Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad

As new homeowners and overall frugal people, my husband and I try to save money where we can -- and that includes packing our lunches at home!  The hubs is a creature of habit.  I, on the other hand, crave some variety in my life.  

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I usually pack 4 lunches at a time, banking on leftovers or something random for one of the work days.  A few years ago, while on the hunt for a new salad to pack in my lunches, I found this Black Bean and Sweet Potato Salad on Food.com.  I changed up the recipe a bit and find that for a meal, it is best served over baby spinach or mixed greens.  You could also serve this on its own as a side-dish.

With 2015 knocking on the door, we are all in need of a healthy recipe or two.  This one is healthy, colorful, and even without any meat, it makes for a satisfying lunch.


Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad

Makes: ~8 cups

Ingredients
3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1 15 oz can sweet corn
1 15 oz can black beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 red onion
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder (chipotle chili if you have it)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp olive oil
salt to taste

For the dressing:
Juice of 2 limes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey or sugar
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper to taste

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cube sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch - 3/4 inch chunks.  I like to leave the skin on, but if you don't care for it, peel the potatoes first.  Spread potatoes out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil, then sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.  Mix with your hands to evenly coat all potatoes.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

TIP:  If you don't have chipotle chile powder on hand - BUY SOME.  It gives everything a smoky delicious heat - chili, bbq sauce, grilled chicken, even scrambled eggs... so good.

While the potatoes are roasting, prep the other ingredients.  Chop the red bell pepper, red onion, and cilantro, then add them to a large bowl.  Drain and rinse black beans, drain corn, add to the bowl.

To make the dressing, whisk lime juice, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.  Once the potatoes are cooked through, allow them to cool completely.  It's pretty cold here in central PA, so I just sat the cookie sheet in the garage for a while while I got the other ingredients ready.

Once the potatoes have cooled, add them to the bowl and gently combine / coat all ingredients with the dressing.

TIP:  To pack for lunches in advance, scoop 1 - 1.5 cups of the sweet potato mixture into a plastic container.  Top with 2 cups of salad greens (I used baby spinach and baby kale).  Don't shake or stir or anything, just calmly sit the containers in the refrigerator.  When you're ready to eat, cut up your salad greens a bit, put the lid back on, and shake the hell out of it to distribute the dressing.  (NOTE:  This is not a heavily dressed salad.  If you like a lot of dressing, make extra and add it as needed to individual servings).