Cooking Club: Sweet Potato Salad with Orange-Maple Dressing

We had an amazing cooking club at G’s last week with the theme of ORANGE and it was great! Everything we ate and drank (well, OK, until the glass of red wine I had there at the end), was orange, involved something orange or included actual oranges. Man, did the girls bring their A game! As usual, I guess… You can see several of the dishes previewed above, including lasagna, two types of carrot salads and a greek feta salad with orange. YUM.

I’ll start out with what I ended up making. I was going to go with savory stuffed sweet potatoes, but working late would have made that pretty tough, so I’ll have to do that some other time.  I had all these sweet potatoes, though, so I decided to set out looking for a sweet potato salad. I quickly found a vegan recipe that sounded interesting and delicious on — and it was! I liked it, many of the ladies took leftovers and my squeeze polished off the rest for lunch the next day. So, I think those all count as glowing reviews! In the photo above, it’s sitting at about 1 o’clock if it’s not obvious what it is.

• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
• 2 Tbsp. orange juice (This was less than the juice of one orange)
• 2 Tbsp. Sherry wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar (I chose the latter)
• 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
• 2 tsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
• 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

• 6 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (I had regular ol’ sweet potatoes, not red-skinned yams, and I only used about 4 large ones. I have no idea how many pounds
• 1 c. chopped green onions
• 1 c. chopped fresh parsley (I fell a little short on parsley, but it was still good!)
• 1 c. pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped (I’m only now realizing I forgot to toast them and I think it was just fine.)
• 1/2 c. golden raisins
• 1/2 c. brown raisins

1. Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. 

2. Steam cubed sweet potatoes in batches for about 10 minutes each (I did a little longer) until tender, but not mushy. Transfer each completed batch to large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding.

3. Add onions, parsley, pecans and raisins and toss, then add dressing and toss again. Season with salt and pepper if you like. It can sit for a couple of hours at room temperature and is best served at room temperature.

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