The Crisper Whisperer: Sweet Potato Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing Recipe

Crisper Whisperer

Cook through your crisper surplus with ease.

The Crisper Whisperer: Sweet Potato Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing Recipe

Note: You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays with ideas on preparing fruits and vegetables.

[Photograph: Carolyn Cope]

Hi, Mom, it's me. Pretty good, thanks, but ay yi yi, I can't believe you still call me Sweet Potato. I mean, I'm 19. I'm choosing a major in, like, a month. (Just so you know, I'm leaning toward environmental philosophy right now.) I kissed another—oh, never mind. I just don't think any of that screams Sweet Potato, if you know what I mean. I guess it's kind of endearing, though.

Now a sophomore in college, Sweet Potato calls home and shows she's not all marshmallows and syrup anymore.

Anyway, I'm just calling to find out about plans for Thanksgiving? Are you guys picking me up or should I use your credit card to buy a train ticket or what? Oh, and is it OK if I invite Jewel and Garnet again? I think Jewel might have stopped talking about your cornbread stuffing for like a minute and a half last April, but I wouldn't sign my name to that. Oh, whew, thanks. I kind of already told them they could come. You're the best!

Oh, there is one thing. Garnet isn't eating any meat or dairy right now. That should be fine, right? She can eat, like, the green beans with mushrooms and a popover, I guess. Or wait, isn't there butter in those? Oh well, I'm sure you'll come up with something brilliant, right? You always do. I mean, you made me, didn't you? OK, Mom, love you, gotta run. Jonathan Safran Foer is speaking, and it starts in, like, two minutes. I'm so excited!

Sweet Potato Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing

Adapted from many Thanksgivings ago, when I felt I had more to prove. Although this recipe might not have jumped out at me today, I'm thankful for the youthful torments that made it a lasting part of my recipe box. It's a great vegan option and would stand up well to the addition of some cooked French lentils or black beans if you doubled the dressing.


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced small
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper


  1. 1.

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the diced sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and some salt and pepper on a sheet pan. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer and roast until just tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly and then transfer to a large bowl along with the bell pepper, scallions and cilantro.

  2. 2.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice and zest, chili powder, cumin, a couple of generous pinches of salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad; toss gently. Serve warm, at room temperature or even chilled. This salad can be made up to a day ahead and in fact improves with a little rest time.