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.