We’ll its November. The air is chilly, it gets downright cold at night and in the morning our giant windows are frosted. We tricked and treated. We’ve set our clocks back and the skies darken now before six o’clock. Since our coats have become an essential part of our wardrobe I no longer feel guilty about powering up our oven and roasting vegetables for every meal, especially lunch.
I’ve been eating versions of this sweet potato salad for the past week and a half, and I have to tell you, it’s a mini-Thanksgiving meal, minus the turkey and the food coma. Perhaps your rolling your eyes at yet another salad here. The more astute of you have certainly picked up on the way I’m ping-ponging between salad and cookies, so I guess I should just come clean right now: my diet consists mainly of salad and cookies. With the holidays just around the corner I’m not going to feel bad about all the cookies. This salad is big on treats, too, some of the best fall has to offer: roasted sweet potatoes, spiced pears, cranberries and well-toasted pecans.
This one comes with another trusty jar vinaigrette (I might never go back). This one, a spiced pear vinaigrette, takes cues from the vinaigrette from the cauliflower salad I told you about a few weeks ago. There’s a lot of sweetness in this salad, between the sweet potatoes, the pears and the cranberries, a good-sized clove of smashed garlic and a handful of feta bring some needed balance. I thought for sure I’d tire of this salad after three straight days of having it for lunch or dinner or both, but instead its just setting the stage for the most wonderful meal of the year. Have you started to craft your Thanksgiving menu? I love hearing what people are most excited to make. I’ve been distracted and honestly feel unprepared, except when I’m eating this salad, and then I’m totally ready. Bring on the gravy.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Pear Salad
I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the salad that inspired it all.
Serves 2 as a main 4 as a side
- 1 medium sized sweet potato, cut at a 1/2 dice
- 1 medium pear, 1/2 dice
- 5-6 cups mixed greens
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup well-toasted pecans
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp pear juice
- 2-3 tsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 tsp all-spice
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 large garlic clove, smashed
- 1 tsp chopped fresh sage (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. Toss diced sweet potato with a tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt. Spread on a lined baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes, stirring every ten minutes to make sure the pieces roast evenly. After 25 minutes mix in the diced pears and return to the oven for 10 minutes more. (This can be done ahead of time.)
To make the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake until well combined. Set aside for 20 minutes or more, allowing for the flavors to meld. While the potatoes and pears are still warm toss with the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Add the greens to the bowl and toss to coat with the dressing. Finish the salad by topping with remaining ingredients. If your feeling iffy on a sweeter salad, use less cranberries, or omit them altogether, but whatever you do, don’t hold back on the pecans.