Even though the weather here in Los Angeles is currently in the triple digits, the fall produce is starting to push many of the summer favorites to the side at the markets. Yams are taking center stage right now so it is an optimal time to prepare them in a way that will let them shine and get the attention they truly deserve.
In my most recent post, I rambled on about my love affair with creamy yellow fleshed potatoes. I also mentioned how I do my best to avoid them as they are part of the nightshade family which seem to have an inflammatory affect on my body. But sweet potatoes and yams are not nightshades or part of the the potato family for that matter. They are part of the orange fleshed vegetable group, and are so much better for you than their tuber cousins. When I am not in the mood to cook, I will often roast a yam to have for lunch or dinner. I find them to be extremely satisfying with nothing but a splash of aged balsamic vinegar, but their applications are quite versatile. I use them to replace fats in baked goods, as a base for an unbelievably good vegan sea cake (a recipe I must share very soon), and all of the usual holiday recipes that they star in. As late summer white corn is still piled high in the markets, combining the sweet kernels with yams along with a sprinkling of smoky chipotle seasoning makes it the perfect nutrient rich salad to enjoy as we transition into fall.
Sweet potatoes are extremely nutritious. They are a potent source of the antioxidants alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. They are pro vitamin A carotenoids which help the body convert the carotenes into vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to boost immunities, reverse skin damage, and is essential for healthy vision . They are also a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and E, and the minerals potassium and magnesium which help to promote strong bones. The high levels of antioxidants in these orange fleshed vegetables have shown to help reduce blood cholesterol, fight cancer, and reduce menopausal symptoms. Black Beans are high in dietary fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, protein, iron, and potassium. Making beans a standard part of your diet will help to fight colorectal cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Cilantro is helpful to the digestive system as it has oils that stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, as well for helping to relieve feelings of nausea. It is effectively used as a natural cleansing agent to help remove heavy metals from the body. Cilantro has chemical compounds that bind to heavy metals in tissues and organs, and these compounds help to transport them out through elimination. Additionally, cilantro has both anti inflammatory and anti bacterial benefits.
Sweet Potato Chipotle Salad
For all ingredients, please consider using those that have been grown organically.
|1 pound||yams, cut into 1/3 inch chunks|
|1/2 cup||corn kernels, either raw or lightly sauteed|
|1/3 cup||cooked black beans, canned is fine|
|2-3||scallions, white part only, thinly sliced|
|1 tablespoon||olive oil, pistachio or toasted pumpkin seed oil is also quite nice to use|
|1/4 teaspoon||chipotle chile powder|
|freshly ground black pepper|
|2-3 tablespoons||cilantro, chopped|
|1 teaspoon||freshly squeezed lime juice, lemon is fine|
Steam the prepared sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes or until they are fork tender. Transfer to a medium size mixing bowl and allow to cool for 10-20 minutes.
Add the corn kernels, black beans, scallions, olive oil, chipotle chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cilantro, and lime juice to the yams and toss to combine all of the flavors.
Taste for seasoning. Add additional salt or lime juice to achieve desired flavor. It is also nice to add an addition tablespoon or two of oil, but I personally like to keep it on the lighter side as the oil can make it quite rich. If you prefer it to be a bit more spicy, add another pinch of chipotle chili powder, but remember that a little goes a long way.
Serve at room temperature or cold.