This sweet potato black bean salad is a delicious and nutritious dish that’s perfect for a light lunch or dinner. It’s packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients, and it’s also gluten-free.
- The roasted sweet potatoes add sweetness and depth of flavor to the salad, while the black beans and radishes add a bit of crunch and freshness.
- The feta cheese provides a salty and tangy flavor that helps to balance out the other flavors in the salad.
- This recipe is easy to make and can be customized to your liking.
- Roast the sweet potatoes ahead of time and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Convenient cooking with the use of one sheet pan
Ingredients and Nutrition
Black beans are a versatile and nutritious legume enjoyed in many different dishes throughout the world.
Apart from enjoying them in this black bean sweet potato salad, try black beans in other dishes such as black bean soup, chili, burritos, tacos, dips, and black bean burgers.
Go for canned black beans for convenience and you’ll have a meal in minutes.
Black beans offer the following nutrients (1):
- Protein: Essential for building and repairing tissues.
- Fiber: Helps to regulate digestion and lower cholesterol levels.
- Folate: Supports the formation of red blood cells and energy production.
- Copper: Helps the body use iron and supports normal brain development and immune functions.
- Manganese: Needed for formation of healthy bones and cartilage, and proper function of immune and nervous systems.
- Magnesium: Required for muscle, nerve, and heart health, and involved in building bones.
- Iron: Important for carrying oxygen throughout the body.
- Phosphorus: A component of bones, teeth, cells, and the body’s key energy source. Helps the body maintain normal pH.
- Potassium: Needed for proper kidney and heart functions, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission.
Black beans also contain antioxidants, which may lower the risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer (1).
Sweet potatoes come in a variety of colors, including orange, white, and purple, with the orange sweet potato being the most common type.
Use sweet potatoes in pie or soup recipes. One of my other favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes is mashed with a little butter and a sprinkling of spices like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, yum!
To save time, I use fresh, pre-chopped orange sweet potatoes. You can find them in the produce section of some grocery stores.
Earthy and sweet in flavor, sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
They’re particularly rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is important for vision, immunity, and skin health. Sweet potatoes also supply a good amount of potassium and fiber (2).
Additionally, they supply vitamin C, an antioxidant nutrient that helps prevent cellular damage. Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen production, which keeps the blood vessels and skin healthy (2).
Radishes are root vegetables that belong to the Brassicaceae or Cruciferous family. They contain vitamin C and anti-fungal properties (3). Other vegetables in their family include broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.
You can eat radishes raw, cooked, or pickled.
Chop them into slices and eat them alone as a snack with a dip or add them to salads, sandwiches, or stir-fries.
You can also pickle and ferment them to add a sour and spicy flavor to dishes.
While you can add raw radishes to this black bean and sweet potato salad recipe, I prefer to roast them along with the sweet potatoes. Roasting them tones down their sharp peppery flavor.
Feta cheese has a salty, tangy flavor that adds a lot of flavors to a dish. It helps to balance out the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and the peppery flavor of the radishes. It also adds a bit of creaminess to the salad.
Feta cheese is a good source of calcium, an essential mineral for bone health, muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve function. It also provides some B vitamins, an important group of vitamins involved in energy production and brain function.
Feta cheese offers more of these nutrients than other cheeses like cottage cheese, goat cheese, mozzarella, and ricotta (4).
Cilantro is a fresh herb with a bright, citrusy flavor. It’s a classic herb used in Mexican and Latin American cuisine, but some people have a genetic mutation that makes them taste soap when they eat it.
Interestingly, the genetic mutation occurs less in regions where cilantro is especially popular, like in Central America and India (5).
If you don’t like the taste of cilantro or have the soapy cilantro gene, you can omit it from the recipe or swap it for another herb, such as parsley. Parsley has a similar flavor profile to cilantro and will still add freshness and flavor to the salad.
Additionally, the leaves and stems of cilantro are both edible, though some people find the stems have a somewhat bitter taste. If you don’t like the taste of the stems, you can omit them from the salad.
Cilantro offers nutrients like vitamins A and C, and potassium, but it’s rarely eaten in large amounts to be a significant source of these nutrients.
