Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Sweet Potato Salad with Pepita Dressing

This sweet potato salad with pepita dressing was so good! Right up my alley, too, what with roasted sweet potatoes, pepitas and avocados! You could also add cheese such as cotija or feta (just make sure it’s lactose-free, and obviously the dish is no longer vegan at that point). I didn’t bother presenting the whole thing on a tray, I just plated it right away, and used a second avocado the next day. It was a great lunch – the Little Prince ate a few sweet potatoes, while the Fox gobbled up the avocado, but I liked all of it.

2 lbs (about 4 medium) sweet potatoes
6 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), raw or roasted
1 tsp. mild (Aleppo-style) or hot red pepper flakes, or less to taste
2 limes
1 15-oz can black beans
1 large avocado
1 big handful fresh cilantro
4 thin scallions
1 cup crumbled lactose-free cotija (optional)

Heat oven to 400 °F. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, and then into ¼-inch half-moon slices. Coat a large baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil (I personally prefer to line my baking sheet with tin foil and toss the potatoes with oil and seasonings before putting them on the sheet). Scatter sweet potatoes over and toss them with another 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, and many grinds of black pepper. Spread them evenly in pan; they won’t fit in one single layer at this point and that’s fine as they shrink as they roast. Roast for 20 minutes, until browned underneath, then flip potatoes and roast another 15 minutes, until all of the pieces are tender and have brown spots.

While potatoes roast, combine pepitas with 3 tablespoons olive oil (or a bit less) in a small skillet and warm over medium heat. Let pepitas sizzle in oil for 1 to 2 minutes but keep a close eye on them; raw ones may be able to handle more time, but already roasted ones will need less to get one shade darker. Remove from heat, season with salt to taste plus red pepper flakes. Set aside until potatoes are ready.

Drain and rinse your black beans. Halve avocado and remove the pit. Leave halves in their skin and cut avocado into thin slices, not cutting through the skin. Roughly chop cilantro, thinly slice scallions (white and green), and halve your limes, cutting one further into wedges. Squeeze one lime wedge over avocado to keep it from browning.

When potatoes are ready, immediately spoon pepitas and oil over potatoes, and squeeze the juice of your lime halves over. Scatter tray with black beans. Use a spoon to remove avocado slices in sections and fan them out over the tray. Sprinkle pan with cilantro and scallions, plus cotija if you’re using it. Season well with additional salt and pepper.

Scoop sections of potatoes and their toppings onto plates, serve with extra lime wedges, and eat right away. (For leftovers, I recommend taking the salad out of the fridge and letting it come close to room temperature before chopping up another avocado and assembling everything.)

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