Harissa-Roasted Sweet Potato Power Salad

5 from 22 votes
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Harissa-Roasted Sweet Potato Power Salad with Parslied Tahini Dressing is the ultimate nutrient-packed meal. Vegan and gluten free, this sweet potato quinoa salad is perfect for weekday lunches.Roasted Sweet Potato salad with quinoa, tahini dressing, and avocado in a large serving bowl

This hearty salad is everything I’m craving this time of year.

Not only does it pack a lofty nutritional punch, it’s also make-ahead friendly. The kale is hearty enough to be dressed in advanced without going soggy by lunchtime.

In addition to its standout flavor profile, this sweet potato quinoa salad is also:

  • Packed with plant-based protein from quinoa and hemp seeds.
  • FILLED with fiber from dark leafy greens and sweet potatoes.
  • Brimming with heart-healthy fats from olive oil, tahini, and seeds.
  • Rich in antioxidants and immune-boosting nutrients.

You can choose to add additional protein from salmon, chicken, or tofu, however I find it to be mighty satisfying on its own.

The tahini dressing is bright and herbaceous with nutty undertones and a lovely grassy finish. It’s the perfect match for the sweetness and spice of the sweet potatoes.

How to Make Sweet Potato Salad:

Many components of this salad can be made ahead. For example, cook the quinoa and blend the dressing up to 2 days ahead.

This way, when you’re ready to assemble and devour the salad, it comes together in a pinch.

The Ingredients:Recipe ingredients in separate bowls arranged on a wooden serving platter

  • Sweet Potatoes: A great source of beta-carotene, fiber, and potassium. These root veggies get their jewel-tone hue from carotenoids, a group of antioxidants that play a role in vision, bone health, and immunity.
  • Quinoa: One of my go-to pseudo grains that’s rich in fiber and protein. Quinoa is quick-cooking and mild in flavor, which makes it pair well with just about anything. 
  • Harissa: Harissa is a North African spice paste that looks like a mix between tomato paste and tomato sauce. It has a slightly smoky spiciness with bright acidity and earthy undertones, and is a great shortcut ingredient to achieving big flavor.
  • Kale: Hearty and healthy, kale makes this salad make-ahead friendly. 
  • Tahini: Tahini is a great source of heart-healthy fats and calcium. I love using it in dairy-free salad dressings to add creamy richness. My go-to brand is Soom Foods, which you can purchase on Amazon or in Whole Foods.
  • Hemp Seeds: Tiny but mighty, hemp seeds boost the omega-3 and protein content, and aid in creaminess.
  • Parsley: To bright herb-y notes, make sure to use fresh parsley. 
  • Lemon: You need the juice of 1 lemon, which should amount to 2 Tablespoons.
  • Avocado: Optional, however I love the extra creaminess it adds to the salad.

Step-by-Step Directions:

Step 1: Roast the Sweet Potatoes

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and salt and arrange on a baking sheet, avoiding overcrowding.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Toss with harissa and bake for 5 more minutes. Wedges of sweet potatoes being roasted on a sheet pan

Step 2: Prepare Tahini Dressing

Combine all ingredients in a small blender, and blend until creamy. Add a little water to thin out to desired consistency. Parsley, lemon, olive oil, hemp seeds, and tahini being added to a blenderParsley tahini dressing in a silver bowl with a spoon resting on the side

Step 3: Assemble Salad:

Place kale in a large bowl and add half of dressing. Use your hands to massage dressing into kale leaves (this helps them soften and break down).

Add sweet potatoes and quinoa; toss to combine. Garnish with avocado and pumpkin seeds, and drizzle remaining dressing overtop.

FAQs and Expert Tips:

How to Roast Sweet Potatoes:

Roasting sweet potatoes is one of the easiest ways to amplify their sweetness and reserve nutrients.

They can either be roasted whole, cubed, or sliced into wedges, which is what I prefer.

For this recipe, sweet potatoes are peeled (however you can choose to leave the peel on) and sliced into wedges. At this size, the potatoes need to roast anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes, depending on how hot your oven runs.

I’ve found the magic temperature to be 425°F, which produces a crispy exterior and creamy flesh.

  • Pro tip: Avoid overcrowding the pan, which will inhibit caramelization of the potatoes.
  • Each wedge should make contact with the pan, which is where the magic happens!

Are Sweet Potatoes Good for You?

Sweet potatoes are a great source of many nutrients, including beta-carotene, fiber, and potassium.

These root vegetables get their jewel-tone hue from carotenoids, a group of antioxidants that play a role in vision, bone health, and immunity.

  • Since these plant pigments live inside the cell walls of sweet potatoes, cooking actually helps release them. The release then enhances the bioavailability of the pigments, making them easier to absorb by the body.

