Updated: Jan 9
This roasted sweet potato salad recipe makes for a perfect fall lunch or side dish! Nuts, avocado, and bright chipotle dressing fill it with flavor.
The combinations of roasted sweet potatoes (I used two kinds in the video); bell peppers, green beans, black beans and avocado harmoniously blend beautifully together.
What I love the most about this salad?
Perfect for those people who are on a plant-based diet, even though this recipe isn't completely vegan, it can be modified to meet these needs.
Full of protein, fats and fiber!
Full of probiotics and prebiotics!
Maple-Roasted Squash Salad with Black Truffle Vinaigrette is another my favorite salad for this time of the year.
I had never tried sweet potatoes until I came to the US. To be honest I didn't get warm and fuzzy with this amazing vegetable right away. My first year in the U.S., I ate sweet potatoes as they were served at restaurants like Outback: baked within the skin, and served with a healthy dose of brown sugar, cinnamon and margarine. In my opinion, cooking and serving sweet potatoes in this matter merely washes away all the health benefits of this glorious root vegetable that God lovingly created.
Today, I'm in love with sweet potatoes for a variety of reasons.
There's probably no vegetable with a higher beta-carotene content than the sweet potato. Beta-carotene is made up of properties that can protect us against cancer, colds, infections and other diseases. What amazes me is that the carotene contained in sweet potatoes increases as the vegetable is stored throughout the winter making it one of God's great creations.
Our bodies can only convert carotene to vitamin A in the presence of bile salts. That's why it's so important to eat sweet potatoes with fat like butter, egg yolks, or cream. These fats stimulate the secretion of bile and help our bodies to convert beta-carotene into vitamin A. These wonderful fats also make sweet potatoes taste delicious.
Sweet potatoes are also a good source of iron and they contain potassium, niacin and vitamin C. They also contain fiber and are very rich in vitamin B6, a vitamin that is highly protective against heart diseases. And last but not least, sweet potatoes are rich in magnesium, which is another nutrient that protects against heart diseases thus providing you with a double dose of heart protecting properties.
Instead of talking about how amazing black beans are for I think we all know that eating more legumes is a great habit to have. However, I would like to concentrate my focus on what is even more important, which is the proper way to cook them.
Why you want to soak all your beans, nuts, seeds, and grains
In the video I mentioned that you could use canned black beans or cook them yourself, it's all up to you whichever is more convenient. But I also mentioned that I cook all my beans and keep them in the freezer until I need them.
These days we see more and more people eating raw and unprocessed whole foods, which are a good thing - unless they're loaded with enzyme inhibitors and phytates. By many experts in this area, these can cause quite a disturbance in the body. Consuming raw grains, nuts, seeds and beans is definitely not nature’s way. Our body is not designed to process these foods in their raw state.
These foods are loaded with phytic acid that not only grabs onto important minerals, but it also inhibits enzymes that we need to digest our food.
One of them is pepsin (we must have it in order to break down proteins in the stomach). Another one is amylase (it helps to break down starch into sugar) and also trypsin (they do the important job of helping to properly digest protein in the small intestine).
With baking a lot of fermented breads (sourdough) I mention through my blogs how great bread is if it's been fermented. Almost all grains should be fermented because untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron in the intestinal tract and block their absorption.
According to Sally Fallon and other specialists, a diet high in nuts, seeds, beans, and grains that are improperly prepared may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. It may also lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS or SIBO) and in the long term, have many other adverse effects.
These types of health problems in our new generations exist because we have lost touch with our ancestral heritage of food preparation. Every culture in the world in the old days used a slow way of preparing their grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Traditional cuisines and pre-industrialized peoples from around the world took great care to soak or ferment their grains, beans, nuts, and seeds before consuming them. Phytic acid is one of a number of “anti-nutrients” in grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Proper preparation of these foods will neutralize a large portion of these compounds.
Not only will the soaking, sprouting and proper processing neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors but will also increase the vitamin contents and in this case particularly B vitamins. Tannins, complex sugars, gluten, and other difficult-to-digest components are partially broken down into simpler components that are more available for absorption by our bodies.
Keep your gut healthy and feed the microbes some of their favorite food — fiber!
How to properly soak beans
Place the dried beans in a large bowl and add water to cover them by 2 to 3 inches. Discard any beans that float.
Then, leave the beans to soak for at least 8 hours (24 maximum), or overnight.
When your beans are done soaking, drain and rinse.
Transfer the soaked beans to a large pot and cover them with 3 inches of water.
Bring the water to a gentle boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 50 minutes, discarding any foam that rises to the surface.
I freeze my beans in portions so I can have them on hand whenever I need them. You can also store them in the fridge for up to 5 days.
For most beans these instructions can work, except soybeans, they need to be soaked for 48 hours.
You can use a crock-pot or instant pot if this will help you.
The blanched green beans you can buy in the freezer section of your local supermarket or do yourself and by doing ahead can save a lot of time. I love to have blanched green beans always on hand in my freezer.
The dressing can last for up to one week in your fridge, the kefir, which is a product of fermentation, plays a role not only as a probiotic but also as a preservative. The kefir in combination with garlic (wonderful prebiotic) will make your gut smile. I love to use any leftovers of this dressing as a dipping sauce for quesadillas.
If you like to use cheese, here are the cheeses that I would use for the topping: feta, queso fresco, goat cheese, shredded Manchego, or extra sharp cheddar.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Servings: 4 salads
Ingredients for the salad
2 large, sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubed pieces (I used combo of purple and regular)
2 cups green beans, blanched
1 cup black beans, cooked
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup of nuts (I used a mix of pecans, walnuts, and cashews)
1 avocado, chopped or sliced
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil (for potatoes)
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
Ingredients for the dressing
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used homemade in the video)
1/3 cup kefir or yogurt
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
juice of half lemon or lime
1 Tablespoon diced chipotle peppers
1-2 teaspoons mustard
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 clove of garlic
1 Tablespoon of honey, raw and local is my preference
Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a bowl add potatoes, salt, black pepper, paprika, and olive oil. Mix all together making sure all potatoes are evenly coated.
3. On a baking sheet line it with a baking mat or baking paper and spread the potatoes in one layer. Roast for 10-15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a blender cup add mayonnaise, kefir, honey, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, chipotle, cumin, salt and black pepper. Blend everything, then add the oil and blend again.
5. Let potatoes cool for a few minutes (totally optional); arrange your salad on a platter and drizzle generously with the dressing. Sprinkle with nuts.