Roasted Sweet Potato & Pecan Salad. PLUS, a Quickie TV Appearance!

I went to Universal Studios Hollywood yesterday, and as I was leaving, they were shooting the entertainment news show “Extra.” I watched the host, Mario Lopez, do about ten minutes of intros and promos, and what did I see when I tuned in later that night? I was on TV!

Extra-arrow

It was just for a second or two, in the lower left corner, but it was cool nonetheless. I don’t know if I popped up later on in the broadcast, because in Los Angeles most of the show was pre-empted by breaking news coverage of the situation in Missouri.

I was at Universal Studios for a workout. There’s a 345-step stairway there, and I spent about 45 minutes climbing before going on a few rides. You can see all sorts of pictures in this blog post, or check out my Twitter feed for photos from yesterday. I ultimately climbed roughly 108 stories, and did it on an interval, so it was exhausting.

Moving on…

I shared my 2014 Thanksgiving Pledge yesterday, which will let me enjoy the holiday and eat whatever I want without guilt or remorse. Today, I’m sharing a new recipe that’s perfect for the Thanksgiving table. And it’s healthy and delicious, too!

Roasted Sweet Potato & Pecan Salad.

This recipe is based on one from a Food Network show called “The Kitchen,” but I made a bunch of changes – reducing the oil, eliminating an ingredient I don’t like (pomegranate seeds), replacing an ingredient I don’t have (a spice blend called ras al hanout), and a couple other swaps.

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. I peeled and chopped two sweet potatoes into cubes. Just make them bite-sized and consistent, so they cook evenly. I used the white sweet potatoes, but orange yams would work great, too, and they’d be more colorful.

sweet-potato-chopped-bowl

I also added a turnip, peeled and chopped into similar-sized pieces, because I wanted to use it up.

turnip-bowl

Next I chopped one white onion and four stalks of celery into similar-sized pieces. I wish I had a red onion, for color purposes, but I used what I had in the house.

celery-onion-bowl

I lined two sheet trays with foil, slicked them with Pam, and spread out all the veggies. Time to season them! I sprayed a touch more Pam on the veggies, so there’d be something for the herbs and spices to stick to. I liberally sprinkled six things on everything: cumin, turmeric, ground coriander, paprika, rosemary, and finished it off with a little salt.

veggies-trays-before-roasting

These went into the oven for 30-35 minutes, until everything was tender and cooked. Then I let the veggies cool to room temperature, because it’s a room temperature salad. I brought this salad to a pre-Thanksgiving potluck, and actually roasted the vegetables the night before:

Roasted-sweet-potato-celery-onion

To assemble the salad, I had a little more chopping to do:

  • 1.5 cups of grapes, halved
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced.

I also toasted 1.5 cups of pecan halves. (Toasting nuts is easy: put them in a dry skillet, and place on medium-low heat. When the nuts become fragrant, they’re done!)

The last ingredient was 3/4 cup dried cranberries.

Pecans-Scallions-Dried-Cranberries-Grapes

I added all those extras into a big bowl with the roasted veggies. To dress it, I used 1 tablespoon of olive oil (that’s right: just one tablespoon in the whole bowl!) and 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Toss is all together, and serve it up!

Roasted-Sweet-Potato-Pecan-Salad

There’s a great array of textures and flavors. It’s sweet, smoky, smooth, refreshing, and surprisingly light. The pecans add crunch, and there’s two great oniony flavors: the spiced and roasted white onion, and the much milder scallion.

Roasted-Sweet-Potato-Pecan-Salad-Close-Up

It was a hit at the potluck: I brought home an empty bowl!

Keep it up, David!

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