This sweet potato arugula salad has it all: it’s easy to make, flavorful, and filling. The best part is that you can make the harissa-spiced sweet potatoes ahead of time, and then eat this delicious salad throughout the week.
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What is Harissa and Where Can You Find it?
Harissa is a North African condiment made out of hot peppers, garlic, herbs, and spices. It is usually sold as a paste, and it adds spice and a hint of tang to anything you put it in.
Tunisia, where harissa originates, is the biggest producer of this spice in the world.
In addition to using it to flavor roasted vegetables like the sweet potato in this sweet potato arugula salad, I also like to use harissa to spice up eggs, marinate meat, or add a kick to homemade soup.
How to Make a Perfectly Balanced Salad
I’m the pickiest eater when it comes to salads, so I’ve given a lot of thought to what makes a good one. Here are some tips for making perfectly balanced salads at home:
- Add some crunch: There is nothing more boring that a salad without contrasting textures. For this sweet potato arugula salad, I chose to use pepitas (a type of pumpkin seed) to add some crunch. You can also use nuts like walnuts or pecans or even chia seeds to add some texture to your salads.
- Pick hearty ingredients that will fill you up: having a salad for lunch and being hungry 2 hours later kind of defeats the whole purpose of eating a salad. That’s why I like to add roasted vegetables and avocado to salads. They will keep you full until dinner without the need for meat (but that is also an option!)
- Add some spice: most people don’t think about making salads spicy, but it’s a great way to add some variety to your salads. You can add spices to walnuts before roasting them or make a pepper-based dressing like this serrano-cilantro sauce to add spice to your salads.
Harissa-Spiced Sweet Potato Arugula Salad with Avocado
For the roasted sweet potatoes
- 3 cups Japanese (or regular) sweet potato cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp harissa paste
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
- 1/4 cup roasted pepitas (recipe follows)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 avocados halved and sliced
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 5 oz baby arugula washed
- Preheat your oven to 400℉.
- Place the harissa paste, garlic powder, vegetable oil, and a large pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk together until well combined. Add the sweet potato and toss to coat.
- Transfer the sweet potato to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the pieces of sweet potato into a single layer.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 min or until you can easily pierce the sweet potato with a fork. Toss the sweet potato at the 10 min mark to ensure that it browns evenly.
- Put the pepitas on a baking sheet and slide into the oven alongside the sweet potato. Cook for 5 min or until they go from green to a greenish brown. Transfer the pepitas to a small bowl and let them cool.
- Once the sweet potato is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it cool for 10 min.
- Place the arugula in a large bowl and season it with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well. Divide the arugula into 4 bowls or plates and top with harissa-spiced sweet potatoes, sliced avocado, and pepitas.
- Serve immediately.
- You can make the roasted sweet potato in advance and then assemble the salad later on. If properly stored, the roasted sweet potato will keep in the fridge for 5 days.
- If you don't care about the salad being vegan, you could also top it with some queso fresco, feta, or goat's cheese.
Here are other healthy salad recipes you might enjoy:
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