A day doesn’t go by when Emily and I don’t talk about food. As a colleague of mine, we always find time in the work day to recount last night’s sensational meal, share a new must-try recipe, or muse over tomorrow’s dinner. It was clearly a “no-brainer” for her to share her culinary passions with you as our next guest blogger in our Test Kitchen series. And for the first time, I’m happy to say I actually got to taste a Guest Test Kitchen creation. Emily brought me a sample of this delightful salad to work, of which I gobbled down in less than 2 minutes later that evening after a strenuous workout. I am sorry that Chrystal missed out on this one, especially knowing how much she adores sweet potatoes. Like her, you’ll just have to whip it together for yourself. You’ll be glad you did! Here’s Emily with more…
“When Amir asked me to do a guest post on his blog, I was honored, excited, and…stumped. What would I make? Whoopie pies? Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon? French Macarons with Chocolate Ganache?! Visions of everything short of sugarplums danced through my head.
Then I came to my senses. I’m a pretty low maintenance kind of lady. I paint my own nails (if they’re painted at all), I shop at Old Navy, and when I cook, I cook low maintenance dishes – simple meals made from great ingredients. This dish, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans and Cilantro Chili Dressing, is one of those simple, rustic, low maintenance winners.
The recipe is a slight adaptation from a Mark Bittman classic that appeared in the New York Times a few years ago. Since then, it’s been my go-to side at dinner parties because it’s easy to make ahead and can be served at room temperature. Everyone loves it, and the beans give it extra protein, which the vegetarians in the room appreciate.
Also, it’s gets better after it’s been sitting in the fridge for a day, making for perfect leftovers. Oh, and the Cilantro Chili Dressing? You might want to make double because it’s the business. I put it on everything: eggs, tacos, chips, or just straight out of the fridge with a spoon. See what I mean about low maintenance?”
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad With Black Beans and Cilantro Chili Dressing – Serves 4-5
Adapted from Mark Bittman
5 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large red onion, chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh hot chili, like jalapeño
1 clove garlic, peeled
Juice of 2 limes
2 cups cooked black beans, drained
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro.
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put sweet potatoes and ¾ of the chopped onions (save the rest, you’ll use ‘em later) on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown on corners and are just tender inside, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; keep on pan until ready to mix with dressing.
2. Put chilies in a blender or mini food processor along with garlic, lime juice, remaining olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Process until blended.
3. Put warm vegetables in a large bowl with beans, bell pepper, and the remaining ¼ chopped onion; toss with dressing and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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