I can’t remember the first time I ate a sweet potato, but I know that it was pretty late in my childhood. At first I wasn’t sure what to think — they’re starchy like potatoes, but sweet like pie! — but they’ve really, really grown on me in the many years since.
Plus, now I live in North Carolina, the number one grower of sweet potatoes in the country. They’re everywhere, and I’m just fine with that.
The thing about sweet potatoes, though, is that I’m not always sure what to do with them. I can only eat sweet potato fries so often without getting bored, and the same goes for a side of sweet potatoes.
That’s why I love throwing sweet potatoes into salads with tons of other flavorful, colorful ingredients. I like my salads to have a starch — variety is important for gentle nutrition, and when I’m working with eating disorder clients, it’s important that all the food groups are represented in every meal. Here’s why I love this recipe
It’s great for fall but also works throughout the year.
Sure, sweet potatoes are seasonal to fall and winter months. But they have a long shelf life, which means they’re available all year.
This salad is a nice one for colder months, and also contains apples (a fall-winter fruit that’s like sweet potatoes in that it has a long shelf life and is available all year). But you can make it any time of year and be satisfied.
The sweet potato salad has a great variety of nutrients, flavors, and textures.
As an anti-diet dietitian, I don’t obsess about the nitty-gritty nutrition facts of every recipe. (And I don’t recommend that anyone else does, either.) But, I do talk a lot about gentle nutrition, which is all about eating a variety of nutrients and enough food overall.
This sweet potato salad absolutely delivers on that, with protein, fruits, vegetables, fat (from peanut butter dressing!), and carbs. And, it gets an extra flavor pop from soy sauce, honey, and a little sesame oil.Print
Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Spinach Salad With Peanut Dressing
This salad is great for fall but works as a flavor-packed lunch or dinner year-round. Sweet potatoes add some heartiness to a bed of spinach and apples, and the peanut dressing sets it apart from your usual salad.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Lunch
2 large bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound sweet potatoes (about 3-4 sweet potatoes), washed and cut in 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
4 cups baby spinach
1 apple, cored and chopped
1. Heat the oven to 450°F.
2. Season chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper on all sides, then rub them with ½ tablespoon of olive oil each and place them on a baking sheet.
3. Toss the sweet potatoes in a medium bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the sweet potatoes to the baking sheet, spreading them out around the chicken.
4. Roast everything in the oven for 30-35 minutes, removing the baking sheet halfway to toss the sweet potatoes. The chicken should be cooked through (to 165°F) and the sweet potatoes should be soft.
5. Set the baking sheet aside to let the chicken rest for 10 minutes.
6. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey.
7. When the chicken is done resting, carefully remove the bones. Slice the chicken and skin into pieces about ½-inch thick.
8. In a large bowl, toss the cooked sweet potato with the spinach, chopped apple, and peanut dressing until everything is evenly coated.
9. Divide everything among 4 plates, then top each plate with some chicken.
Keywords: chicken, chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, spinach, apple, salad, lunch, dinner
If you’re struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating, I can help! I’m a dietitian who takes an anti-diet, body-positive, identity-affirming approach to recovery and healing your relationship with food. . Learn more about nutrition counseling, offered in Raleigh, NC, and virtually to clients in several states. Not ready to commit to counseling but want more information about the anti-diet approach? Subscribe to my weekly newsletter.