In a holiday season notorious for sweet potato casseroles topped with marshmallows and candied nuts, we like to play it unconventional. We love the warm spices and fresh herbs of this Moroccan sweet potato salad. A fragrant dish with a nod toward North African seasonings, the sweet potatoes are roasted until they are lightly crisped, flavored with an aromatic, garlic and lemon infused-Charmoula vinaigrette, and topped with feta, cilantro and pomegranate. Charmoula is a traditional Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian marinade that is traditionally used in fish and vegetable dishes. Moroccan sweet potato salad is a winner with guests and an unusual twist on the seasonal sweet potato. We adapted this recipe from Diane Morgan’s fantastic cookbook Roots.
Yield: Serves four as a side, or two as a main
- 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup feta, cubed or crumbled
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
- 1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup parsley, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 425.
- For the sweet potatoes: Mix the cubed sweet potatoes, olive oil and salt together in a large bowl until the potatoes are coated with the oil. Reserve bowl for later use.
- Prepare a baking sheet with a baking mat or tin foil to make clean up easier. Spread the sweet potatoes evenly on a baking sheet.
- Roast the sweet potatoes uncovered for 25-35 minutes on the middle oven rack, rotating the pan and flipping the sweet potatoes, halfway through cooking. Your sweet potatoes may take more time depending on the following factors such as your oven temperature, the variety of sweet potato and size you cut them into. Don’t worry, just keep roasting until the potatoes are easy to crush with a fork, lose their raw texture and begin to brown.
- For the charmoula vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon, cumin, garlic, salt, paprika, cinnamon and cayenne.
- Transfer the cooked sweet potatoes back to the large bowl, pour over the charmoula vinaigrette and mix gently with a spatula to combine.
- Prior to serving, mix in the toppings (feta, pomegranate seeds, cilantro and parsley). This salad can be made ahead of time and is delicious as a leftover. Make sure to bring it to room temperature prior to serving and reserve the feta and herbs until serving.
The Hungry Hounds is the food blog of Paul and Rebecca Shetler Fast, who serve with Mennonite Central Committee in Haiti. Learn more about MCC Haiti at their blog, www.haitimcc.org.