Is Chilled Roasted Sweet Potato Salad an Oxymoron?

Sweet Potato Salad

Is this Chilled Roasted Sweet Potato Salad an oxymoron? It’s a simple summer salad and tastes best chilled. But the sweet potatoes are roasted. Do you see my dilemma? I try to be very precise about my words.

Speaking of precise language, I have to admit that the word oxymoron sounds a lot like something it’s not. It sounds like an insult to the men and women who attend(ed) Occidental College (Oxy) in Eagle Rock, California. People like my BF and (oh yeah) President Barack Obama (same dorm). However the word oxymoron has nothing to do with that terrible word for people of limited intelligence (you do realize I am NOT talking about Occidental College, right?).

Full Definition of OXYMORON

1:  a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (as in jumbo shrimp and chilled roasted)

  • ox·y·mo·ron·ic adjective
  • ox·y·mo·ron·i·cal·ly adverb

But let’s get back to my simple summer sweet potato salad. If we simply call it Chili-Coriander Roasted Sweet Potato Salad we can avoid all the baggage that imprecise words carry, and only include words that tell you precisely what this salad is all about. Well, all the words except chilled. After all, this roasted sweet potato salad is a summer salad so I assume you know it’s chilled. I mean what are you, some sort of…

Wait. I think I was about to step into the trap of imprecise language. I refuse to do that. This Chili-Coriander Roasted Sweet Potato Salad deserves better than that.

Chilled Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Which brings me to my thesis. Who says sweet potatoes (or even yams) need to be cold weather food? Not me. Why not shake up your ideas about summertime potato salads? Leave the mayo in the fridge and have a look at what I can do with the humble (chilled roasted) sweet potato. My version is a little sweet, a little sour and even a little spicy. GREG

Chili-Coriander Roasted Sweet Potato Salad Chili-Coriander Roasted Sweet Potato Salad Chili-Coriander Roasted Sweet Potato Salad


Roasted Chili-Coriander Sweet Potato Salad 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Published
raw sweet potato wedges


  • 4 small sweet potatoes (unpeeled, cut lengthwise into wedges)
  • 2 tablespoon (plus ½ cup) canola oil
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper (as needed)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves (divided)
  • 3 limes (juice only)
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sambal olek chili paste
  • 2 clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • ½ cup mint leaves


Roast the potatoes: Place the oven rack in the top position. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lay sweet potato wedges onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Use two sheets if necessary. Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over the potatoes and use a pastry brush to make sure the potatoes are well-coated; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast, turning once, until tender and just beginning to char in places, 25–30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a blender or mini food processor, combine the remaining ½ cup oil, ½ cup cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, mirin, chili paste, garlic, ginger, ground coriander, and a pinch each salt and pepper. Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and then pulse the mixture 2 or 3 times. Set aside.

Prepare the salad: Remove the roasted potatoes from the oven. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack and pour about half of the prepared dressing over the potatoes while they are still hot. Use the pastry brush to coat the potatoes thoroughly. Let them come to room temperature brushing them in dressing from the tray occasionally, about 30 minutes. Save the remaining dressing, covered in the refrigerator up to five days. 

Once cool gently move the potatoes to a serving platter and refrigerate until chilled. Discard any dressing that remains on the baking sheet. 

To serve: Sprinkle mint and remaining ½ cup cilantro leaves on top of the chilled potatoes. Serve immediately.