Roasted Sweet Potato Salad features spinach, apples, dried cranberries, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and feta cheese, as well as an easy homemade maple-lime salad dressing. It's a healthy everyday salad that takes only 30 minutes to make and is meatless and gluten-free. You can also serve it as a festive side dish for any holiday dinner, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Sweet potato salad
This is one of those salads that is really easy to make as a delicious sidekick to a simple weeknight dinner even though it looks fancy enough to serve company. The recipe takes only 30 minutes with the only time-consuming part (not really!) being roasting cubed sweet potatoes in the oven. This meatless and gluten-free sweet potato salad is bursting with Autumn flavors and will make a great addition to your traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas menu. You can also make it year-round since sweet potatoes are available pretty much all year.
If you like the vibrancy and colors of this recipe, make sure to check out my other very popular Fall salad: Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Pecans, Cranberries, Pomegranate Seeds, and Poppy Seed Honey-Lime Dressing. You will have a hard time deciding which one of these two you will like the best!
What makes a perfect holiday salad? To me, that means using colorful and festive ingredients that will brighten any holiday table. It also means using the ingredients that are appropriate for the season. This roasted sweet potato salad ticks all the boxes for the Fall and Winter holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve).
In this recipe, I use the ultimate Autumn ingredients, such as sweet potatoes, pecans, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and maple syrup. The end result is a gorgeous, colorful meal that is cozy, warm, and inviting as Autumn itself.
- Sweet potatoes. I used orange sweet potatoes - peeled and cubed into 1-inch chunks. Then, I roasted them in the oven. This is the only time-consuming part of the recipe, but it can also be done 1 or 3 days in advance.
- Spinach is a perfect choice of green for an Autumn salad. You can also use arugula or kale instead.
- Dried cranberries. This fruit is a classic Fall ingredient, and its sweetness fits perfectly with the rest of the ingredients. You can also use dried figs, blueberries, or cherries.
- Pecans. Lightly toasted pecans add crunch and nutty flavor to the sweet potato salad.
- Pumpkin seeds also add crunch to the salad. I toasted them in the oven as well.
- Apples. I used 1 small red apple (Fuji, you can also use Gala or Honey Crisp) and 1 small green apple (Granny Smith). I did not peel the apples for presentation purposes.
- Feta cheese adds creaminess.
- Simple dressing. To keep everything easy, the sweet potato salad is dressed with a basic homemade dressing made with just 3 ingredients: maple syrup, olive oil, and lime juice. Use freshly squeezed lime juice and extra virgin olive oil. You can use either maple syrup or honey.
How to roast sweet potatoes
- First, make sure you have peeled and cubed sweet potatoes.
- Toss them with olive oil, salt, and ground black pepper on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in one layer, without overcrowding.
- Roast on the middle rack in the preheated oven at 400 F for about 15 or 20 minutes until the desired softness.
How to make a simple honey-lime salad dressing
- In a medium bowl combine ¼ cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey.
- Whisk until emulsified.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste if desired.
How to make sweet potato salad
- Roast the sweet potatoes in the preheated oven at 400 F for about 15 or 20 minutes.
- Toast the pecans and pumpkin seeds in the preheated oven at 400 F for about 5 or 10 minutes. Watch them at all times as they can burn quickly!
- Make the salad dressing by combining together extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lime juice, and honey in a mason jar. Whisk with a fork, or close with the lid and shake to emulsify.
- Assemble the salad in a large serving bowl by combining baby spinach, chopped apples, dried cranberries, roasted sweet potatoes, toasted pecans, pumpkin seeds, and feta cheese.
- Toss with the homemade dressing to combine everything well.
Substitution, variations, and cooking tips
- Sweet potatoes can be replaced with roasted butternut squash.
- Greens. Pick your favorite greens for this salad: spinach, arugula, kale, or even broccoli!
- Nuts. You can use toasted pecans or walnuts in this recipe. Candied nuts would work great too. Or, skip the nuts and use toasted pumpkin seeds only.
- Pumpkin seeds taste amazing in this salad. You can skip them since the salad also has pecans. You can also use sunflower seeds.
- Dried fruit. You can use dried cranberries, blueberries, figs, or cherries.
- Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. The parchment paper minimized the cleanup.
- Avoid overcrowding when roasting. When adding cubed sweet potatoes to the parchment-lined baking sheet, avoid overcrowding. Keeping the cubes separate will ensure they get crispy and crunchy instead of steaming.
- Use time efficiently. While the sweet potatoes are roasted in the oven, make the salad dressing and assemble the rest of the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Serve it hot or cold? Serve sweet potato salad warm or at room temperature (not refrigerator cold).
Can you make it ahead?
This salad can be made in advance. Here are some tips:
- Roast the cubed sweet potatoes in advance and store them in a separate container.
- Toast the nuts and seeds and store them in a small bowl.
- Prepare the salad dressing in a mason jar.
- When you are ready to serve, assemble the salad together in under 15 minutes! The only lengthy step in this recipe is roasting the sweet potatoes, toasting the nuts and seeds - and all of that can be done in advance!
How to store it
Refrigerate the leftover salad in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Other sweet potato recipes you might like
- Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes
- Baked Chicken Thighs and Sweet Potatoes with Spinach in creamy Parmesan Sauce
- Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup with Mushrooms and Sweet Potatoes
- Creamy Sausage Tortellini Soup with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potato Salad
Roasted sweet potatoes
- 1 lb sweet potatoes (2 medium sweet potatoes)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
Maple lime dressing
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 2 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed
- 6 oz baby spinach
- 1 small green apple chopped
- 1 small red apple chopped
- ⅓ cup pecans toasted
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds toasted
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup feta cheese
Roast sweet potatoes
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Dice peeled sweet potatoes into ½-inch or 1-inch thick pieces. Add them to a mixing bowl along with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt and toss to combine.
- Spread sweet potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Roast at 400 F for 15 or 20 minutes on a medium rack. Mine were done after 10-15 minutes of roasting in a convection oven. Remove from the oven and let cool. Proceed with the rest of the recipe while the sweet potatoes are roasted.
Make salad dressing
- In a mason jar, combine all of the ingredients for the salad dressing. Whisk together with a fork until emulsified.
- Add baby spinach, chopped apples, toasted pecans (some of them chopped), toasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, feta cheese, and roasted sweet potatoes to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the salad dressing. Toss to combine. Distribute the salad into individual bowls (or into a large serving bowl) and serve.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
I made this yesterday. The dressing is perfect! Love anything with maple syrup this time of year.
Jane, glad you tried it and loved it! 🙂
My husband and I really enjoyed this but I made a few minor changes. I added some diced crisp bacon, finely diced red onion, and substituted walnuts for the pecans. I also tossed the sweet potato cubes with a bit of sugar/cinnamon mixture before roasting in the air fryer. They were delicious!
Vivian, I love all your changes! Thank you for sharing them - I am sure other readers will want to try some of your ideas!
Your recipes always look spectacular. I can't wait to try it and make it for Thanksgiving! What is a good substitute for apples?
Tina, pears would be the next best choice. Choose pears with a firm texture as they tend to be mushy - mushy won't work here. Also chopped mango or mandarin orange slices.