Mexican Sweet Potato Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette

Mexican Sweet Potato Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette combines healthy roasted sweet potatoes with peppery arugula and thin-sliced red onion with a zesty chipotle vinaigrette… optional bleu cheese and pepitas make this a spectacular vegetarian main dish salad or side dish with your mains!

A plate of Mexican Sweet Potato Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette combines healthy roasted sweet potatoes with peppery arugula and thin-sliced red onion with a zesty chipotle vinaigrette... optional bleu cheese and pepitas make this a spectacular vegetarian main dish salad or side dish with your mains! next to a large bowl of salad with flatware, grey napkin, and a beer.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – Recipe Inspiration

This healthy and substantial vegetarian side or main dish salad probably doesn’t remind you of typical “Mexican food.” I have rarely been in a Mexican-American restaurant that offered salads more varied and interesting than the shredded lettuce and tomato on the side of “combo plate #1.” 😆

Having followed Rick Bayless (celebrity chef) for years, I expanded my understanding of “Mexican food.” It is a rich and varied cuisine! I have several of his cookbooks, and many of his recipes are plant-based. His Sweet Potato with Caramelized Onions, Watercress, and Guajillo Dressing recipe was the inspiration for this Mexican Sweet Potato Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette

I am always looking for side dishes for my Mexican-inspired mains that go beyond rice and beans. This salad is substantial enough to stand alone, but it’s also makes a healthy side dish. Read on for more specifics!

What makes this salad “Mexican?”

The short answer? The chipotle vinaigrette brings it on! The earthy, smoky, pungent heat of chipotles is really all you need… Toasted pepitas, if used as a garnish, are definitely a typical Mexican ingredient, but it’s the dressing that sets this salad apart.

📋 Ingredients You’ll Need

Sweet Potato Salad Ingredients

  • sweet potatoes – I specify standard sweet potatoes, but you can substitute other firm root vegetables if you’re so inclined.
  • arugula – I love the peppery flavor of arugula, but other tender greens – baby kale, spinach, watercress – are great options as well.
  • red onion – I specify thinly-sliced red onion, and if I have time, I soak them in salted ice water for 15-30 minutes. Alternatively, you can cut the red onion in thin wedges, and roast the pieces with the sweet potatoes.
  • garlic – My preference is to use roasted garlic cloves in the chipotle vinaigrette. I use 3 in the vinaigrette, and store the remainder in a zip bag in the refrigerator for another use. Roast the garlic alongside the sweet potatoes.
  • garnishes – Bleu cheese and toasted pepitas are my favorites! Some crumbled cotija or queso fresco are good cheese options. If you want to keep your sweet potato salad vegan, eliminate the cheese, and serve with avocado, lime wedges, toasted pepitas, and chopped cilantro.
Mexican sweet potato salad ingredients: Pepitas, cubed sweet potatoes, bleu cheese, thin-sliced red onion, arugula, on a grey background.
Mexican Sweet Potato Salad Ingredients

Chipotle Vinaigrette

  • olive oil
  • sherry vinegar – I love the smooth, nutty quality of sherry vinegar. Rick Bayless suggests balsamic for a sweeter vinaigrette. I would omit the sugar if you use balsamic.
  • garlic – If I have time, I roast the garlic first. The garlic loses its edge, and gets sweet and nutty. If you don’t have time, or don’t have a bulb of garlic on hand, raw garlic is fine. You might want to reduce it from 3 cloves to 1 or 2.
  • chipotle chile – Chipotles are smoked jalapeños, and they are typically canned in adobo – a Mexican sauce or condiment that includes red chiles, spices, and vinegar. If heat is a problem, start by adding just 1/2 of a chipotle.
  • shallot – I almost always add a shallot to my salad dressings. You can substitute a small wedge of a red or sweet onion.
  • sugar – I like turbinado or piloncillo (cane sugar). Brown sugar is fine.
The ingredients for the chipotle vinaigrette: olive oil, garlic, shallot, chipotle, sugar, sherry vinegar.
Chipotle Vinaigrette Ingredients

🔪 Instructions

A stoneware roasting pan with diced sweet potatoes and a bulb of garlic before roasting.
  • Prepare the sweet potatoes and garlic – Preheat your oven to 400°. Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut into a 3/4″ dice. Cut off the base end of the garlic to expose the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until sweet potatoes are tender (25-30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on the garlic.
The roasted sweet potatoes and garlic after they're cooked in a stoneware roasting pan.
  • Finish the sweet potatoes – Make sure they’re tender when pierced with a fork. While they cool, prepare the onions, toasted pepitas, cheese, etc.
  • While the potatoes roast, prepare the red onions. Slice them as thin as you can get them. Add them to a bowl with ice, water, and salt. Allow them to soak 15-30 minutes, then rinse and drain.
  • Make the chipotle vinaigrette – If you’re waiting for roasted garlic, get your garnishes ready first (bleu cheese, toasted pepitas, avocado, etc.). Get all of the vinaigrette ingredients into a blender or processor. The garlic will probably be ready before the sweet potatoes, so keep an eye on it. Remove it, and when it’s cool enough to handle, pop 3 cloves into the blender. Purée until smooth, check seasoning, and adjust if necessary. Set aside.
  • Make the salad – Toss the prepared roasted sweet potatoes, the prepared onions, and the arugula with the chipotle vinaigrette.
  • To serve – Plate the salad, garnish as desired, and enjoy!
The roasted sweet potatoes, arugula, and prepared red onion in a black salad bowl, the chipotle vinaigrette in a glass bowl, copper salad tongs, and grey napkin.
The Chipotle Vinaigrette (upper left) and the prepared roasted sweet potatoes, crisp arugula, and thin-sliced red onions prior to being tossed and served…

