Full transparency: I’m not exactly sure where this recipe comes from. It’s possible I saw it prepared on TV somewhere or maybe it was in one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks – so I won’t take any credit for this one whatsoever!

Regardless of its origins, it popped into my head a couple of months ago thinking about a different way to use sweet potatoes. This roasted sweet potato salad is a great way to take the standard summertime staple and give it a flavour overhaul to carry through fall and winter.

Potato salad definitely ranks high on the nostalgia meter. My Belgian grandmother made hers with a mayonnaise / hard boiled egg dressing flecked with pieces of Black Forest ham; and my Italian grandmother dressed hers with olive oil, red wine vinegar, green onions and fresh Italian parsley. Both are delicious, cool and comforting in their carby goodness and made an equal appearance in my house growing up.

One summer during my university years I snagged a job at Keybrand Foods in Kitchener, the factory that manufactures all of the prepared salads for brands like KFC and a few grocery chains. Over the span of that summer, I was the lead on the potato salad line making 5 tonnes of the stuff every day – almost 300 tonnes by the end of that gig. Needless to say I sometimes have flashbacks when I see regular potato salad.

This sweet potato switch-up takes it to a new level flavoured with sage, cumin and orange and works equally well served warm, at room temperature or chilled.

TIP: any way you choose to serve this salad, dress the potatoes while still warm so they have a chance to absorb the flavours.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, washed with peels on
  • 6 – 8 sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing

  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 scallions
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or aluminum foil sprayed lightly with cooking spray
  3. Cut the sweet potatoes into ½-inch slices, then cut each slice into ½-inch chunks)
  4. In a large bowl, toss potatoes in olive oil, sage, cumin, salt and pepper
  5. Transfer to baking sheet and roast for 45 – 60 minutes. Give them a toss at the 30-minute mark so they cook evenly. Test for doneness – they should be cooked through and still a bit on the firm side, not mushy
  6. While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside so the raisins have a chance to plump
  7. When the potatoes are cooked, let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet and pick out the sage leaves. Then transfer to a large bowl and toss with the dressing while still warm so they soak up the flavour.
  8. Serve immediately warm, at room temperature or chilled.

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