Vegetarians and vegans realize how challenging it can be to cook for them, especially around the holidays. While most of the side dishes surrounding the centerpiece, the turkey, provide many non-meat options, it’s always fun to offer vegetarian and vegan guests a special treat.
Recipes like this Hot and Zesty Sweet Potato Salad will be thoroughly enjoyed by all your holiday guests. Even gluten-sensitive folks can eat this yummy dish!
This colorful and festive recipe has the added bonus of using seasonal and nutritious sweet potatoes or yams as the main ingredient, and the dual feature of being able to be served hot or cold!
For these chilly autumn and winter get-together’s, serve it hot; then, next summer, serve it cold for a special Memorial Day or 4th of July picnic!
Hot and Zesty Sweet Potato Salad
- 4 medium sweet potatoes or yams, cubed – peeling is optional
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 block firm tofu, cubed – optional
- 1 cup pecans, broken and toasted (can be raw; toasting adds a flavor burst)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium jalapenos, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. Paint a thin coat of olive oil on a baking sheet. Spread sweet potatoes or yams, onions and tofu (if using), on the baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil. Bake, turning occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until veggies are toasty brown.
To toast the pecans: break up the pecans by hand or chop rough; spread on oil-coated pan and toast for about 10 minutes in a 350F oven, turning a few times.
In a medium-sized small bowl, blend together jalapenos, garlic and lime juice. Add beans and red pepper.
In your serving bowl, add bean and pepper mixture; toss in the warm potatoes, tofu, onion and pecans. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with cilantro and serve!
To serve cold, simply refrigerate for a few hours prior to serving. This recipe serves 6.
One vegetable, lots of nutrition: the sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious vegetables in the world. Livestrong tells us:
The sweet potato contains approximately 21,900 IU of vitamin A. This is over 400 percent of the daily value for vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Vitamin A is essential for proper vision, and carotenoids such as beta-carotene enhance immune function and may help to prevent future disease.
The sweet potato contains about 22 mg of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. About 37 percent of the daily value for vitamin C is contained in the sweet potato.Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant. Antioxidants are scavengers for free radicals that can harm cells and lead to disease.
The sweet potato contains about 16 percent of the daily value for vitamin B-6. Vitamin B-6 is essential as a coenzyme in chemical reactions in the body, or metabolism. The vitamin is important for the proper metabolism of amino acids as well as glycogen. Potassium is found inside and outside of cells, affecting nerve transmission and muscle contraction. The sweet potato contains about 15 percent of the daily value for potassium.
Holiday meal planning is underway! Add this great dish to your list and delight all your guests!
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