A friend introduced me to a Greek restaurant in San Francisco called Souvla. They make a killer roasted white sweet potato salad with a garlic yogurt dressing that takes Caesar salad to a whole new level. (P.S. To all my non-dairy friends, I have you covered! Keep reading….)
Romaine and kale are tossed in a generous coating of the rich, garlic yogurt sauce with thick rounds of roasted white sweet potato layered on top. Toasted nuts, olives and pickled onions add additional crunch and a welcome bright, tart flavor. And a mild shredded Greek cheese called Myzithra rounds it all out.
In an attempt to recreate this salad at home, I've kept a lot of the components the same. By doing so, I realized it's totally worth the (minimally extra) effort to use both leafy green varieties. The combination of sweet and crunchy romaine with massaged kale makes for a heartier and more interesting salad base.
My version of the garlic yogurt dressing is made with cashews so all can enjoy.….and because it's delicious. If you prefer regular yogurt, I suggest using a thick Greek-style yogurt mixed with a little avocado oil mayo (I think this mayo has the best flavor and texture). Then add in grated garlic, salt and lemon to taste. (Be generous with the salt so the flavors really pop.) In place of Myzithra cheese, which I haven't been able to find, feta works in a pinch. But I prefer a slightly milder Ricotta Salata or Manouri, another Greek variety. Or leave out completely if you're dairy free. It's not essential.
This is a four-seasons salad because it's hearty as far as salads go, and you can swap out the veg topping. If sweet potato isn't the first vegetable you want to reach for this summer, try grilled eggplant or zucchini rounds instead.
Greek Sweet Potato Salad with Garlic Yogurt Dressing
Notes: Recipe for garlic yogurt sauce uses cashews. If you prefer dairy yogurt, I suggest using a thick Greek-style yogurt mixed with a little avocado oil mayo (I think it has the best flavor and texture). Then add in grated garlic, salt and lemon to taste. (Be generous with the salt so the flavors really pop.) Make this a platter meal by topping with roasted chickpeas or grilled shrimp or chicken.
2 medium white sweet potatoes
Avocado oil or coconut oil
Garlic Yogurt (recipe below)
1 small head of romaine, chopped
1 bunch Lacinato kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
Apple cider vinegar
Handful Greek olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup (48 gr) pecans, toasted and finely chopped (walnuts work too)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 2 hours, rinsed & drained
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 415 F/ 212 C.
Scrub sweet potatoes under running water. Keep skin on but trim away any dry spots. Cut sweet potato into 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) rounds.
Place on lined baking sheet, brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Flip and brush oil on second side. Cook another 10 minutes.
In the meantime, make the garlic yogurt dressing. Add everything to a high speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.
Prepare salad base: Place chopped kale in a large, deep mixing bowl. Add a few splashes vinegar, drizzle of olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Massage vigorously with hands until kale is soft. Mix in chopped romaine, olives, nuts and pickled onions to taste.
Add half to three-quarters of garlic yogurt dressing. Mix until everything is well coated.
Place on a serving platter or individual bowls. Top with roasted sweet potatoes and more pickled onions for garnish. Serve with extra dressing for passing.