Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

Sometimes the extent to which Adam knows me is a little scary.

When I get hyper and/or a little bit intoxicated, I have a habit of doing a run-and-jump onto him for a piggy back ride. The element of surprise, however, is no longer in my favor, as he can now sense my attempts by a certain giddiness in my eyes and unsuppressable giggles.

On Valentine's Day this year he made dinner, and I went to the gym beforehand in anticipation of the feast.  I'd had a long day at work, and while sweating away on the elliptical I kept thinking, "I can't wait to be home, showered, and lounging on the couch with a glass of wine while watching Downton Abbey on my laptop."

When I got home, he had my Valentine's card waiting on the dinner table. Absolutely no joke, the last line of it read it read, "I love you, now sit back and relax, drink a glass of wine, and watch Downton Abbey."

I died.

We're also pretty good at predicting what each of us will order at restaurants. Anything with chicken and bacon is a good guess for him.

He can predict my choice based on the presence of avocado, squash, cheese, sweet potatoes or black beans.

Black beans are staple in my diet, and I eat them at least once a week. When we first got married, Adam had a hard time adjusting to the errrr....wonderful digestive qualities of those legumes, but things are better now.

I've also been in money-saving-mode lately seeing as I have TWO paychecks left before I start grad school, and black beans have been a large part of my can-we-spend-less-than-$50-per-week-at-the-grocery store efforts. (If anyone has any great grocery budgeting tips, send them my way!)

This week I also had four sweet potatoes that needed to be used, and thus this salad was born.

The taters are roasted in a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, and cumin, which fills your home with a lovely spiced Moroccanish smell. I could not stop munching on these when they came out of the oven.

What I love about this salad is that in the time it takes to roast the sweet potatoes you can assemble the other ingredients. The dressing is equal parts honey, balsamic vinegar and lime juice. Add the can of black beans and minced red onion and you're done. So much extra time to haze and/or snuggle with your significant other.

Also, don't skip the arugula! I considered nixing it because I wasn't sure how it would blend with the other ingredients, but I am so glad I didn't. This flavorful leafy green stood on its own with the other ingredients and provided a really nice contrast in flavor and texture.

This dish is great served warm or cold. I have visions of taking this salad to a picnic and basking in beautiful 70 degree spring weather, but since it is supposed to rain EVERY DAY in Charlotte this week, I will just have to eat it for lunch. (and by that I mean the eight minutes I have to inhale food in the cafeteria while supervising hyper sunshine-deprived thirteen year olds)

One can dream.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

4 small/medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 3-4 limes)
1 can of black beans, drained
½ cup minced red onion
4 cups baby arugula

Preheat oven to 400.

Line two large baking sheets with aluminum foil.  Spread cubed sweet potato evenly over the two baking sheets. Sprinkle both sheets of potatoes with ginger, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over each pan, then use your hands to mix the oil and spices evenly over all the potatoes.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to brown multiple sides and prevent burning.

Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey and lime juice. Add in the black beans and red onion.

Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.  Add sweet potatoes to the large serving bowl, along with the arugula. Stir well and enjoy! This can be served warm or cold.

Adapted from Epicurious and Whole Foods.


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