I find it interesting to see how our tastes change as we mature. When I was a child, one of the few things I wouldn’t eat was sweet potatoes. That violated two rules of the house: you had to at least try everything that was served, and you had to clean your plate. Abiding by those rules must have helped me overcome my aversion, because trust me, I have no problem eating sweet potatoes now. In fact, by grade school I had developed a voracious appetite for them. I recall my dad warning me, after going for my third helping, that I should watch it because Daniel Boone had eaten so many sweet potatoes that he had foundered on them and subsequently died. Even though I loved stories about Daniel Boone and watched every episode of the TV show starring Fess Parker, that didn’t slow me down one bit.
While I didn’t try this salad as a kid, as an adult I can truly appreciate the savory blend of the roasted sweet potato and the tart flavor of the feta. And since spinach is a cool-weather crop, if the winter is mild, I often have some fresh leaves that I can harvest from the garden.–P. Allen Smith
LC As You Like It Note
There’s ample to like about this recipe as it is. And if you’re the sort who just can’t resist tweaking a little something here or there, you’re going to like it even more, as it takes well to a little tinkering if, say, you want to slip in some peppery arugula in place of the spinach, increase the honey for a more sweetly tart vinaigrette, or maybe even go all crazy and toss a handful of walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or pistachios across the top for a little crunch. Knock yourself out—and be sure to tell us about it.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Feta Salad
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 8
- For the roasted sweet potatoes
- 4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 red onions, each cut into 8 wedges
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more for serving
- For the dressing
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- For the the roasted sweet potato and feta salad
- 1 pound baby spinach, rinsed thoroughly and patted dry
- 6 ounces feta cheese, diced or crumbled
- Roast the sweet potatoes
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
- 2. Place the sweet potatoes and red onions on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and gently toss to coat everything well, being careful to keep the onion wedges intact. Spread the vegetables in a single layer and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the vegetables and continue to roast for 30 more minutes. The onions should be blissfully soft and caramelized and the sweet potatoes should be tender with tinges of brown around the edges.
- Make the dressing
- 3. While the vegetables are roasting, combine the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and process until combined.
- Prepare the roasted sweet potato and feta salad
- 4. Arrange the spinach in a shallow bowl or on a platter and scatter the warm onions and sweet potatoes over it. (If the spinach wilts a bit, all the better.) Drizzle with the dressing. Scatter the feta over the top. Grind some pepper over the salad, and serve immediately.
Recipe Testers Reviews
Though it takes an hour to roast the veggies, this salad is worth the wait. The dressing is delicious, and would be just as delicious on other salads as well. We enjoyed the flavors of the roasted sweet potato and onion, along with the spinach and feta cheese. This makes a delicious vegetarian meal or a side to accompany other items and, if you want to scale it down, know that the recipe halves to serve four nicely.
This recipe illustrates the creativity and versatility that a good salad entails—providing abundant proof that in the right hands, salads can be satisfying enough to qualify as a meal. The roasted sweet potatoes and purple onions give the dish an earthy, mellow sweetness, and provide a compelling contrast to the salty feta and rich, tangy dressing. The recipe was extremely easy to follow, and the serving suggestion accurate. My only deviation was adding 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the vegetables instead of the recommended 2 teaspoons as it seemed that, when combined with the salt in the dressing and the saltiness of the feta, it would be too much. Also, I didn’t use the full amount of dressing—a few spoonfuls go a long way. And lastly, I cut the potatoes into a 1-inch dice rather than the recommended 1/2-inch. This worked well with the cooking time.
What a wonderful salad. We liked its colorful presentation, and the salad’s flavors, which ranged from the sweet caramelized onions and sweet potatoes to the tart spinach and salty feta cheese. The dressing also works wonderfully. It was an instant favorite in our house—even the kids loved it. I’ll be making the salad so very often from now on.
I loved this simple salad. I cubed the sweet potatoes into a 1/2-inch dice as directed in the recipe, and cooked them for about 10 minutes less than called for. This resulted in potatoes that were browned and crisp on the outside, bordering on crunchy—kind of like a sweet potato fry. The onions were soft and very sweet—sweeter than the potatoes, even. The crispness of the sweet potatoes combined with the sweetness of the onion and tang of the feta was a great pleasure to eat. And the simple vinaigrette was the perfect accompaniment.