- Olive oil
- Ground cumin
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Fresh squeezed lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Sweet potato and black bean salad variations
Customize this black bean and sweet potato salad recipe to your liking.
For example, you can add or substitute with these ingredients:
- Bell peppers
- Different types of cheese, such as cheddar, goat cheese, or queso fresco
- Nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts
- Seeds such as flax, hemp, and pumpkin
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 3/4 to 1-inch cubes.
Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, cumin, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper. Spread the seasoned sweet potatoes out on the baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender and slightly browned.
Cut the radishes into 1/4-inch-thick slices while the sweet potatoes are roasting. Place them in a serving bowl and set aside. If you’d like to roast the radishes, drizzle a little olive oil on them and add them to the baking sheet alongside the sweet potatoes at the last 10 minutes of cooking time.
Drain and rinse the canned black beans and place them along with the feta cheese in a serving bowl while the sweet potatoes and radishes roast.
Once the sweet potatoes and radishes are done roasting, carefully remove them from the oven and add them to the serving bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil and freshly squeezed lime juice. Add chopped cilantro to the sweet potato black bean salad and toss all the ingredients until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning and flavors if needed.
Serve immediately or chill for later. Enjoy as a stand-alone dish or with rice or quinoa. You can also use the salad as a stuffing for tacos or serve with tortilla chips on the side. Consume leftovers within 3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Besides the cilantro, cumin, and red pepper flakes used in the recipe, you can also try these other herbs and spices:
– Garlic powder
– Onion powder
– Smoked paprika
– Chili powder
– Thyme (dried or fresh)
– Parsley (dried or fresh)
When adding herbs and spices to the salad, it’s important to start with a small amount and taste as you go. This will help you to avoid over-seasoning the salad.
Toss the sweet potatoes in the seasonings and olive oil before roasting. If you’re using fresh thyme leaves or fresh parsley, add them to the salad just before serving.
Yes, you can use either canned or frozen sweet potatoes instead of fresh ones. They don’t need to be roasted before being added to a salad.
Canned sweet potatoes are already cooked, and frozen sweet potatoes can be added to the salad raw or thawed first. Use a paper towel to pat off excess liquid from the sweet potatoes before adding them to the salad.
However, if you want to add more flavor and texture to the salad, you can roast the sweet potatoes before adding them.
To roast canned or frozen sweet potatoes, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Drain and rinse the canned sweet potatoes or thaw the frozen sweet potatoes. Pat off any excess liquid with a paper towel. Cut the sweet potatoes into cubes or wedges and toss them with olive oil and seasonings of your choice. Spread the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until they are tender and slightly browned.
Once the sweet potatoes are roasted, add them to the other salad ingredients and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
The immediate effects of feeling better after eating sweet potato may be related to its fiber content.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. It helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied after eating, which can help to prevent overeating. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and promote digestive health.
Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad 9 Ingredients
- 1 chopping board
- 1 chef knife
- 1 rimmed baking sheet
- measuring cups and spoons
- 1 serving bowl
- 1 serving utensil
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾ to 1-inch cubes (use pre-peeled and pre-cut fresh sweet potatoes for convenience)
- 1 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 to 5 radishes, cut into ¼-inch slices
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into ¾ to 1-inch cubes. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with cumin, salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes. Combine the sweet potatoes with the seasonings by hand or with a utensil and spread them out evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender and slightly browned.
- Cut the radishes into ¼-inch slices and place them in a serving bowl if you eat them raw. If you'd like to roast the radishes, toss them in a little olive oil, and add them to the baking sheet. Roast them alongside the sweet potatoes at the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Add the drained and rinsed canned black beans and feta cheese to the serving bowl. Remove the roasted sweet potatoes (and radishes if you're roasting them) from the oven and add them to the bowl.
- Drizzle the salad with remaining olive oil and freshly squeezed lime juice and top with chopped fresh cilantro. Combine all the ingredients, taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Enjoy as a stand-alone meal or with grains such as rice or quinoa. You can also add the salad to tacos or serve with tortilla chips.
Check out these other bean recipes:
Tried this recipe? What variations or adaptations did you make? Share in the comments.