This is the mother of all salads. No doubt about it. It isn’t just any old salad that you have with a steak on the ‘barbie’, it’s reserved for days when you’re feeling particularly fancy and wouldn’t mind knocking the socks off your guests, and yes, with a salad.
Please, don’t be fooled by the exquisite amount of ingredients. Like most salads this is actually very easy to make.
Sweet Potato, Carrot and Fig Salad with Spinach, Dates and Almonds
- 3 sweet potatoes*
- 6 carrots, peeled
- Olive oil
- 2 tsps. Cumin
- A generous sprinkling of sesame seeds
- Za’taar ( we used Malouf’s Spice Bezza)
- Sea salt and pepper
- A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 Tbs. honey (optional)
- 40ml balsamic vinegar
- 20g caster sugar
- 1 red onion, chopped
- A handful of dates, chopped
- 6 fresh and ripe figs, quatered
- ¼ cup feta, crumbled
- ¼ cup flaked almonds**
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
- Sea salt and black peper
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
- Wash the sweet potatoes and cut them, and the carrots into wedges. Place in a bowl along with a big glug of olive oil, cumin, sesame seeds, a big sprinkling of za’taar, salt and pepper. Spread the wedges over a baking sheet, top with thyme and bake for an hour. In the last 5 minutes add honey to glaze the veges.
- To make the balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-4 minutes, or until it thickens. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey; it will continue to thicken once it cools.
- On a serving platter, arrange the baby spinach. Top with the sweet potato and carrots, then place the onion, dates, figs and almonds on top. Finish it off with figs and crumbled feta. Serve with balsamic reduction.
*We made extra carrots and sweet potato so you could probably halve the recipe if you were just using them for the salad.
**Alternatively you could use roasted almonds and roughly chop them up.
A very generous neighbour (and also one of my friends) gave us some of their figs that were ooey and gooey; just waiting to be used. My mum had already made the Roast Sweet Potato and Fresh Fig Salad before but she didn’t have figs at the time (figure that one out) so she suggested that I give it a go. Plus we added our own spin on it, because we like to do that in our household.
Sweet potatoes are a much healthier and prettier alternative to the normal potato (which are still fine when they’re not fried), and even better these are roasted with assorted herbs and spices, as well as carrot. They are also a great source of complex carbohydrates and are full of manganese, copper, iron, fiber and potassium. So you’re getting a good dose of beta-carotene, and vitamins and minerals all in a lower GI vegetable. All of which are essential for a healthy body and optimum performance.
Did you know? Beta-carotene may even reduce the risk of some cancers including, breast, colon, endometrial and prostate.
Did you know? Way back in 60 A.C (a.k.a ancient Greek times) Plato promoted the fig as an ideal food for athletes. This is probably because dried figs boast an enormous 60% of natural sugars. There’s even a story that the Greek government at the time forbid the export of any figs so they could have a successful outcome at the Olympic Games.