive oil. Puree until well-combined.
3. Let the sweet potatoes and onion cool slightly, then toss together with bell pepper, black beans, cilantro and the vinaigrette. Serve warm or at room temperature.