Cuban Sweet Potato Salad

Ah, sweet potatoes. They’re really quite scrumptious, aren’t they? Fabulous food, those tubers. They come packed full of nutrients and fiber, are low in fat, have so much flavor, and they’re very versatile. Sweet potatoes lend themselves to velvety soups, crispy fries, delicious patties, souffles, pies, the list goes on and on. Sweet potatoes rank right up there with zucchini, in my estimation, for being a fabulously versatile ingredient.

Because it is coming up to holiday season, you will likely be seeing a few more sweet potato recipes coming your way in the near future. This one, however, is not holiday themed. This one is CUBAN themed! If I had a steel drum I would start beating it at this point….except that I don’t know if Cuban culture includes the use of a steel drum, but I thought “shaking the maracas” seemed even more inappropriate….

This sweet potato salad (or rather simply dressed roasted sweet potatoes, if you insist on getting technical with me) is exceptionally easy to make. It is also wonderful warm, at room temperature, or cold. If you’re looking for a different way to titillate the tastebuds with tubers, why not put away the brown sugar and butter (just temporarily! Just once!) and try this out instead?

Cuban Sweet Potato Salad

  • 5 large sweet potatoes
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 limes
  • small handful of cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400F, because by the time that it heats up these little babies will be ready to roast.

Peel the sweet potatoes and give them a quick rinse and dry to get rid of any risidual dirt or bits that might be collected on them.

Slice the sweet potatoes into chunks that are as evenly sized as you can make them. Aim for about 3/4 inch thick and slightly longer at the ends where the potatoes taper down. When everything is roughly the same size it will cook more evenly so you don’t have some rock hard pieces and others that disintegrate when you try to lift them out.

Coat the sweet potatoes with the tablespoon and a half of olive oil, making sure that every piece is well lubed up so that they don’t stick. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Pop this into the oven and let them roast, roast away! After 15 minutes please check on them and flip each piece over so that it cooks evenly and gets a bit of a crisp crust on both sides. The potatoes will take 25 – 45 minutes to cook depending on the size of your chunks, so fork test them after about 25 minutes to see if they’re tender. If not, give them another quick flip and plunk them back in with a threatening, “No you CANNOT come out until you’re ready to show me some tenderness.” This tactic works much better on sweet potatoes than it does in relationships, I find.

While those are roasting away, squeeze the juice of two limes into a small mixing bowl.

Zest or press in the clove of garlic.

Wash and dry the cilantro sprigs. Cilantro has a tendency to show up absolutely filthy dirty, and trying to convince people that, “oh…that crunch is just freshly ground pepper…” won’t get you too far.

Finely chop the cilantro.

Mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl, and that’s it! You’re done! There’s no need for added oil. See? I can be healthy sometimes!

When the sweet potatoes come out of the oven you can let them cool for a minute or two and them toss them with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Again, they can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. They’re delicious any way they come.

Creamy sweet potatoes on the inside, and slightly crispy on the outside. They marry so well with the bright tart taste of fresh lime juice and the herbal complexity of cilantro. And yes, they’re just as good the next day.

Cuban Sweet Potato Salad officially completes our Cuban inspired menu of Mojo Chicken with Avocado Mango Salsa and Moros y Cristianos (black beans and rice). Enjoy!

  • Kristie

    Dude, what’s up with all your commie food? You have something you want to tell us? And more importantly, can you get us all cheap drugs?

  • Tina

    Comrade Kristie, I was expecting you to comment more on the horrors of sweet potatoes (as I understand, they rank right up there with okra and zucchini as far as you’re concerned…which sadly are another 2 of my favorites) rather than the Cuban theme. Don’t worry, maybe next week I’ll do some (people’s republic of) Chinese food…and I’m starting to crave a bit of Russian borscht, I don’t know why. Hey, do you know what they eat in Lao? Or where the hell that is?

    Sorry, I’m the wrong mule for you. No cheap drugs here, but let me know if you want the handrolled cigars that I bribe the neighbors children to make me in exchange for Snickerdoodles. A better contact may be Amy and Jonny ( who’s fabulous blog has been rather focused on Columbian lately….just saying……

  • Christie@fig&cherry

    Looove sweet potatoes. The dressing is so simple and fresh – gorgeous!

  • Tina

    Hi Christie! Thanks for stopping by and checking out our blog! I love sweet potatoes as well, and could happily eat them every day….that’s why I like trying different prep methods on them in the hopes that I will NEVER have to say, “oh man, sweet potatoes AGAIN?!” instead of, “awesome, we have sweet potatoes AGAIN!”

