This Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Citrus Tahini Dressing is an elegant, vibrant and gourmet salad just perfect for the holidays.
Staying in tune with seasonal ingredients, this Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Citrus Tahini Dressing hits all the rights notes for the holiday season. The combination of textures, flavours and colours in this salad make it one that your guests are sure to remember and a perfect starter or side dish for your holiday meal.
Holidays and celebrations require special salads and this particular one sparkles. The salad greens are embellished with caramelized sweet potatoes, toasted pine nuts, crunchy red onions, juicy and sweet ruby red pomegranate seeds and warm and salty halloumi cheese. Best of all, this salad is dressed with a delicious citrusy tahini dressing.
If you decide to make this salad as part of your holiday spread, I would recommend you plan ahead. This is what I like to call a special occasions salad and does take some time to prepare. But you could speed things up by getting some of it done the day before your special event. Pomegranates take some time to de-seed, so take the time to do it the day before. Same thing goes for toasting the pine nuts and making the citrus tahini dressing. If you get those three things done ahead of time, then all that is left is for you to do on the day of your event is to roast the sweet potatoes and prepare your greens. For optimal results, pan frying the halloumi needs to be done as close as possible to serving time.
The recipe for the Citrus Tahini Dressing and the technique for frying the halloumi cheese are adapted from Suzanne Husseini’s Modern Flavors of Arabia cookbook. I love Suzanne’s citrus infused tahini dressing and find it complements this salad perfectly (by the way, this is not a sponsored post, I just like Suzanne’s recipes and recommend her book to all who enjoy Middle-Eastern food). Hope you give this salad a try, just like this recipe for Pomegranate, Pear and Pecan Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette I posted last year, it’s really worth the extra effort and time. Enjoy!
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
- 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes
- 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 cups baby romaine lettuce or your favourite blend
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
- 250 grams halloumi cheese goat or feta cheese are also good choices
Citrus Tahini Dressing* (see note)
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup tahini
- 1 lemon freshly squeezed juice
- orange zest of half an orange
- 1/2 orange, freshly squeezed juice
- 1 tbsp. honey adjust sweetness according to taste.
- 1/2 tsp. ground sumac** optional (see recipe note)
- 1/2 cup water more or less, to thin out tahini to desired consistency.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-size cubes (about 1 inch). Add the sweet potatoes to a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to coat the sweet potatoes with oil and seasonings.
- Roast sweet potatoes in the oven for 10 minutes, flip and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender and start to caramelize. Let cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, de-seed the pomegranate and set aside one cup of the seeds for the salad.
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet cooking over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until lightly golden. Be careful, they burn easily! Set aside.
- Slice the red onion and set aside.
- Wash and dry the salad greens.
- Top salad greens with roasted sweet potatoes, red onions, pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts.
- Just before serving the salad, use a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture from the halloumi. Lightly dredge the slices of halloumi in all-purpose flour. Melt 2 teaspoons of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Pan fry the halloumi cheese until golden, flip and cook until golden on the other side, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
Citrus Tahini Dressing
- In a mortar and pestle, crush 1 garlic clove with 1/2 tsp. of salt. Mash until garlic and salt for a paste.
- In a medium bowl, combine the tahini, garlic paste, lemon juice, orange zest and juice. Slowly add 1/2 cup of water, whisking until the sauce is well blended. Taste and adjust to your liking. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a teaspoon of water at a time until you have reached the desired consistency.