It has been a few weeks since I posted a new recipe review and I thought I would briefly tell you why.  A few weeks ago I went on vacation to Mexico with some family members.  It was a great trip overall and I returned home with some great memories and some great vanilla for my baking.  Unfortunately, I also returned with a detached retina.  Don’t ask how it happened because there really is no good answer, no crazy story.  It just happens sometimes.  Lucky me!  Anyway, I ended up having a procedure on my eye that left my vision slightly impaired and greatly restricted what I could do.  I asked the doctor if I could at least get an eye patch so I could do my Rooster Cogburn impression, but that didn’t happen.  It was very disappointing.  However, my eye is now healing nicely and I’m ready to start trying some new recipes from my John Wayne Family Cookbook again.  I’ve chosen a recipe that reminds me of my vacation in Mexico, so here is my first attempt at making Mexican Sweet Potato Salad. 

First, I peel the potatoes and cut them up into 1-inch cubes.  Then I dice some onion and add it to the potatoes.  I put them both on a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, then add some salt and pepper.  I make sure all the pieces are well coated, then put the pan in a 400 degree oven.  I roast them for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so they will cook evenly.  When the potatoes are tender and starting to brown, I take them out of the oven and set them aside to cool.

While the potatoes and onion are cooling, I drain and rinse the black beans and cut up the red peppers and cilantro.  I then combine everything in a large bowl, set it aside, and start making the dressing for the salad.

The dressing begins with a couple jalapeno peppers that have been seeded and deveined.  I put the peppers into my blender, add some garlic and orange sauce, then blend the ingredients until smooth.  I pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly.  I add a small amount of salt and pepper, then put the salad into the fridge so I can take it to work. 

The next day, I wait until the lunch crowd is gathering in the breakroom to start asking co-workers to review my latest concoction.  I had no idea what the response would be, but watch the video above and see what what some of the brave taste testers had to say.

Wow!  Everyone in the video really liked the salad, and so did others who did not want to be recorded but commented very favorably about it.  They said it was very fresh, flavorful, and seemed like a healthy side dish, although Janet said she would just eat it as her meal.  She really liked it. 

As for me, I think it is delicious.  I love the sweetness of the potatoes, along with the spice of the jalapeno and the crunch of the red peppers.   I do think you have to really like cilantro because it does stand out, but you can always cut back on the amount you use.  One small change I will make the next time (and there will definitely be a next time) is to reduce my roasting time on the potatoes by 3-5 minutes.  I don’t think they were too soft, but they were very close to being overcooked at 30 minutes.  This recipe gets two thumbs up from me and it will probably be the next side dish I take to a family gathering.

Now…what should I make next?


4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 Tbsp, plus ¼ cup olive oil, divided

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined and roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

¼ cup orange sauce

Recipe from the John Wayne Family Cookbook.

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