I volunteer with an urban farm down the street from me. Have I mentioned? It’s an amazing farm. Set on 1/3 acre of land, on a lot where a business used to be, on a corner where there used to be an open drug market and gang wars, is a charming, quirky, beautiful, farm.
Whitelock Community Farm started as an idea from a bunch of giddy green people (myself included) in my neighborhood last year. We all wanted to beautify this area as well as share our passion for good food with the neighborhood. The idea is to provide fresh vegetables at an affordable price to neighbors who don’t have easy access to a grocery store. Last year was a bit wobbly; this year has exceeded expectations. We have grown a few dozen types of veggies, worked with neighborhood kids, brought in volunteer groups, and had fun (and just a little bit of stress) doing it all.
While I normally enjoy the first few bites of traditional potato salad with mayo and whatnot, I tire of it before I can finish it. This roasted sweet potato salad, on the other hand, is addictive. The flavors are punchy and interesting. The texture is pleasing, with firm, yet tender, sweet potatoes and a light dressing (unlike the traditional version which is often gloppy with mayonnaise).
This salad seems to be pretty forgiving, depending on what you have on hand. I subbed leeks for scallions the second time I made it. If you use onion, just use a bit less of that, since it is stronger. The key parts of this salad are flavorful sweet potatoes (which is why roasting instead of boiling them is important) and the dressing. Play around with the dressing, but be sure to include the hot pepper (even just a little bit) and the cumin.
I can have a bowl of this as a meal, with a side of beans or bread. It is that good.
Farm Fresh Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
- 4 sweet potatoes large
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 medium red bell pepper cored, seeded and quartered
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1/2 cup scallions sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh mint or parsley
- 1 jalapeno chili minced
- 1/4 cup raisins optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse and peel sweet potatoes. Slice into 1.5 inch pieces. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until lightly brown on the outside and soft on the inside. Set aside and let cool.
- Add red wine vinegar, quartered red bell pepper, cumin, orange zest and remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Chop scallions, mint or parsley and chiles. Add to cooled potatoes, along with raisins. Add half the dressing and toss. Continue adding dressing until it is to your liking. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serve chilled or at room temperature.