Sweet Potato and Black Bean Mexican Salad

No matter how you slice it, it’s been a long winter. Here in Washington, DC we can literally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We enjoyed a weekend with two (yes, TWO) sunny days in a row, bright yellow daffodils are popping up all around, the smell of “fresh” mulch is in the air and the notorious cherry blossoms have bloomed. Hallelujah!

Many of you are ready. I mean, it’s not like we didn’t know that the sun would finally come out and that the sweaters would be stored away–or possibly even burned–after a season of such heavy use. So you’ve been at the gym, running those extra miles, cutting back on the indulgences that get us through the cold, grey months. Well, la dee da–good on you. 

Others of us, need to take immediate action. A pedicure is in order (baring the body from the toes up is a strategy that works for me) and replacing that pasta dinner with a hearty salad is a great next step. This Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad won’t shock your system. It is a significant salad that will fill you up while making you feel good about what you’re eating. The rainbow of colors alone, signal your body that much needed vitamins are on their way.

So go ahead, take baby steps if, like me, you are surprised that Spring has actually sprung. Enjoy this salad and start removing those layers. And if you are ready and waiting in your sleeveless tops and short dresses, then here’s another recipe you can enjoy with that smug grin. Happy Spring!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Mexican Salad

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Mexican Salad

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Mexican Salad
Serves 4
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For Salad
  1. 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  2. 1 Tbls olive oil
  3. salt and pepper, to taste
  4. 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
  5. 2-3 c baby spinach, chopped
  6. 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  7. 1 large tomato, chopped (or a handful of cherry/grape tomatoes, halved)
  8. 1 c corn (fresh, frozen, or canned-rinsed and drained)
  9. 1 large avocado, diced
  10. 1 c chopped purple cabbage
  11. 1/2 c chopped cilantro
  12. 1/4 c chopped scallion
  13. 1 lime, for juicing over salad
  14. kosher salt, sprinkling
  15. salsa or pico de gallo, if desired
For Creamy Avocado Dressing
  1. 2 ripe avocados, halved, seeded and scooped from peel
  2. 3 Tbls plain Greek yogurt
  3. 1/2-1 c low-fat buttermilk (make 1 cup with 1 c low-fat milk + 1 Tbls white vinegar, sit for 10 minutes at room temp before using)
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
  6. 2 Tbls scallion, chopped
  7. 1 small jalapeƱo pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  8. 2-3 Tbls fresh lime juice
  9. 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  10. 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  11. ground black pepper, to taste
For Salad
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Place the chopped sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Place sheet in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Using a spatula, toss the sweet potatoes. Roast for an additional 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Place chopped lettuce and spinach in a large bowl. Top lettuce with roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes, corn, avocado, purple cabbage, cilantro, and green onion. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the salad and sprinkle with salt.
  4. Serve with salsa or pico de gallo, if desired and Creamy Avocado Dressing.
For the Creamy Avocado Dressing
  1. Combine all of the dressing ingredients (starting with 1/2 c of buttermilk) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add up to 1/2 c more buttermilk if needed to achieve desired consistency.
Notes
  1. This salad is very flexible. You can roast or grill the corn if you'd like. Throw in some broken tortilla chips for extra crunch. Feel free to add your favorite Mexican toppings to the mix.
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
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