Roasted Yam Chili Salad


The simmering sun of summer is in full sweltering swing.  Unless, of course, you are my friend Jase who is cooking the winter stint at the South Pole, then sunlight is only a faded memory and you would be trying like hell to figure out amusing ways to stay sane while living inside the spaceship of a station.

Go Jase!!  You can do it!  The sun is headed back your way!


As a tribute to that fiery ball of which we have an abundance right now…I will abandon my not-so-secret wishings for winter, and I will relish making this dish of brilliant deep orange..

Yam sweetness mixed with lime and chili is like jumping in the lawn sprinkler on a hot day.




Yes, yams really are orange sweet potatoes.  True yams are from a different family…but that is another story.


Cube the sweet potatoes, then roast with oil and seasonings.  I like to cut them in half across the equator, then slice the half into 3 or 4 slices.  Stack two slices onto the cutting board and cut in both directions to cube…or at least to give you something resembling a cube…or at least a bite sized piece even if it does not have 6 sides.



If the yams are drying out, you may need to add a little water to the roasting pan to rehydrate them.  They do get chewy in the roasting process, but I have found that if they are really dry to begin with they never fully cook.

Roasted yams all by themselves are fantabulous…so you could stop right there, forget the yam chili salad, and serve them with a wide variety of dishes.  Or keep going…

I concocted this little mixture for the Deli many years back and it was a favorite by even non-yam eaters.  Over the weekend I served this with smoked curried bison at a wedding I catered at a camp by the river.   It’s a great salad for hot days!



Roasted Yam Chili Salad 

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes   Cook Time: 45 minutes


Peel and Cube:

3 pounds Orange (Garnet or Jewel) Sweet Potatoes (a.k.a. Yams)

Toss with:

1/4 cup Canola or Sunflower Oil

1 teaspoon Chili Powder

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons Sea Salt

1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper

Roast on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  

Carefully slide a spatula under the cubes and flip them at least once during the roasting process. 

Let cool.

Mix with:

2 cups Celery, diced

1/2 cup Red Onion

2 Fresh Limes,  juiced

1/2 teaspoon Garlic Chili Paste

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped (or more if you like!)

Let sit for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Taste and adjust seasonings. 



The top photo is by nature photographer David Cavagnaro.

The bowl is by Peter Blodgett and the wooden spoon is another gem from spoon carver Frank (not Lloyd) Wright.


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