    • tanya

      Mashed sweet potatos (made with 2% milk & healthy butter) with a little sprinkle of cinnamon,sal
      salt/pepper. Just microwave the potato (American SP) about six minutes each for medium size,
      mash up with butter & milk – and season to taste.

      Also cut the potatoes into french fries, bake & add a unique seasoning (like McCormick’s
      Montreal Seasoning – use a little bit it can get spicey) Little spice lessen the sweetness of
      the potato perfectly. Serve with home made hamburgers & turkey burgers.

      Some variations – so you wont have to say
      “oh, man, sweet potatoes again?

      • Tina

        I think we definitely have a sweet potato afficionado in our midst! Thank you again for the tip Tanya, I would love to try the baked fries with Montreal seasoning -they sound delicious!

  • Kristie

    Did you know I was conceived in Columbia? A long running joke that I find hilarious but my mother does not is that because she and my dad elected to get pregnant on their honeymoon in Columbia, I will be forever known as a “cartel baby.” I invented that explanation for my behavior in high school, and have maintained it since.

    And I don’t like sweet potatoes, but I’ve decided to cautiously reevaluate based on the fact that I accidentally enjoyed some fried sweet potato chips at a Mexican restaurant. I was ashamed, but effectively seed-thoughted.

  • Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    Great dish! I love sweet potatoes, but sadly, I’m the only one who does in this household. I’m saving this recipe to make when I can get rid of everyone for an evening!

  • Tina

    That’s the thing about sweet potatoes, isn’t it. People either love them or despise them, and there’s rarely much in between. You can guess which side of the fence I’m on 😉

    Kristie – sad but true, the best way to trick people into eating something that they think they don’t like is to do it crispy and deep fried. You make shoe string fries, right? Why not make shoe string sweet potato fries, well salted of course…served with a chipotle lime aioli….if that doesn’t kick start the transition, I don’t know what will.

    Susan – I love the way you think! When I have an evening in alone I eat cheese. Sometimes with crackers, other times just cheese. For dinner. Now I’m ashamed.

  • Lori Lynn

    These sound very flavorful. Great seasonal recipe, I look forward to giving it a whirl. Thanks!

  • Tina

    Thank you Lori! I hope you enjoy it!

  • tanya

    Here’s a little twist that made me think of Cuban dinner on a Sunday afternoon – just a bit
    healthier. Simply Microwave American Sweet Potatos (not boniato) and grill/saute/broil a Tilapia
    filt. Cut up the potato into cubes & shred up the Tilapia. Mix in some light mayo (about 1 1/2
    tablespoons), salt/pepper, some lime on the tilapia to get the fish taste out, parsley to taste, whatever
    veggies you like (carrots, peas, etc) Mix it all up – and you have Tilapia Sweet Potato Salad –
    the sweetness of the potato truly mixes with the tilapia – and its a filling, healthy salad. Eat with
    some saltines (if you like it less sweet) or just on a bed of greens. Super easy, healthy & delish!

    • Tina

      Tanya, that sounds delicious. Thank you for the tip!

  • Meg

    Yum! I made these last night, and tossed in some black beans and avocado to make it a
    meal. So delicious and summery! But one question: How do you keep the sweet potatoes
    from getting soggy the next day? They’re just as delicious for lunch today as they were for
    dinner last night, but there is a slight mush factor now.

    Thanks for your witty posts and delicious recipes! I’m curious to try the Thai gazpacho next.

    • Tina

      Meg – sorry for the late reply!!

      In answer to your question, I don’t actually know any good way to keep the sweet potatoes from getting soggy the next day….that’s just what they’re going to do. Like most roasted vegetables, as they sit they either dry out or soften. Due to the liquid these ones will soften. If you wanted to keep the salad firmer for the next day, I would recommend keeping the potatoes and dressing separate and only tossing what you need. The next day you can reheat the sweet potatoes in a toaster oven (or your oven on 375 for 5-10 minutes) which will crisp them up SLIGHTLY before you toss them with the remaining dressing. But….even so, they’ll still be soft…..sorry……….

  • Lewis Ray

    These look amazing- Have done the recipe (well similar ) in the past. Worked well.
    And Tina- if you love the Cuban Cigars you can actually buy them online hehe- that way you can have your snickerdoodles and your cigars too. 🙂 check out this site i ended up finding a while back, you may like it if you enjoy cigars. I look forward to the chinise recipes 🙂

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