Sweet Potato and Spinach Chopped Salad

A different kind of summer potato salad, this Sweet Potato and Spinach Chopped Salad with Apples, Pecans, Cherries and Goat Cheese is simply amazing!

Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad with Pecans, Cherries and Goat Cheese in a Round White Serving Bowl

I’ve occasionally shared where my inspiration comes from when I get the urge to make a certain dish. This one was from a friend on Facebook! I had posted over the course of a couple of days some of my favorite recipes for potato salad and she asked if I had a recipe for a sweet potato salad. I did not! Until now when that moment brought about this Sweet Potato and Spinach Chopped Salad.

Other than the sweet potatoes which I immediately added to my grocery list, everything else was on hand in either my fridge or pantry. It was somewhat prophetic too. The apples needed to be used and the cherries I had just purchased from Sprouts? Well I had no plan for them, so finding a recipe to use them in was perfect! No cherries? Substitute some dried cranberries; I will so make this a year round dish.

Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad with Pecans, Cherries and Goat Cheese Served with Barbecued Smoked Chicken on a Square Plate

The ingredient list really did come from what I had available, so don’t always worry with salads that you have the same exact ingredients…mix in your favorites too. This salad calls for: (complete list and recipe at bottom of page):

  • Spinach
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Apples
  • Sweet Cherries (or dried cranberries)
  • Toasted Pecans
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese

Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad with Pecans, Cherries and Goat Cheese Served in a White Bowl and Whole Cherries for Garnish

I am calling this a ‘chopped salad’ for a reason. While I have often simply shredded spinach by hand into bite site pieces, I recalled a wonderful little salad place I would go to with my friends called, you guessed it, ‘Chopped Salad.’ You would order the ingredient mix you liked and then the chefs would chop everything together before drizzling on your favorite dressing.

The result is lettuce that is more bite size, onion that is minced and bigger chunks of the featured ingredients, in this case the sweet potatoes, apples and cherries. I don’t know if it tastes any better really but one thing I do love with everything chopped; nothing is too large and so the mixture of ingredients on one forkful is always a great combination of everything in the salad.

This dressing is simply to die for. I contacted some neighbors once I finished taking photos of this salad; spinach does not hold up well after the fact and I knew I couldn’t save the salad for another meal so my friends Amy and Parul were the lucky recipients.

Closeup of Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad with Pecans, Cherries and Goat Cheese

Parul and her husband Sauraub are Indian and she makes the most amazing Indian food so I am always especially pleased when she enjoys something of mine and they LOVED the salad and were especially fond of the dressing. Sweet from the maple syrup and honey with a zing from the apple cider vinegar and accentuated perfectly with a touch of whole mustard.

While I do make a honey mustard dressing I enjoy that has mayonnaise, this is my new favorite…even if  you don’t try the salad you have to make this dressing!

For this dressing, even though we’re in the middle of summer, I couldn’t help but think of using an ingredient that I often do in the winter when I cook sweet potatoes and that was maple syrup. The tangy, sweet dressing with just a hint of heat was so perfect; I made double so that I would have leftovers for other salads…it really could be a standard in my fridge I love it so much!

This is all it takes! I almost used all maple syrup but decided to combine it with honey to thicken the mix a little and the two together were divine.

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle pepper

Don’t be afraid of the chipotle pepper; it’s not enough to make it hot but I like the flavor better than plain pepper. Want a bit more heat…add 1/4 teaspoon more or to taste. I served the salad with this Smoked Chicken with Peach and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce. Priceless!

We loved this so much I’m already thinking of new variations…I’ve always loved sweet potatoes but now I love them in summer too!

Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad with Pecans, Cherries and Goat Cheese in a Round White Serving Bowl Smoked Chicken Served with Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad with Pecans, Cherries and Goat Cheese

Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad with Pecans, Cherries and Goat Cheese in a Round White Serving Bowl
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spinach Chopped Salad

A sweet and tangy roasted sweet potato and spinach salad with cherries, pecans, apples, and goat cheese, all finished with a lovely maple/honey and mustard salad dressing.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Salads, Dressings, Marinades and Sauces
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories:
Author: Creative Culinary

Ingredients

For the Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

For the Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon chipotle or cayenne pepper

To Finish the Salad

  • 8 ounces fresh baby spinach washed
  • 2 medium apples chopped
  • ½ cup cherries chopped
  • ½ cup chopped pecans toasted
  • ½ cup goat cheese

Instructions

  • To Roast the Sweet Potatoes
  • Combine the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through and tender. Cool completely.
  • To Make the DressingCombine the dressing ingredients in a medium size bowl and beat with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  • To Make the Salad
  • Combine the spinach with the onion, apples, cherries (or dried cranberries), and pecans and mix well in a large bowl.
  • Add the cooked and cooled sweet potatoes and gently combine. Serve salad topped with dressing and crumbled goat cheese.

Notes

Only dress the greens you are ready to serve; the spinach will wilt if dressed and saved. If any leftovers, simply save the salad and the dressing separately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1grams

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One Comment

  1. Neat dish! I make a sweet potato salad that’s more like a traditional potato salad (although with Indian spices). It’s a great side dish, but this would make a terrific main or starter. Good stuff! Thanks.

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