This salad has been a staple in my kitchen for years. Back then, I was looking for an alternative to potato salad for a picnic when I stumbled upon this sweet potato salad from the New York Times. As I will make anything that contains sweet potatoes, cilantro, and black beans, I was immediately won over. As a result, this black bean salad gets made quite a bit in our house. Often, I eat it as is, serve it over grains, throw it in an omelette, or stuff it in a taco. It’s both versatile and full of flavor.
- 1 lb sweet potatoes
- 1 small red onion
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Juice and zest from 1 lime
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed if using canned
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Peel sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes and place on a sheet tray. Chop onion into 1/4 inch pieces and add to the tray. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on top and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Toss until sweet potatoes are well coated. Spread into a single layer and roast until sweet potatoes are tender and starting to brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
- While the sweet potatoes are roasting, combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a jar with the lime juice, 1 teaspoon lime zest, minced garlic, and chili powder. Shake well.
- Once sweet potatoes are done, transfer to a bowl. Add in the black beans, pepitas, and cilantro. Drizzle with the dressing and toss until salad is combined. This is best done with the sweet potatoes are still warm.
Step by Step
Black Bean Salad
While this salad is already a slight variation of the original recipe, I’ve found that the best variations are in how you can use this salad (besides just eating it). One note, if you’re in a hurry, you could always steam the sweet potatoes. But roasting them is really key to bringing out the flavor!
Tacos: Heat up a few tortillas, fill with this salad and top with avocado, cheese, and hot sauce. Instant dinner!
Eggs: Make scrambled eggs or an omelette and use this salad as filling (I recommend leaving out the pepitas for this variation).
Grain Bowl: Serve this salad atop grains. Then drizzle with an avocado cream sauce or a few dashes of hot sauce.
Black beans go hand in hand with sweet potatoes. In fact, it’s one of my favorite combinations for vegetarian Mexican food. For example, the combination works perfectly in tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and enchiladas. A few examples:
First published on June 6th, 2011. Last updated on January 14th, 2015.