Sweet potato quinoa salad in a pink serving bowl topped with avocado slices and lemon

Recipe Variations

  • Sweet Potato Feta Salad: Sprinkle the finished salad with crumbled feta cheese for extra richness.
  • Sweet Potato Chickpea Salad: For extra protein, add 1 cup of canned chickpeas in addition to the quinoa. 
  • Vegan Sweet Potato Salad: This salad is already 100% plant-based!
  • Spinach and Sweet Potato Salad: Swap the kale for fresh baby spinach, and wait to dress the salad until right before serving.
    • Spinach is more delicate than kale, and prone to wilting after being dressed.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips:

  • Make-Ahead: Boil the quinoa up to 3 days ahead, and keep refrigerated in an airtight container. You can also blend the dressing 1 to 2 days ahead.
    • Note: the garlic taste will get stronger the longer the dressing sits. If you prefer less intensity, wait to add the garlic until right before you dress the salad. Just give it a quick buzz in the food processor or blender, or add grated garlic to the already-blended dressing.
  • Store: You can store the salad fully dressed in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
    • Enjoy leftovers cold, or remove from the fridge 1 hour before eating to take off the chill (my preference).

More Sweet Potato Salad Recipes to Try:

Sweet Potato Lentil Salad

Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Bowls

Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Almond Butter Dressing

Sesame Sweet Potato and Radicchio Salad

If try this sweet potato quinoa salad, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Lastly, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

5 from 22 votes

Harissa-Roasted Sweet Potato Power Salad

Harissa-Roasted Sweet Potato Power Salad with Parslied Tahini Dressing is the ultimate nutrient-packed meal. Vegan, gluten free, and perfect for make-ahead lunches or easy weeknight dinners.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Blender
  • Rimmed baking sheet

Ingredients  

  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, scrubbed or peeled
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup mild harissa (such as Mina brand)
  • 1 bunch kale (lacinato or green curly), stemmed and chopped
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa (from ~1/2 cup dry)
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted, salted pumpkin seeds
  • Optional add-ins: shredded rotisserie chicken or chickpeas for more protein, crumbled feta cheese for extra richness, or additional roasted veggies.

Parslied Tahini Dressing

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. hemp seeds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
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Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
    Slice sweet potatoes crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Slice rounds into halves or quarters depending on size.
    Toss sweet potatoes with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt and arrange on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until crispy. Toss with harissa and bake for 5 more minutes.
  • Prepare Parslied Tahini Dressing by combining all ingredients in a blender. Blend until creamy, adding 3 to 4 Tbsp. water to thin out to desired consistency.
  • Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Use your hands to massage oil and salt into kale to help soften the leaves. Add sweet potatoes, quinoa, and half of dressing; toss to combine.
    Garnish with avocado slices and pumpkin seeds, and drizzle remaining dressing overtop.

Notes

  • Make-Ahead: Boil the quinoa up to 3 days ahead, and keep refrigerated in an airtight container. You can also blend the dressing 1 to 2 days ahead.
    • Note: the garlic taste will get stronger the longer the dressing sits. If you prefer less intensity, wait to add the garlic until right before you dress the salad. Just give it a quick buzz in the food processor or blender, or add grated garlic to the already-blended dressing.
  • Store: You can store the salad fully dressed in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
    • Enjoy leftovers cold, or remove from the fridge 1 hour before eating to take off the chill (my preference).

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 502kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 700mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 5g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!

 

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26 Comments

  1. Kaylee says:

    5 stars
    I absolutely love this recipe!! So good with added chickpeas.

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi, Kaylee! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

      1. Anne says:

        5 stars
        I love all the recipes I’ve made from here, but this is one of my top favorites! All the flavors work perfectly together and it’s easy to add many different toppings based on what I have on hand. This one is a keeper!

    2. Lauren says:

      5 stars
      Okay, this is yummyyyy!! I think I may roast some chickpeas because I am needing a crunch and have no seeds. Regardless, WILL BE MAKING AGAIN!

  2. Kelly says:

    Is there a good substitute for the hemp seeds?
    Thank you!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi Kelly – you can just omit them! Or if you have any pistachios on hand, use those instead. Enjoy!

  3. Zach says:

    5 stars
    This sounded good to me but woah it exceeded my expectations! I followed your suggestions and added feta, toasted seeds and roasted broccoli and cauliflower. I can’t wait to make this again!!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      So glad you enjoyed this one, Zach! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  4. Nicole says:

    5 stars
    Delicious and the leftover fully dressed salad held up well for lunches. I added shredded rotisserie chicken to bump up the protein and make it more satisfying and it kept me full for hours. I love roasted sweet potatoes in salad and they absolutely shine here.

  5. Julie Weinberg says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and filling! I love how the flavors and textures come together for a yummy, healthy meal.