My job always keeps me quite busy during the month of October. My brain is fried by the time I get home, and the last thing I want to do is make a complicated meal. Paired with our unseasonably cold fall here in Chicago, I’ve been gravitating to comforting, warming meals that are simple to make. This sweet potato salad is the perfect remedy for a chilly weeknight. With cous cous, pumpkin seeds and the most wonderfully creamy and flavorful tahini dressing, it’s filling enough to be an entree salad.
Before this fall, I wasn’t very adventurous with my sweet potato preparation – I felt like it was hard to beat a baked sweet potato with some brown sugar and simply left it at that. While I’ll always love that, I decided this year to branch out a bit. When I discovered last month how good butternut squash could be in a salad, it got me thinking: why not add sweet potatoes to a salad? Not only are they naturally delicious, but their nutritional profile is also fantastic (they are a great source of calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C). They’re also a great way to make a salad heartier for the cooler months – because who wants to eat a cold salad when it’s cold out?
The sweet potatoes, when roasted with some cinnamon, paprika and salt, turn out to be the perfect combination of sweet and savory. And while I don’t normally like creamy dressings (so many are overly thick and clearly unhealthy), this dressing gets its creaminess from tahini, that wonderfully addicting sesame paste that I could eat with a spoon. Paired with the cous cous, the salad ends up having a bit of a Middle Eastern feel that I love. And while I really enjoy the salad with the pumpkin seeds, I think it would be wonderful with any nuts you have on hand – especially pine nuts, walnuts or almonds.
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of paprika
- Pinch of kosher salt
- ½ cup uncooked cous cous
- ⅛ cup pumpkin seeds
- About 4 cups of mixed greens or lettuce of choice (enough for 2 salads)
- For the dressing:
- 1 and ½ tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a baking dish, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and spices. You don't need much of the oil or spices - if you use too much oil, the potatoes won't be as crisp, and too much spice will give the potatoes a burnt taste.
- Cook potatoes for 25-30 minutes, until crisp on the outside and soft inside.
- In the meantime, prepare the cous cous according to the package instructions.
- Whisk all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Once the potatoes are done, let them cool about five minutes and then add to the greens, cous cous and pumpkin seeds. Toss in the dressing and serve immediately.
Note: I buy my tahini from Trader Joe’s. It already has some water and lemon in it, so it might be creamier than other tahini pastes. If yours has a thicker paste-like consistency, add a little water and more olive oil to your dressing.