I’ve made this recipe three times since receiving it. The combination is just perfect. I love the colors—the red onion, orange sweet potatoes, the dark green spinach, and white cheese. With all of those colors, it has to be good for you. I made the recipe exactly as written the first time, and in the last two times, I added more honey to make more of a sweet and sour dressing. Loved it!
What a great combination of flavors! This is a nice, hearty salad for winter, made with ingredients that are easily available this time of year. I loved the combination of salty feta with the sweet potatoes, onions, and the tangy vinaigrette.
I loved this recipe, and would definitely make it again with a few minor changes. I used half the amount of oil that the recipe called for (1/8 cup), and felt that was more than sufficient to prevent the diced sweet potato from sticking to the pan. I left the root in the red onion and cut my wedges into the root, which kept them nicely intact. I also felt the oven temperature should have been higher—I cooked the 1-inch dices at 375 on convection for 45 minutes, and that resulted in a delicious crisp exterior and soft inside, along with a nice caramelization of the onions. The dressing seemed a touch too heavy on the Dijon for me, so next time, I’d cut the mustard down to 1 tablespoon and add some fresh citrus for a lighter, cleaner flavor. Overall, I loved the presentation—the orange of the sweet potato, the bright green of the spinach, and the deep red of the onion were gorgeous on a white platter. I served it as an entrée, and my family definitely felt satisfied, so this salad would make a good vegetarian main course.
The simple act of writing this evaluation is making me drool! In classical mythology, the word “ambrosia” is defined as food or drink for the gods. To me, this lovely combination of ingredients qualifies as ambrosia. The three parts of this recipe each have their own layering of flavors, while an addition of ground or cracked pepper in each stage of the recipe greatly enhances the flavor. I served this recipe as a combination salad/side dish with roasted chicken and French bread. Although best served right away, the small amount that was left over was wonderful the next day.
I love all of these ingredients, and am happy to have them all in one dish—a terrific dish, I might add. I was a little nervous about the vinaigrette—the honey kind of stopped me short because I generally don’t like sweet salad dressings. With that in mind, I used a light hand when adding it, but I wound up really liking the vinaigrette and will likely make it again for other salads or veggies. SUGGESTIONS: The spinach you use makes a big difference in the finished dish. Mine was a little tough and didn’t wilt nearly as much as I’d have liked. Next time, I’ll use more tender greens. Also, I feel the amount of olive oil called for in roasting the vegetables was a little too much, so I’ll reduce it next time. And I might throw in some homemade croutons or even toasted walnuts to bring in some crunch. Overall, it was a great dinner (and awesome lunch the next day, even cold). I’ll definitely make this on a regular basis.
Yes! Finally, a new winter salad to add to my recipe files. This dish was easy to prepare, and totally hit the spot. The roasted potatoes and onions add a sweet touch and wilt the spinach just barely. The dressing is simple, and the Dijon adds the perfect amount of kick and contrast to the sweetness of the veggies. Since I knew the whole recipe wouldn’t be eaten all at once (it does make a hefty amount), I kept the elements stored separately, assembling for each serving. I’m happily enjoying leftovers as I write this, and can report that it tastes just as good the second day—just a quick zap of the veggies in the microwave and you’re all set. I’ll absolutely make this again (and again).
This recipe was so much more than the sum of its parts! The onions came out of the oven deliciously crispy and sweet. Together with the potatoes, they were a perfect foil for the salty feta (I used a creamy specimen from France). The vinaigrette added a necessary bite. I had some beautiful baby arugula languishing in the fridge, so I used that instead of the spinach. It was a good substitute, as the bitterness played nicely against the sweet. This was substantial enough for a light meal, but I served it alongside slices of sirloin steak. Divine.
A wonderful and healthy dish that meets my criteria of a dish for company. Not only is it tasty, but the colors are beautiful, too. I served it at a dinner party and it really impressed my guests. I think the dish could be enhanced by the addition of something crunchy like roasted pistachios, which I tried when eating the leftovers. The salad tasted even better.