Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad

This is delicious. As in, it surprised me while I was eating it straight from the fridge for the first time how delicious it was. This salad is good hot, cold, and with chips, and holds up well for a packed lunch or a potluck – a real make-ahead winner! It’s also protein packed and nutritious, and naturally sweet and sour from sweet potatoes and lime.

This recipe calls for two ingredients that might be a bit rare. Panca chile paste is a mildly spicy chile paste that you can often find in Latin grocery sections, although it is mainly a Peruvian product. Substitute a bit of hot sauce, yellow chile paste (a bit more common) or half the amount listed (1 tbsp) sauce from a can of chipotle chile in adobo sauce. Likewise, the zucchini relish I use is a bit sweet and sour, so substitute something along those lines like bread and butter pickles or plum chutney. Use what you have on hand! You can also leave out the goat cheese or replace with roasted cashews to make this a vegan treat.

This recipe makes about 4 lunch servings or 8-10 side servings.


  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 cup dry black beans / 16 oz canned
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup zucchini relish
  • 2 tbsp panca chili paste
  • small handful fresh cilantro and/or mint
  • juice of 1 lime
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 475 °F. Dice the sweet potato; I like a 1/2″ dice when for veg when planning to mix with beans to match their mouthfeel. Place the sweet potato on a baking sheet and toss with a good drizzle of olive oil and shakes of salt and pepper. Roast until just tender, about twenty minutes. If, at twenty minutes, the sweet potato is still firm, give the tray a stir and continue roasting, checking every ten minutes.
  • Rinse and cook black beans covered in a pot of boiling water until tender.
  • Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  • Prepare the rest of the ingredients: chop pickles, pick and chop herbs, crumble goat cheese. Peel and dice the avocado – add it first to a separate small bowl with the lime juice and gently toss together before adding to the salad overall. This will help the avocado to remain bright and not turn brown.
  • Let the cooked sweet potato, beans, and quinoa cool a bit, then mix all of the ingredients together, adding the chili paste. Taste for seasoning, adding more chile paste for spice, lime for acidity, and salt as needed.


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