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.