Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

Serves 6-8
Alison Shaw Photo

Oven-roasted sweet potatoes and black beans make a wonderful salad combination, especially with the flavor pairings created here by Cathi DiCocco, chef/owner of Cafe DiCocoa in Bethel, Maine. Her uniquely delicious chipotle-sweet chile sauce dressing is a winner. I typically pick the smallest chipotle chile - they are spicy. (You can always add more.)

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Kernels from 3 to 4 ears of fresh corn, or 2 cups frozen kernels
2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained (canned is fine)
3 or 4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Chipotle-Chile Dressing
1 chipotle chile (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons Thai sweet chile sauce (such as Maesri brand)
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup canola oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato chunks with the oil to lightly coat them. Sprinkle with coriander, cumin, chile powder and salt and toss again. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until they are golden at the edges and just tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, microwave the corn in a small amount of water for 3 to 5 minutes, or steam it for 3 or 4 minutes. Drain excess water. In a large serving bowl, combine the corn and black beans.
  2. To make the dressing, in a blender or food processor, place the chipotle chile, garlic and sweet chile sauce. Process until mixture is smooth. Add the lime juice and process again. With the machine running, slowly add the canola oil and process dressing until it is emulsified.
  3. When the sweet potatoes are done, let cool slightly and add them to the corn and beans. Add scallions and cilantro; gently toss. Pour enough dressing over the salad to just moisten the ingredients and toss again.
From Raising the Salad Bar, by Catherine Walthers
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