This bright salad makes a satisfying lunch or healthy companion for fish, chicken or steak. Dice everything smaller and you’ve got a fall-themed salsa for chips and tacos.

Note: I’m a big believer in buying whole spices and grinding them as you need them. They add so much more flavor than the pre-ground dust from the grocery store. To toast and grind cumin, purchase whole cumin seeds and toast them over low heat in a dry sauté pan. Once you begin to smell them, they’re done. Let the seeds cool slightly, and using a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder crush the seeds, leaving a little texture if possible.

Ingredients

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Salad Base

  • Sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice, 1 medium (about 1 cup)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon
  • Black pepper mill, 10 grinds (or ¼ teaspoon)
  • Cooked black beans, drained and rinsed, 1 cup
  • Avocado, diced, half of fruit (or ½ cup)
  • Scallions, thinly sliced, 2 whole (or ¼ cup)
  • Cilantro stems and leaves, finely chopped, ¼ cup
  • Mint, roughly chopped, 2 tablespoons
  • Pecans (or pepitas), chopped, ¼ cup
  • Goat cheese, crumbled, ¼ cup

Cumin Honey Citronette

  • Lime juice (2 limes needed), about ¼ cup
  • Honey, 1 tablespoon
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Hot sauce, 3 dashes
  • Cumin seed, toasted and crushed, ¼ teaspoon
  • Kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon

Directions

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Prep

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potato with the olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, sugar and black pepper.
  3. Spread the sweet potatoes out onto a baking sheet so that it is evenly distributed and the sweet potatoes are not touching.

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Bake

  1. Slide the baking sheet onto the middle rack of the oven and cook for 35-45 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes roast, make the dressing. In the same bowl as you seasoned the sweet potatoes, whisk together the lime juice, honey, salt, hot sauce and toasted cumin in a bowl.
  3. Stream into the two tablespoons of finishing olive oil as you whisk so that the dressing will emulsify. Keep an eye on the potatoes towards the end of the cooking process so that they do not burn. You are looking for a golden, slightly brown color on the exterior of the potato and a creamier soft texture on the interior.
  4. Allow the process to cool slightly and add them to the mixing bowl with the dressing.
  5. Stir in the black beans, avocado, scallions, herbs, pecans or pepitas, and remaining salt—taking care that you coat all the ingredients in the dressing.

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Serve

  1. Top with goat cheese and serve. This salad serves two people and can sit (and actually benefit from) mingling together for about 30 minutes before serving. Much longer, though, the avocado will begin to brown.
  2. Enjoy!

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