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sweet potato, rocket and feta salad

This salad falls into the category I would call ‘entertaining’ salads, or perhaps ‘composed’ or ‘constructed’ salads as the ingredients are more arranged, than tossed, and it takes a little more preparation time than this salad for example, or this one…  Having said that, a lot can be prepared in advance, with the walnut, garlic, olive, and lemon mixture easily prepared earlier in the day, along with roasting the sweet potato, so the only last minute thing is a bit of arranging and scattering 🙂

roast sweet potato until tender and lightly browned

I got the original inspiration from a great salad book called Community, which has some really unusual and fabulous flavour combinations, as well as quite substantial salads you could certainly make a meal from.  The combination of the rich, sweet potato, contrasting with the crunch and bite of the olives and walnuts and the tang of the lemon is really wonderful.

combine olives, walnuts, preserved lemon and oil

I also ended up with some of the topping left over as I made up a smaller plate of the salad so we could also make fresh for another meal, and the walnut/olive/lemon topping is also fantastic tossed through pasta with chopped parsley and rocket.

Sweet potato, rocket and feta salad with walnut and black olive

Adapted from a recipe in the Arthur Street Kitchen’s Community cookbook

  • 1.5kg sweet potatoes (about 2 large)
  • 120ml (6 Tbs) olive oil
  • 80g rocket (about 1 bunch if buying that way rather than loose)
  • 200g feta
  • 90g (1 c) walnut halves/pieces
  • 150g black olives, preferably semi-dried, otherwise use Kalamata
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 a preserved lemon
  • juice of half a lemon (optional)
  • freshly ground pepper (you shouldn’t need salt with the feta and preserved lemon)

Peel and slice potatoes, cutting into half circles if large.  Toss with 1-2 Tbs of the olive oil, arrange on a large tray or two, and roast at 200C for 30-40 minutes until soft and browned in patches.  Meanwhile, lightly toast the walnuts, (you can add them to the oven in another small tray for about 5 min), pit the olives, and chop the olives and garlic together.  Remove the flesh from the preserved lemon, and finely dice.

Mix the walnuts, olives, garlic, lemon, and remaining olive oil together.  Season with pepper, and add lemon juice if you think it need some extra sharpness.  Wash and dry the rocket, and crumble the feta.

When the potato is done, allow to cool for at least 20 min, before laying on a large platter interspersed with the rocket.  Top with the walnut olive mixture and feta, tossing lightly with your fingers to arrange evenly.

Serves 6-8

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Six months ago: Kidney bean dip