Sweet Potato Salad with Celery, Pecans and Cranberries / by emily penn

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This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite things to make around the holidays. The original recipe from Smitten Kitchen involves sweet potatoes cut into coins with a “salad” that goes on top - like little one bite hors d’oeuvres. I’ve been making these for holiday gatherings since I was in my early 20s and they’ve always been a huge hit.

I wanted to revamp the concept this year and so this sweet potato salad was born. It is so delicious and has so many wonderful seasonal flavors all wrapped into one bite. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy it! While it definitely has strong Thanksgiving vibes, it still holds its own for gatherings and dinners throughout the rest of the year.

It’s grounding, it hits all the flavor buttons and it’s easy to make ahead of time and transport. It comes off as way more sophisticated than most other potato or sweet potato-based side dishes this time of year and is sure to freshen up the staple sides that everyone is secretly a little sick of.

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Sweet Potato Salad with Celery, Pecans and Cranberries

serves 4-6 as a side
cook time 45 min / total time 1 hour

2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
2 tbsp avocado oil
5 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped (ideally unsweetened or sweetened with fruit juice)
½ cup packed parsley, chopped
½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped

¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt + pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400. Toss sweet potatoes with avocado oil and a generous sprinkling of salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once halfway, until cooked through and golden.

  2. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, chop your celery, shallots, dried cranberries, and parsley. Add to a large bowl and set aside. Make the dressing and set aside. Reserve the pecans for garnish.

  3. When sweet potatoes are done, remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

  4. Add the sweet potatoes and dressing to the large bowl and toss everything together until well-coated with the dressing. Taste and add salt/pepper if needed.

  5. When ready to serve, transfer to a dish and sprinkle chopped pecans on top. Salad can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.