Sweet potato, arugula, black bean, avocado salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

sweet potato salad bowlOne of my recurring resolutions is to try more recipes from the cookbooks I receive and amass throughout the year. I’m happy to say that I’ve whipped up the chickpea dressing recipe from the Dirt Candy comic cookbook—which is a fun read and an inspiring and innovative take on vegetarian and vegan cuisine.

lentil ball saucedBut the book that is getting more use right now is the Meatball Shop cookbook, which isn’t even mine. The latest recipe we tried, the vegetarian lentil “meatball” recipe, was enjoyed by vegetarians and carnivores alike. We followed it to the letter, but have some ideas about changing it up for next time, so stay tuned.lentil balls

To accompany the lentil balls, I put together a winter “comfort salad” of roasted sweet potato, arugula, avocado, black beans, and toasted almonds. I call it a comfort salad because it’s hearty and satisfying even on a cold day when you wouldn’t gravitate toward salad, and it could be a meal on its own, along with a thick slice of grainy bread. I dressed it with a pomegranate vinaigrette, but considered topping it with this tahini dressing.

arugula salad side viewSweet potato, arugula, black bean, avocado salad with pomegranate vinaigrette recipe
Serves 4 as a first course, and 2 as a meal salad
1 pound sweet potatoes, washed and pricked in a few spots with a sharp knife (smaller thinner ones will cook faster)
8 cups of washed arugula
1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained if using from a can
1 ripe avocado, cut into slices
1/3 cup almond slivers, toasted

for pomegranate vinaigrette:
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
2 TBS pomegranate molasses
1 TBS sherry vinegar (balsamic will work, too)
2 TBS honey or agave nectar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
ground black pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Put the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined pan and roast until they give slightly when squeezed (wear hot mitts when you do this so you don’t burn your hands). It generally takes between 20-45 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes and your oven. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Make the dressing: Put the garlic and salt in a small bowl and pound with a pestle or the back of a citrus reamer until blended into a paste. Add pomegranate molasses, sherry vinegar, honey or agave nectar, and mustard and mix well. Mix in olive oil, and season with black pepper to taste.
  3. When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, slide off their skins and cut the potatoes into bite-size cubes.
  4. Put the arugula in a large salad bowl, top with the sweet potatoes, black beans, avocado, and almond slivers. Drizzle with the dressing and toss until coated.
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