February 8, 2013

sweet potato salad

I went to visit my family in Houston in mid-January. The weather was absolutely gorgeoussunny and 70+°F every single day. I felt like I had come far far away from home, knowing that the Berkshires was in the single digits.

I did not know until this visit that Texas is one of the top growers of pecans in the US. I spotted quite a few vendors at farmer's markets selling local pecans. I thought it would make a nice souvenier for myself so I purchased a bag of fresh, partially shelled pecans.

So here there are. They traveled with me all the way back to the cold Massachusetts. I carefully removed the shells to leave the pecans whole. Each smooth oval shell contained a two-lobed seed. So adorable.

Here is a delightful salad that I made with Texas pecans. The combination of sweet, tart and salty flavors go perfectly well with the mild astringency and just the right amount of crunch provided by the toasted pecans.

makes 2 2/3 cups
1 medium sized sweet potato, diced (2 cups)
half of small onion, diced (1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp ume vinegar

1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
3 TBS kalamata olives, sliced
3 TBS vegan mayo (I used Earth Balance mindful mayo, which is soy free)
1 TBS dried cranberries (fruit juice sweetened)
freshly ground black pepper  


1. Place the diced sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring it to a boil, lower the flame and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until tender. Drain and let cool.

2. Put the diced red onion in a bowl and add ume vinegar. This brightens up the color and lightly pickles the red onion. If you don't like raw onions, you can simply omit it or lightly sauté the onion with ume vinegar.

3. Add the cooked sweet potatoes to the bowl and mix the rest of the ingredients.