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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Sweet potatoes, celery, and onions are roasted and tossed with grapes, carrots, and pecans to create a delicious autumn or winter side dish.

salad of roasted sweet potatoes, onion, celery with grapes, pecans, carrots and goat cheese on a serving tray sitting on a fall table setting
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

There’s been a shakeup at our Thanksgiving tables this year. According to the good folks at Campbell’s, sweet potatoes been nudged off the top-three-favorite side dishes list. Displaced by mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, at No. 4, remain a staple at many holiday buffets.

In its State of the Sides report, Campbell’s reported that 67 percent of Americans prefer side dishes over main courses. More than half of us would be happy with just a plate filled with Thanksgiving sides. That’s a lot of casseroles.

Does anyone else struggle to keep side dishes warm prior to serving? Figuring out the oven space is as difficult as a Kansas City Chief’s play on the field. Well, I have a recipe for you that features one of our favorites—sweet potatoes—but it’s served at room temperature. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad that includes roasted celery and onions can be baked early in the morning or the night before. Shredded carrots, sweet red grapes, crunch pecans and tangy goat cheese round out this dish. Garnish with celery leaves and drizzle with a balanced maple and balsamic vinaigrette. So good! Let’s get cooking.

To make my Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, which yields 6 servings, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes

  • 1 white onion

  • 4 stalks celery

  • ¼ cup pecan halves

  • 3 ounces goat cheese

  • 12 red seedless grapes

  • ½ cup shredded carrot

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1 teaspoons salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup

  • Salt and pepper to taste

salad of roasted sweet potatoes, celery, onions with grapes, goat cheese, pecans on a serving tray sitting on fall tablecloth

Alright, at first glance, these ingredients may seem weird. “Are you roasting celery?” might be on your lips now. And why garam masala; what even is garam masala? Let’s unpack this for a minute.

Regarding the celery, we’re trading texture for taste. While raw celery has a powerful crunch, it’s void of flavor. Roasting the celery brings flavor to this vegetable and balances the onion. And about the garam masala; this spice blend that’s used in certain Indian cuisine literally translates to “warming spices.” But if you don’t have it in your pantry, you can mix cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and pepper (equal pinches to create 1 teaspoon).

Directions to make Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 410 degrees F. Peel and cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Peel and chop onion about the same size as potatoes. Wash and cut celery into 1- to 1½-inch pieces.

Place vegetables on a sheet pan lined with parchment and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with garam masala, salt, and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes. Allow to cool.

While vegetables are in the oven, wash grapes and slice in half vertically. Crumble the goat cheese.

To make the dressing, whisk ingredients together until emulsified.

To assemble the salad, place roasted vegetables in a large bowl and add grapes, pecans, and carrots. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle cheese over mixture and drizzle dressing. Garnish with celery leaves.

Sweet potato or yam?

We may hear the names mixed interchangeably but these are separate vegetables. According to food writer Margaret Eby, yams are starchy and have a brown exterior. Sweet potatoes are a “new world” vegetable and have a darker interior with reddish skin. Check here to read Eby's story about the history of yams versus sweet potatoes.

About the blog

Three Women in the Kitchen is an award-winning food blog offering today’s home cooks comforting, hearty recipes with a personal touch. The website also pays tribute to Deborah’s mother, Katie Reinhardt, and paternal grandmother, Dorothy Reinhardt (the “three women” in the kitchen). Whether you’re an experienced or a novice cook, you’ll find inspiration here to feed your families and warm your heart. Subscribe today so you won’t miss a single delicious detail.

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