By Heidi Sutton
Bright, beautiful spring days often call for fresh, delicious meals that give you energy to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re hitting the pavement for a run, powering up for an afternoon at the office or picnicking with loved ones, nutrition and flavor can go hand in hand with an easy-to-make salad.
For your next springtime meal, lean on a versatile ingredient like sweet potatoes as a key ingredient in this Sweet Potato Power Salad, a light yet filling solution that can feed the whole family. Easy to add to a variety of recipes to enhance flavor and nutrition content, sweet potatoes can be used in sweet, savory, simple or elevated recipes. Plus, they can be prepared on the stove, baked, microwaved, grilled or slow cooked to fit your favorite dishes as a natural sweetener without added sugar.
According to the American Diabetes Association, sweet potatoes are a “diabetes superfood” because they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, all of which are good for overall health. They are also an ideal option for athletes before and after exercising with complex carbohydrates that provide sustained energy.
Sweet Potato Power Salad
Recipe courtesy of Carol Brown on behalf of the North Carolina Sweetpotato Commission
YIELD: Makes 6 servings
4 to 6 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons, plus 1 tablespoon, olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 bunches curly kale, rinsed and chopped (7-8 cups)
1/2 large lemon, juice only
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 large avocado, pitted and diced
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup feta or goat cheese
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic or white vinegar
Preheat oven to 375 F. Place sweet potatoes in large bowl. In small bowl, lightly whisk 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Toss on sweet potatoes and place potatoes on large sheet pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until tender, flipping once during baking.
Place chopped kale in large bowl. In small bowl, lightly whisk remaining olive oil, remaining salt and lemon juice. Pour over kale and mix for about 1 minute.
To make dressing: In bowl, whisk syrup, olive oil and vinegar.
In bowl with kale, add garbanzo beans, avocado, cranberries, almonds, red onion, sweet potatoes and cheese. Toss with salad dressing and serve.
Note: Sweet potatoes can be baked and refrigerated 1 day in advance.
See video here.