Food

Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad in a Lime Vinaigrette

Sweet and sour, dusted with salt and chili powder, this salad is inspired by a Lahore street food favourite.

Sweet and sour, dusted with salt and chili powder, this salad is inspired by a Lahore street food favourite

(Photo: Shayma Owaise Saadat)

The flavours of this salad are based on a street food favourite from my childhood in Lahore, Pakistan, where roasted sweet potatoes are served on sheets of newspaper, with squirts of fresh lime juice, and dusted with salt and red chili powder. In this salad, I have added nutty and earthy-flavoured green lentils from Puy, France. If you can’t find Le Puy lentils, feel free to use a North American variety of green lentils. It will be equally as delicious!

(For two more of my favourite lentil recipes, click here.)

Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad in a Sweet and Sour Lime Vinaigrette

The greens in this dish add a herbaceous note, while the honey-lime vinaigrette gives it a sweet and sour kick. This is wonderful as a meal on its own, but you can also enjoy it as an accompaniment to your main dish, (such as grilled meat, fish, or tofu).

Ingredients

  • 1½ lb sweet potatoes (about 3 small), peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)
  • 1 cup Le Puy green lentils (or other green lentils)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 dried whole red chili pepper
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils
  • 2 cups microgreens, such as cilantro, arugula, chrysanthemum (substitute, 1 cup arugula)

Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¾ cup olive oil

Preparation

For the vinaigrette:

Using a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, mustard, garlic and salt. Slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream, and continue to whisk until it emulsifies. 

Salad:

Preheat your oven to 425F degrees, and place the rack in the lower third of the oven. Toss the sweet potatoes with the oil, arrange them in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, and roast until the sweet potatoes appear bronzed and crispy along the edges, about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.

In the meantime, place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with enough cold water to cover by about two inches. Add the bay leaf, dried chili, garlic and salt. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises to the top. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and allow the lentils to simmer until they are tender but retain their shape, about 18-20 minutes. Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaf, dried chili and garlic clove. In a large mixing bowl, toss lentils with the cooled sweet potatoes, and sprinkle with red chili powder. Gently mix, then add red onion, pomegranate arils, and half of the microgreens. Drizzle half of the vinaigrette over top, and gently toss to combine. Transfer to a deep serving bowl and top with the remaining microgreens. Drizzle with the remainder of the vinaigrette and serve. 

Yield: Makes 4 servings


Shayma Owaise Saadat is a food writer and chef. She lives in Toronto with her husband and son. You can follow her culinary journey at www.shaymasaadat.com or on Instagram at @SpiceSpoon.

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