🥗 Recipe Riffs

In my previous life, before I had a food blog, I rarely used a cookbook, and I never wrote anything down. I thought of “recipes” as more of a “template.” In that spirit, I’ve included a few ideas for making this healthy salad your own.

  • Use water cress, baby kale, or spinach in place of the arugula.
  • Substitute roasted butternut squash, pumpkin, or delicata squash for the sweet potatoes.
  • Roast onion wedges with the sweet potatoes instead of using thin-sliced raw onions.
  • Purée rehydrated red chile (ancho or guajillo) in place of the chipotle.
  • Substitute lime juice for the vinegar, and 1/2 cup cilantro leaves for the chipotle in the vinaigrette to make a cilantro-lime dressing.
  • Add a cup of cooked quinoa to the salad to round it out and keep it vegan!
  • Sliced or cubed avocado is a great addition to the salad, and it’s vegan as well.

🍷 Pairing Suggestions

This roasted sweet potato salad can stand on its own as a healthy and filling vegetarian main dish salad, especially if you add some toasted pepitas, cheese, cooked black beans, and/or quinoa. If you aim to serve it as a healthy Mexican side dish, consider tajín chicken or chamoy glazed salmon to keep it simple.

So, we’re probably drinking a dry Spanish-style rosé with this sweet potato salad because we’re either eating it as a vegetarian main dish salad or with fish or chicken. Craft beer lovers will appreciate a summer saison or a wheat beer.

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. This helps to offset the costs of maintaining my blog and creating awesome content! 😊

Ninja Personal Blender

Do you love bleu (blue) cheese like I do? Check out this chicken broccoli and bleu cheese pasta! Summer is in full-swing in south Texas, and it’s salad time. I hope you’ll give this Mexican-inspired salad a whirl!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.
A close up of the completed Mexican sweet potato salad with chipotle vinaigrette on a black stoneware plate with black flatware and grey napkin.

A black stoneware plate with sweet potato and arugula salad garnished with bleu cheese and toasted pepitas, black flatware, and a grey napkin.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette

A zesty chipotle vinaigrette brings the Mexican "kick" to this healthy, substantial roasted sweet potato and arugula salad. Customize it with toasted pepitas, bleu or cotija cheese, avocado, and more! Buen provecho!
4.75 from 4 votes

Click to rate!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings (side) or 2 (main)
Calories 247 kcal

Ingredients
  

Sweet Potato Salad Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil - a drizzle
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3 cloves roasted or 1 clove raw garlic - see post
  • 1 small red onion - thinly-sliced
  • 5 ounces arugula

Chipotle Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar - see Tips in post
  • ½ to 1 chipotle with its adobo - see Tips in post
  • 1 small shallot - cut in pieces
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado or other sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • several grinds pepper

Garnishes

  • cheese – bleu cheese - cotija, queso fresco, feta
  • seeds or nuts – pepitas - pinions, pecans
  • avocado
  • cilantro

Instructions

  • Prepare the sweet potatoes and garlic – Preheat your oven to 400°. Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut into a 3/4" dice. Cut off the base end of the garlic to expose the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until sweet potatoes are tender (25-30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on the garlic.
  • Finish the sweet potatoes – Make sure they’re tender when pierced with a fork. While they cool, prepare the onions, toasted pepitas, cheese, etc.
  • While the potatoes roast, prepare the red onions. Slice them as thin as you can get them. Add them to a bowl with ice, water, and salt. Allow them to soak 15-30 minutes, then rinse and drain.
  • Make the chipotle vinaigrette – If you’re waiting for roasted garlic, get your garnishes read first (bleu cheese, toasted pepitas, avocado, etc.). Get all of the vinaigrette ingredients into a blender or processor. The garlic will probably be ready before the sweet potatoes, so keep an eye on it. Remove it, and when it’s cool enough to handle, pop 3 cloves into the blender. Purée until smooth, check seasoning, and adjust if necessary. Set aside.
  • Make the salad – Toss the prepared roasted sweet potatoes, the prepared onions, and the arugula with the chipotle vinaigrette.
  • To serve – Plate the salad, garnish as desired, and enjoy!

Notes

I much prefer roasted garlic in this vinaigrette. Roast it with the sweet potatoes, and add 3 cloves to the blender with the other ingredients. Raw is fine too, but you’ll want to reduce it to 1 clove.
Macronutrients are an approximation only from MyFitnessPal.com, and do not include garnishes!

Nutrition

Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 17g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

Share this post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.