This roasted sweet potato salad with baby kale, feta, pomegranate seeds, pepitas and a lime dressing makes a gorgeous main course fall salad, or Thanksgiving side dish. It's simple to prepare on a weeknight, vegetarian, and filled with healthy ingredients to make you feel great!
Am I the only one intimidated by kale? To be honest, I had kind of relegated kale to the category of fad foods that people only pretend to like.
Every kale recipe I saw emphasized the need to "massage" it before using it. As far as I'm concerned, if a vegetable demands a spa treatment to be palatable, it's not for me.
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Basically, the kale bandwagon was one I had planned to let pass. But the other day I was at the grocery store looking for some greens for this roasted sweet potato salad recipe I was working on, and came across this mix of baby greens that included baby kale.
It turned out to be perfect for this salad. These greens, which also included baby chard and baby spinach, were sturdy enough to stand up to my roasted sweet potato chunks, without being too crunchy, or too mushy.
So baby kale, I'm on board with you. Baby kale, you're welcome in my salad anytime. Big kale... I'll never say never.
So, what's in this salad besides kale? Some seriously delicious honey harissa roasted sweet potatoes for one thing.
Plus some crumbled feta for a little salty richness, little bursts of sweetness in the form of pomegranate seeds, roasted pepitas for crunch, and a luscious and tangy lime vinaigrette.
How to Make a Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Kale
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Peel and dice two medium sweet potatoes into ½ inch cubes. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, harissa, salt and pepper.
- Add the diced sweet potatoes to the bowl and stir to coat evenly.
- Transfer the sweet potatoes to a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven about 20 minutes, until tender and browned.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive and canola oils, lime juice, mustard, honey, salt and pepper).
5. In a large bowl, toss the greens together with the dressing. Divide among 4 bowls. Top with sweet potatoes, pepitas, feta and pomegranate seeds.
Lately we've been making a conscious effort in our house to eat a little less meat than we're used to. So I'm always thrilled when I can come up with a recipe that's super healthy and full of power foods, while being crave-worthy at the same time.
We ate this as a complete meal and it was totally satisfying, thanks to those hearty sweet potatoes. If you love them as much as we do, try this vegetarian sweet potato chili or these oven roasted sweet potatoes with brown butter and maple.
And speaking of sweet potatoes, they're a favorite of everyone in the family, so I think they deserve some attention.
What do sweet potatoes (literally) bring to the table?
Sweet potatoes are easily my favorite root vegetable. They can replace regular potatoes in pretty much every application and contribute a ton more flavor, color AND nutrients.
Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse. They are a huge source of vitamin A in the form beta-carotene, as well as antioxidants, fiber, potassium and more.
If you're curious, sweet potatoes are sweet because they contain an enzyme that breaks the starch down into sugar as they're cooked. The longer they're cooked, the sweeter they get! Check out this post from the Kitchn for more info.
Are Sweet Potatoes the Same as Yams?
No. Sweet potatoes and yams come from entirely different plant families, though they can sometimes look quite similar.
Sweet potatoes are far more widely available than yams, but apparently many US grocery stores routinely label sweet potatoes as "yams", which explains all the confusion.
Chances are if you see "yams" at your grocery store, they are actually sweet potatoes!
In addition to be being a perfect fall vegetarian weeknight meal, this roasted sweet potato salad would make a beautiful Thanksgiving side.
Sound good to you? If you make this roasted sweet potato salad recipe, I would be thrilled if you would take a pic and tag me on Instagram @ourhappymess!
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A Couple of Other Favorite Main Course Salads to Try
Club Sandwich Salad with Chicken
Asian Chicken Salad with Sriracha Peanut Dressing
Roasted Sweet Potato and Baby Kale Salad Recipe
- 2 sweet potatoes peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon harissa paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 7 oz mixed baby lettuces such as baby kale, spinach, and chard
- ½ cup roasted pepitas
- 1 cup crumbled feta
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds from about 1 pomegranate
- ¼ cup lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup canola oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, harissa, salt and pepper. Add the diced sweet potatoes and toss until well coated.
- Spread sweet potatoes evenly onto a baking sheet and roast, tossing to turn once, until soft and golden brown, 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- To make the dressing, whisk together the lime juice, honey, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, and then the canola oil, whisking constantly to emulsify.
- In a large salad bowl toss the salad greens with dressing to taste. Divide between 4 plates. Top with sweet potatoes, pepitas, feta and pomegranate seeds.
I'm really excited to make this but I couldn't find Harissa, and after the overwhelm of looking, I just would like to use a substitute. Do you have any recommendations of specific hot sauces or what else I can add for flavor? Can I just omit? I can't really tolerate spicy food anyway! But I don't want to lose out on too much flavor. Story of my life when cooking!
Chili powder would be a good sub for harissa! It's usually less spicy than harissa too, depending on the brand. I'd go with about a 1/2 teaspoon. If ever you do come across harissa, the Mina brand (which is great) has a mild version 🙂
This looks wonderful!! Are the calories per serving or for the whole salad?
Per serving, although the calculator assumes that you will use all of the dressing, which you most likely won't!
So yummy! My family loved it.
Yay! I’m so glad Kelly!!
We make something very similar for Christmas. It's always a popular side dish.
I'm sure it is!! Thanks Danielle!
This salad looks so delicious and healthy! Perfect for weekdays lunch or dinner.
It's totally versatile!
I totally agree with you on the kale thing... Who's got time to massage kale? Here's to baby kale and that divine lime dressing ?
Indeed! Maybe we're missing out though, who knows?
Darlene @ Dip Recipe Creations
I love the idea of a fall salad! I'm with you on the kale thing- definitely prefer baby kale over regular kale.
Fall salads are the best!
I am with you. Sweet potatoes are a great root that has become a fairly regular item on our food planning, particularly in the Fall and Winter time. This recipe looks great. Thank s for sharing.
My favorite type of meal is a hearty salad. This one has such beautiful combination of delicious ingredients. I love it for fall. 🙂
Thank you so much Valentina!