The concept for this salad is “Thanksgiving sides – combined.” Inspired in part by my favourite Brussels sprouts side dish wherein the vegetables just serve as a flavour vector for maple syrup, whiskey and ALL the butter.
I’m fairly certain that maple roasted sweet potatoes are everyone’s favourite holiday side, while the turnips are languishing in neglect, people are getting up for seconds of those beautifully caramelized sweet potatoes.
Then we have the cranberry sauce – more polarizing than the Trump presidency. You either love it or hate it. When I’m invited to Thanksgiving dinner, I always volunteer to contribute the cranberry sauce. I have the BEST cranberry sauce recipe (which is actually more of a compote than a sauce) that puts all those canned or gelatinous examples to shame.
So, here we have a salad that conceptualizes these classic side dishes into a toothsome vegetarian dish. Instead of roasted Brussels sprouts, I simply cut off the ends and toss them into the food processor to shred them raw. By leaving them uncooked, you get the benefit of their crisp and crunchy texture that balances out the soft maple roasted sweet potatoes.
The sweet potatoes, however, are pretty true to form. The only differentiating factor is that these are diced into half-inch cubes for easy bite-sized consumption. The walnut component here could very well exist in your version of sweet potatoes on turkey day or they might be incorporated into your stuffing, either way, they add a slightly bitter flavour and buttery consistency to this dish.
The Maple Tahini Dressing really ties it all together. The maple syrup in the dressing intensifies the flavour of the roasted sweet potatoes and cuts the bitterness of the tahini. The lemon adds some acidity to balance it out and just a touch of cayenne for a whisper of spice.
In all, this salad reconfigures your favourite Thanksgiving sides into a healthful and toothsome salad that is perfect for meatless Mondays or workweek lunches!