Two things to know about this sweet potato salad.
It's really a classic potato salad, except that it's made with sweet potatoes instead of potatoes. Why don't we do this more often?
It's "barely dressed" with hardly any mayonnaise, just enough to hold it all together. This makes the taste and texture all about the softness of the sweet potatoes, the crunch of the celery and the "tiny bit" of sweetness from the dried cranberries. Why don't we do this more often?
But make that three.
You want to make this salad, you really do. It's so simple and somehow, it just works. Besides, you know, don't you? that the sweet potato is the favorite vegetable for Thanksgiving? It is, I tell that story here in Favorite Recipes for Thanksgiving's Favorite Vegetables. This salad? It totally makes the list.
And that's even when I've already got two excellent sweet potato salad recipes, real favorites. Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle puts a southwestern spin on sweet potatoes. Confetti Potato Salad mixes potatoes with sweet potatoes in a no-mayonnaise vinaigrette. So I don't add another lightly. But this Simple "Sweet Potato" Potato Salad one is so simple, so familiar yet so not, so all about the sweet potatoes, I couldn't not add it to my own recipe collection.
And about that "hardly any mayonnaise" claim? To be honest, I really pushed the envelope using so little, and not by design. I already had a whole pile of sweet potato cooked, when realizing, ooops, the mayo jar had only a half cup left. Plan B was to use that half cup on half the sweet potatoes. But to my surprise, that left the sweet potatoes pretty "mayonnaise-y". So I pushed caution to the wind and with Plan C, just added the rest of the sweet potatoes. Yes, truly, this potato salad is made with just 2-1/4 tablespoons of mayonnaise per pound of sweet potatoes. Compare that to the recipes which use a cup or more!
Aside from the flavor and calorie benefits of "hardly any mayonnaise", something else worked well too. You know how when you make potato salad and after a day or two, there's a bunch of liquid that collects in the bottom of the bowl? And then when you stir it back in, the potato salad is a little loose and almost watery? Well this salad got more moist too. It was a big batch so lasted six days, the last spoonful was really moist though not watery in the least.
RECIPE for SIMPLE "SWEET POTATO" POTATO SALAD RECIPE
Time to table: 45 minutes but best after resting 2 - 4 hours
Make 9 cups (easily halved)
Well-salted water to cover
3-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (yields about 10 cups cubes)
1 cup finely diced red onion
3 cups finely diced celery (about 4 ribs)
3/4 cup (90g) dried cranberries, chopped a bit in the food processor
1/2 cup (117g) low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup (I used sorghum, honey and agave would work great too)
Chopped fresh herbs
SALAD Bring water to a boil. Drop sweet potato cubes into water and return to a boil. Cook until tender but still firm, about 10 minutes. (I tested one cube every 2 minutes after 5 minutes.) Drain and let cool. Combine gently with onion, celery and cranberries.
DRESSING In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Gently stir into sweet potato mixture.
REST & SERVE Cover and let rest for at least a couple of hours. Top with fresh herbs and serve. Keeps several days, getting slightly softer and more moist.
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