This satisfying sweet potato salad makes a great main dish or side. With spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, cranberries, quick-candied pecans, and white beans, all drizzled in a fresh lemon vinaigrette, your taste buds and tummy will be 100% satisfied! Vegan and gluten-free with an oil-free option.
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods, so with the fall season finally in sight, I couldn't wait to use them in a new recipe! Plus, who doesn't love a big salad? The sweet potato and cannellini beans make this salad filling enough to be a main course, but it's also perfect for parties, potlucks, and as a side dish during the holiday season.
Process for Making This Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
If you're a fan of super simple meals, one glance at this recipe might have you thinking it's a bit fussy. But trust me, each component is really simple to execute. Here's the basic flow...
- Prep and roast the sweet potatoes.
- Shake the dressing ingredients in a jar. In a small bowl marinate the beans in a few tablespoons of dressing. TIP: for oil-free dressing, substitute my Lemon-Chia Dressing or replace the olive oil in this vinaigrette with tahini or cashew butter plus a splash of water.
- Slice the red onion. TIP: if it seems extra pungent, soak the sliced onion in a bowl of cool water while you finish the prep. Drain before using.
- Make the quick-candied pecans in a pan on the stovetop (takes just a few minutes). Allow to cool.
- Assemble the salad, layering the spinach, onion, beans, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries and pecans.
Reasons you'll love this sweet potato salad
- All the flavors! It's smoky, salty, earthy, sweet AND tart.
- It's colorful! Take this salad to your next potluck and watch it disappear.
- It's packed with nutrition and pretty much has that whole "eat the rainbow" thing down pat.
- And it's versatile!
- sub another type of bean or leave them out altogether
- try walnuts or pumpkin seeds instead of candied pecans
- pair the salad with a different dressing, like orange or pomegranate
- try it with butternut, acorn, or delicata squash instead of sweet potatoes
One thing that's great about spinach salads is that the leaves are sturdier than most other salad greens. So for parties and holiday gatherings, even after dressing the salad it will hold up well for hours.
I hope you enjoy this Sweet Potato Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette. If you give it a try I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and rate the recipe. Your feedback is always appreciated!
You might also like:
- Kale and Golden Beet Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
- Carrot Raisin Salad with Tahini Dressing
- Kale Slaw with Creamy Harissa Dressing
- Jackfruit, Mango and Dill Salad
Sweet Potato Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Roasted sweet potatoes:
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 5/8 inch cubes
- 1 Tbsp high heat oil such as walnut or grapeseed Omit for oil-free
- 1 tsp smoked paprika, optional
- sea salt
For the salad:
- 8 ounces baby spinach
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced Tip: if your onion smells strong, soak the slices in water while preparing the rest of the dish. Drain before using.
- 1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained Or sub 2 cups of your favorite cooked bean
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries See notes re: sugar and oil in dried cranberries.
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 small lemons)
- zest from half a lemon
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil For oil-free, try my Lemon-Chia Dressing or sub tahini or cashew butter for the olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- black pepper
- 1 1/3 cups raw pecan halves
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp tamari Can sub soy sauce or shoyu if not GF
- black pepper
Roast the sweet potatoes:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss sweet potato with the oil, smoked paprika, and salt, and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping at the halfway point. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Make the dressing and marinate the beans:
- Combine all ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small jar, and shake vigorously. *If subbing cashew butter or tahini for the oil, you'll need to whisk the ingredients to combine. Add a splash of water for consistency if needed.Place the beans in a small bowl. Pour about 1/4 of the dressing over the beans. Stir to coat; set aside.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Toast the pecans for 1 to 2 minutes, frequently stirring or shaking the pan. Drizzle with the maple syrup and soy sauce, and stir to coat. Sprinkle with black pepper. Stir frequently, and cook for another minute or until the soy sauce and maple seem mostly evaporated.
- The pecans will be sticky. Transfer to a plate, and spread them out to cool.
Assemble the salad:
- In a large serving bowl toss the spinach, onion, and cranberries with a small amount of dressing. Add the sweet potato, beans, and cooled pecans (use your hands to break them apart and crumble onto the salad). Drizzle with more vinaigrette, or serve the dressing on the side.