My colorful sweet potato salad is filled with lots of sweet, savory and crunchy morsels such as dried cranberries, blue cheese, crumbled bacon, and pecans, all tossed together with a warm bacon vinaigrette. It's a uniquely scrumptious side dish to offer up during the autumn season, and even a delicious addition to your holiday spread!
Sweet Potato Salad, a Sweet & Savory Side Dish
Hearty potato salads, loaded to the brim with tasty tidbits, have always been the type of side dish that I really enjoy preparing and tucking into.
During the fall, one of my favorite potato salad recipes to whip up is a sweet potato salad, one that makes use of freshly-roasted and tender sweet potatoes. They're the perfect spud to use when I really want to make a colorful impression for a light meal or even a holiday spread!
Warm out of the oven, the cubes of sweet potato take on a sweet and savory flair when I toss them together with some wonderful tidbits such as crumbles of blue cheese, sweet dried cranberries, crunchy pecans, smokey bits of crisp bacon, and a warm bacon vinaigrette for a little pop of savory tanginess.
Each bite of this unique and easy side dish has a hint of crunch, sweetness, saltiness and freshness, and it's a terrifically tasty way to dress up some roasted sweet potatoes.
How to Make a Flavorful Sweet Potato Salad
Roasting off peeled sweet potatoes that have been cut into small cubes is a great way to bring out their natural sweetness. That little hint of caramelization around the edges lends a bit of extra texture as well, of course, which is always good eats!
For this sweet potato salad recipe I chose ingredients that would provide a little surprise in each bite, both texturally and flavor-wise.
Dried cranberries tend to highlight the sweetness in this salad, and bring some tart chewiness; and the blue cheese crumbles add a touch of creamy, salty pungency which pairs delectably with the crispy bacon and the warm bacon vinaigrette.
I like to toss in some toasted pecans for nutty crunch as well, and the touch of chopped parsley brings some freshness and an extra pop of color.
Here's a peek at my sweet potato salad recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To begin, I roast my cubed sweet potatoes until tender and caramelized, then add those to a large bowl.
- While the sweet potatoes roast, I add my bacon to a large pan, and cook until crisp. I reserve a couple of tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the pan, and allow the bacon to cool before chopping
- Next, I prepare my warm bacon vinaigrette to have on hand, ready to be gently heated.
- To prepare the sweet potato salad, I add the remainder of the ingredients to the roasted sweet potatoes in the bowl, gently heat my bacon vinaigrette in a small pan for about 30 seconds, then pour that over and toss everything together to coat.
- To serve, I spoon the salad into a serving bowl or onto a platter, garnish with chopped parsley and serve warm or room temp.
Sweet Potato Salad
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 542 calories
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Sweet Potato Salad Ingredients:
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- Olive or avocado oil
- Black pepper
- 12 ounces (about 10 strips) apple-smoked bacon, cooked crisp and chopped, with 2 tablespoons of the drippings reserved
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup blue cheese crumbles
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm Bacon Vinaigrette Ingredients:
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons, heaping, honey
- 2 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup olive or avocado oil
- Preheat oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Toss the cubed sweet potatoes with a couple of drizzles of the oil, plus a couple of pinches of salt and black pepper, and roast for about 20 minutes, or until tender; allow to cool slightly until warm.
- While the sweet potatoes roast, prepare the warm bacon vinaigrette: place a large skillet over high heat and add in the strips of bacon; once crisped, remove the bacon from the pan, reserving 2 tablespoons of the drippings, and allow the bacon to cool before chopping it.
- Add all of the ingredients up to and including the black pepper, along with the reserved bacon drippings, to the bowl of a food processor, and process until blended; with the processor running, drizzle in the olive or avocado oil until complete blended and emulsified.
- When ready to serve, pour the vinaigrette into a small sauce pan and very gently heat for about 30 seconds or so, just until warm.
- To assemble the salad, turn the roasted sweet potatoes out into a large bowl, and add in the chopped bacon, cranberries, blue cheese, pecans and parsley; drizzle in some of the warm bacon vinaigrette to taste (you will have some leftover), toss to coat, and check to see if any additional salt and pepper is needed.
- Serve warm or room temp.
Tips & Tidbits for My Sweet Potato Salad:
- Prepare ahead for easy sweet potato salad: Certain elements of this recipe can be prepped ahead of time to expedite the process. You can crisp up the bacon (reserving some of the bacon drippings), then chop that and prep the bacon vinaigrette. (Keep the vinaigrette in the fridge and then gently heat it before serving.) You can also prepare the cranberries, blue cheese and pecans, and have those portioned out. Then, simply roast the sweet potatoes and toss with the ingredients before serving.
- Tasty substitutions: You can sub dried cherries for the cranberries, walnuts for the pecans, goat cheese or feta for the blue cheese, and even omit the bacon if you desire. If you do this, then proceed with the vinaigrette without using the bacon drippings, substituting in extra olive oil instead.
- Reheat the leftovers: Any leftovers of this salad can very gently be reheated in a toaster oven for convenience. Just place onto a foil or parchment paper-lined tray, and heat at 350° for about 10-15 minutes.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2014, and has been updated with even more love!