This roasted sweet potato salad is a salad lover’s dream! An easy Montmorency tart cherry juice dressing is drizzled over greens, plump tart cherries, chickpeas and toasted nuts. Tons of flavor in every bite! This post is written by me in partnership with the Michigan Cherry Committee.
Whenever this roasted sweet potato salad is served, it always outshines every other dish on the table. And there’s no doubt that you’ll want to make a double batch of the Montmorency tart cherry juice dressing to drizzle on salads all week long. It’s that good!
Serve this salad as a side dish with baked chicken breasts or grilled salmon, or dole out larger portions if you’re serving it as the entrée. And since it’s dairy-free, it’s a fantastic vegan salad option for any meal.
When roasted, sweet potatoes and onions take on a rich caramelized flavor and the natural sweetness of the vegetables are heightened. The perfect complement to the sour-sweet tart cherries! I’m a big proponent of hitting every part of the tastebuds and this roasted vegetable salad does just that. It turns this salad from “just another side dish” into a really satisfying meal.
What you need for this sweet potato salad recipe:
These are the main components of this recipe:
- Montmorency tart cherries: Plump, juicy and nutrient-packed, Montmorency tart cherries add that perfect sour-sweet flavor. They can be found at most well-stocked grocery stores. Be sure to look specifically for Montmorency tart cherries grown in the U.S.
- Sweet potatoes: Look for the red-skinned (orange inside) sweet potatoes. Grocery stores often label these as yams, even though they’re not actually yams. They’re simply a different type of sweet potato than the lighter skin varietal. The red-skinned ones are the ones often served at Thanksgiving.
- Onion: Red-skinned onions are fantastic when roasted. Sweet onions or regular onions work well in this recipe, too.
- Olive oil: You’ll need some for roasting the veggies and more for the dressing.
- Maple syrup: Pure maple syrup has the best flavor. It’s used for roasting the veggies and in the dressing.
- Seasoning: Cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper. If you’re sensitive to spice, use less cayenne or leave it out altogether.
- Greens: I used mixed baby greens, but spinach, red leaf lettuce, green lettuce or Boston bibb lettuce can be substituted.
- Chickpeas: For ease, use canned chickpeas. Drain and rinse them well.
- Almonds: Toast the slivered almonds in a dry skillet set over medium heat until starting to brown. Watch carefully and stir often because the pesky little suckers tend to burn as soon as you turn your back.
- Montmorency tart cherry juice: This is the base of the dressing. Look for tart cherry juice produced in the U.S. (more on that below). It can be found in most well-stocked grocery stores or health food stores.
- Other dressing ingredients: Red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper round out the dressing.
Tips for making this sweet potato salad:
It may look as though there are a lot of steps to making this salad, but it’s actually really simple. Most of the prep work, including the making the dressing, can be done while the veggies are roasting.
Roast the veggies:
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 3/4-inch pieces. Cut the red onion into wedges, then into 1-inch pieces (the rings will separate – that’s okay). Toss the onions with olive oil and the sweet potatoes with olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Roast until the potatoes are tender and turning brown, giving them a turn partway through.
If your baking sheet doesn’t comfortably fit all of the veggies in a single layer without over-crowding, divide them between two baking sheets. Rotate the baking sheets between the middle and bottom racks when you stir them.
Make the dressing:
This is a simple vinaigrette and just needs a little whisking. First whisk together the Montmorency tart cherry juice, vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper. While whisking slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Done!
Compose the salad:
Place the greens in a large serving bowl and toss with three-quarters of the dressing. Top with the Montmorency tart cherries, roasted sweet potatoes and onions, chickpeas and toasted almonds. Drizzle the rest of the dressing over top. Serve it up!
Benefits of U.S. Montmorency tart cherry juice:
U.S. Montmorency tart cherries and tart cherry juice are often showcased as a superfruit, and rightfully so! More and more research is becoming available, showing the benefits of this ruby-colored fruit, both in whole and juiced forms.
If you exercise, I have good news for you! Some studies, such as this one and this one have shown that consumption of U.S. Montmorency tart cherry juice may help speed recovery and reduce that nagging day-after muscle pain after intensive exercise.
Studies such as this one have shown that Montmorency tart cherries may help to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), which is linked to heart disease.
And if you struggle with insomnia or feel that the quality of your sleep could be better (I mean, who doesn’t?!), there’s more good news. Montmorency tart cherries are reported to contain high level of melatonin, which can help with regulating sleep. Check out this study for more details.
Tips for buying Michigan Montmorency tart cherry juice:
The beauty of U.S. Montmorency tart cherries is that they’re available year-round, both as dried cherries and tart cherry juice. The cherries are harvested at their peak in summertime and dried or juiced to retain their bold color and flavor.
In my Pancakes in a Mug post, starring tart cherries, I showed you how to determine whether dried tart cherries were grown in the U.S. Now let’s take a look at Montmorency tart cherry juice.
As with most ingredients, buying products that are grown closer to home means that you’re purchasing something that hasn’t been traveling for weeks en route to the grocery store. Imported dried cherries and juices often travel up to 5000 miles before reaching the store.
When looking for U.S. grown Montmorency tart cherry juice, turn the bottle around and look closely for the “Product of (country)” label. See the photo below.
Tart cherry juice produced in the U.S. may list the origin on either the front or the back of the bottle.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can the vegetables be roasted ahead of time?
Roasted vegetables are pure perfection when served soon after cooking. That being said, they hold up quite well when refrigerated in an airtight container for a day or two, which I often do when I meal prep my favorite roasted vegetable bowl.
If you like, you can reheat the vegetables in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, or gently reheat them in a skillet. However, they are equally good when tossed into the salad cold.
What if I don’t have red wine vinegar?
No problem. Substitute with white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
What can I use instead of chickpeas?
If chickpeas aren’t your thing, substitute with white kidney beans or cannellini beans. For another vegan option, toss the salad with baked tofu. For a heartier option for the meat lovers, add grilled chicken or grilled shrimp.
Sweet Potato Salad with Tart Cherry Dressing
- 1 1/2 lb. sweet potato peeled & cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 4 teaspoons olive oil divided
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (See Note 1)
- 1 large red onion cut into wedges, then cut into 1-inch pieces, rings separated (See Note 2)
- 8 cups mixed greens
- 1 cup canned chickpeas rinsed & drained
- 1/3 cup Montmorency dried tart cherries
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted in a dry skillet
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 3 teaspoons olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and cayenne. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread in a single layer.
- In a separate bowl, toss the red onion pieces with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/8 tsp salt. Scatter the red onion pieces between the sweet potatoes so that they’re all in a single layer.
- Roast for 20 minutes. Using a spatula, flip and stir the sweet potatoes and onions. Return to the oven, placing them on the bottom rack. Roast until the sweet potatoes are tender and browning on the bottom side, about 10 additional minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
- Place the mixed greens in a large serving bowl. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Top with the roasted sweet potatoes and onions, chickpeas, dried tart cherries and slivered almonds.
- Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of tart cherry dressing. Serve.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the tart cherry juice, red wine vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
- While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil.
Disclosure: Disclosure: This post was written by me in partnership with the Michigan Cherry Committee. All opinions are my own. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.