Food Meets Function – Sweet Potato Salad
By Nike Training
Packed with vitamins, minerals, and good carbs, sweet potatoes are just the right type of fuel before or after a tough workout. This savory salad incorporates the highly nutritious root vegetable and is a cinch to prepare—which means you’ll have more time for your training or recovery.
Standout Ingredients (and Why You’ll Love Them)
- Sweet potatoes deliver long-lasting energy.
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and have complex carbs, so you don’t get the rush and crash of simple, high-glycemic carbs (think a white bagel) that spike blood sugar levels. This makes them a great source of fuel, especially before an endurance session. And if you want to eat this salad post-workout, the carbs can replenish depleted glycogen stores. Plus, this tater type has antioxidant-rich carotenoids that aid recovery and cell repair (and give the veg its signature orange color).
- Eggs provide low-calorie protein.
Eggs are often considered a perfect source of protein because they have all the essential amino acids you need for building strong muscles. One large egg has 6 grams of protein and only about 75 calories, according to the USDA.
Helpful Tips for Easy Meal Prep
- Make your dressing ahead of time.
Homemade vinaigrettes (like the one below) can last in the fridge for up to two weeks. If you hard-boil your eggs, you can prep those in advance too. Make a full dozen and store them in the fridge for up to a week.
- Speed up the potato cooking.
To slash the cooking time (sweet potatoes can take 30 to 40 minutes in the oven), first poke a few holes in the sweet potato with a fork, then microwave it on high for 4 minutes, turning over halfway, before roasting. Or cut the potato (skin on) into ¼-inch slices, then sauté the slices in a cast-iron skillet with a little oil. Cover it with a lid. The trapped steam will cook the potatoes so they’re tender on the inside, while the sauteing will get the outside golden brown and crispy. This takes only about 8 minutes (4 minutes per side).
Want to Customize It? Here Are Some Ideas:
- Change up the protein.
If you want to substitute plant-based protein for the eggs, toss in some lentils, tofu, or roasted chickpeas. If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, consider adding to the eggs or substituting them for grilled or roasted chicken, salmon, shrimp, or steak.
- Add more veggies.
Don’t love cabbage? Substitute with radishes. Not a fan of sweet potatoes? Roast beets instead; they’re rich in nitrates that can boost blood flow and athletic performance for endurance sports. You can also play with the base, swapping mixed baby greens for spinach or kale, for instance, to change the texture and taste of the salad.
How to Make It: Sweet Potato Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
½ cups mixed baby greens
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large sweet potato
¼ cup chopped peanuts
Sea salt and pepper
For the sweet potatoes:
- Preheat the oven to 425℉. Wash and peel the sweet potato, then cut it into ¼-inch -rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet, then roast for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
For soft-boiled eggs:
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Use a spoon to gently lower each egg into the water. Gently boil for 5 to 7 minutes, depending on how runny you like the yolks.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggs to an ice bath and cool until slightly warm, 2 to 3 minutes.
Or for hard-boiled eggs, if you prefer those:
- In a medium saucepan, add eggs, then cover with cold water by 1 to 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and remove from heat. Let eggs sit for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggs to an ice bath and cool until slightly warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Slice.
For the salad:
- In a medium bowl, toss the red cabbage with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and set aside for 15 minutes to marinate, then add the greens, cilantro, and parsley.
- Plate the salad greens, sweet potato, and eggs, then top with chopped peanuts and another squeeze of lemon. Enjoy immediately.