August 19 was National Potato Day so, of course, a potato dish is needed. Plus, it’s August so let’s think cool. As in potato salad! And let’s give that old saw a new twist by using sweet potatoes!
Technically, sweet potatoes are distant relatives of the everyday potato visitors to your dinner table, the red and white “taters.” Sweet potatoes are root tubers found in the company of beets, carrots and turnips. Whereas “regular” potatoes are part of the nightshade family, who count tomatoes, eggplants and peppers as family members.
As any respectable bar food denizen knows, sweet potatoes are a healthy choice for any meal. They are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, and copper. They get their orange color from beta-carotene, which is a pigment and antioxidant. When compared to white potatoes, sweet potatoes offer more vitamins and antioxidants. They also have a mildly lower glycemic index score. This makes them slower to digest, providing a more even energy balance. But their most surprising benefit may be the rich supply of vitamin A you’ll mine from these tubers. A single sweet potato offers over double the daily recommended value of vitamin A, according to Foodrevolution.org.
So let’s make a sweet potato salad!
I actually tried a couple different recipes for this. There is one other that I enjoy, but I’m taking today’s selection from “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.” It’s pretty straightforward (always a plus) and the ingredient list is not super-long.
To start, peel and cut into cubes two pounds of sweet potatoes. These are then steamed in a large pot (Of course I needed a new, large steamer basket that worked great for this! Shopping!!). Then, cut up a red bell pepper and add to the steamer basket for the last few minutes.
A simple mixture of vinegar and Dijon mustard is combined, and half is added to the vegetables in a bowl. The bowl of veggies is then placed in the fridge to cool for at least 45 minutes. Once cooled, the rest of the vinegar-mustard mix is whisked with olive oil to make the final dressing.
Add some sliced scallions and chopped parsley and you have yourself a salad!
Sweet Potato Salad
- 2 lb sweet potatoes
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 2½ TB cider vinegar
- 1½ TB Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
- 2 scallions sliced this
- 2 TB minced fresh parsley
- Peel sweet potatoes and cut into ¾ inch pieces. Fill a Dutch oven with an inch of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and lower a steamer basket into the pot. Add sweet potatoes to the basket. Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are nearly tender, about 15 minutes.
- Add bell pepper pieces to the steamer basket and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes with the sweet potatoes until all vegetables are tender. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl.
- Whisk vinegar and mustard with ½ tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and a pinch of cayenne in a small bowl. Drizzle half this mixture over the vegetables and toss gently to combine. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes to cool the vegetables.
- Whisking constantly, drizzle the olive oil into the remaining vinegar-mustard mixture until fully incorporated. Pour this over the vegetables and stir gently. Stir in scallions and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Get ready to eat hearty and feel healthy!