A little alliteration for you this late October. I have been crazy for sweet potatoes this season. These vibrant tubers get underused in my kitchen. They are standards in my Spicy Chili, and they get cubed and roasted with corn before I fold them into an enchilada casserole. But now, I am seeing this vitamin-A packed vegetable in a whole new light. And, I am following my body’s craving for the seasonal treat. And, sweets are now on next year’s garden plan. Wish me luck.
The original recipe calls for grilling, but sans grill, I opted for roasting after coating them in the orange juice/honey marinade. I’ve got my eye on a handy grill pan I can put atop the stove and get those fancy grill marks, but for now, roasting will suffice. This also brings out the sweet essence of the tubers. I replaced the Greek yogurt in this recipe from Fine Cooking with labneh, my latest obsession. It’s giving crème fraîche a run for its money. Labneh is yogurt cheese or kefir cheese, it’s cultured a bit longer than yogurt and it ends up thicker, with a cream cheese-like consistency and a lot of tang. Yummy! I like cutting the sweet starch of the potatoes with the creaminess of labneh. Feel free to use yogurt, sour cream or crème fraîche.
Sweet Potato, Pomegranate and Pistachio Salad
4 sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs.), peeled
1/4 cup, plus 3 T olive oil
1/3 cup plus 1 T orange juice
2 T pomegranate molasses
1 T red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sumac (optional)
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
3 T honey
1 T finely grated orange zest
2 T, chopped fresh mint
1 cup labneh
1/3 cup pistachios
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Slice peeled potatoes into strips 1/4 – 1/2″ wide. In a medium bowl, whisk 1/3 cup of orange juice, honey and orange zest. Whisk in 3 T of the olive oil. Pour orange juice/honey mixture over potato strips in a large bowl. Coat thoroughly. Put potatoes in a roasting pan, along with the juice mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes, basting strips a few times throughout. Let cool to room temperature.
2. For the dressing, mix together 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 1 T of the orange juice, molasses, vinegar, sumac and sugar in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Stir the chopped mint into the labneh, and season with salt and pepper.
4. Place cooled sweet potato strips on salad plates, Drizzle with pomegranate dressing. Sprinkle with pistachios and pomegranate seeds. Serve up a dollop of mint-flecked labneh.
* My photo is pre-pomegranate seeds and mint. Don’t forget both of these!
* Dried cranberries are a good stand-in for pomegranate seeds.
* I have served this with rice and atop a bed of Romaine. The dressing works well for both. Or simply use it as a side dish.