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Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad
Sometimes you’re just craving a healthy, jam-packed salad for lunch or dinner and this Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad is just the thing that you need! Simply add a splash of color, flavor, and nutrients with a variety of ingredients like red + green kale, roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, onions, etc. Entirely dairy-free, vegan, + gluten-free. Make ahead option.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links via Amazon for products that I wholeheartedly love.
We're finally in the new year and I couldn't be more excited for 2023 and all of the delicious things that I have ahead. While 2022 had major ups + downs, one of my biggest lessons was my health which took a serious rollercoaster, especially during the 4th quarter. A combination of lack of sleep, extreme work, and not eating the best---my body definitely gave me a wake up call and since the start of December, I've totally changed up my diet and as a result, I feel much better than I did before. It's still a journey, but I know that it's for the long haul in terms of resetting my body and creating a better environment for it with the major changes that I made---one of which includes more veggies and this Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad is just the thing that adds that!
Moreover, I'm so ecstatic to be adding a lot more vegan + gluten-free options to Orchids + Sweet Tea (oh and it's officially Veganuary---yay!) going forward to reflect my new way of eating, with sprinkles of meat and seafood and a tad-bit of dairy. All in all, it's going to be a delicious year! Haha.
I'm not sure if you have any new year's resolutions like eating healthier, more exercise, etc. however, if you're thinking about your diet and want to incorporate healthier options, I definitely recommend checking out my post on How to Best Transition into a Plant-Based or Vegan Diet. And if you don't know where to start in terms of recipes, here's the best ones to try first:
Well, thanks to my love affair with chopped salads from Just Salad a few years ago and now my vision of salads have changed.
What is Chopped Salad?
OK, so if this is your first time hearing about chopped salad, then I've got you covered. Basically, the difference between chopped salad and regular salad is that all of the ingredients are chopped and incorporated versus it being layered. It definitely creates the perfect bite that makes a real difference when eating it.
My easy method to massage kale is to add the de-stemmed and chopped kale to a large bowl and then drizzling it with 1-2 tsps of lemon juice or Extra virgin olive oil and using your clean hands, rubbing the leaves together gently for about 2-3 minutes. They should look glossy and slightly reduced in volume when massaging is achieved.
How To Make Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad
Ready to get in the kitchen to whip up this Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad? Let’s get to the recipe.
The ingredients for this wintery salad are simple and easy to customize based on what’s in your kitchen:
Olive oil. Use a nice high-quality extra-virgin olive oil to roast the sweet potatoes + chickpeas.
Herbs + spice. I use staple spices like salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, parsley, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika.
Tomatoes. You can also roast them to perfection.
Sweet potatoes. You can also use regular russet or Yukon potatoes for a more savory taste.
Chickpeas. I like to use canned garbanzo beans for ease—just drain + rinse. Though you could also cook dried beans.
Kale. Be sure to chop your kale leaves well into bite-sized pieces. No one likes feeling like they have to chew for 5 minutes to get through a tough leaf of kale! If you prefer a different leafy green, you can use spinach, romaine, butter lettuce, or another favorite salad base. For an extra touch, I chose to roast my kale for a nice crisp!
Jalapeños. I like the extra spicy flavor.
Cucumber. You'll need to peel + chop.
Onion. I love using red onions, but yellow would do. Adds great nutritional value.
Avocado. I like to use Haas avocados and chop them into chunks. You can also use them to make guacamole as a topping.
Salad dressing. Use your favorite homemade or store-bought dressing to bring this salad to life! I made my favorite homemade spicy chipotle dressing which adds a great bold flavor.
How To Make Dairy-Free Creamy Spicy Chipotle Sauce
To top your delicious veggie salad and add a bit of heat, make a dairy-free chipotle sauce/dressing with:
Vegan mayonnaise. Use any kind you like.
Chipotle peppers. I like to use canned chile chipotle peppers. You can also use 1 teaspoon of chipotle powder if you have that on hand instead!
Lemon juice. Freshly squeezed! You can also use lime juice.
Adobo sauce. I like the extra spicy flavor. You can substitute with Tabasco sauce, chili garlic sauce, or ancho chile paste.
Almond milk. Helps to make the sauce creamier. You can use your fave plant-based milk.
Herbs + seasonings. You'll need salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, parsley, cilantro, and red pepper flakes.
What Are Good Ingredients to Add to a Salad?
If you want to take this already delicious chopped salad to the next level, have fun tossing in your favorite salad toppers. I especially love the following ingredients with the kale and spicy chipotle flavors in this recipe:
Beans + legumes (i.e. black beans, kidney beans, etc.)
SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR COOKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS SALAD!
Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad. Everything from my fave high-powered blender, baking sheets, wooden spoons, salad chopper, mixing bowls, and more.
How to Make Homemade Croutons
This Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad is easy to throw together, but the highlight of many salads are definitely the homemade croutons, if you desire to use them. While you might think that it's so hard to make----I'm here to show you just how easy it is, using the following ingredients:
Can I Make This Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad for Meal Prep?
The roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas and chopped veggies can be made up to 2 days beforehand and stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. The dressing can be made and refrigerated in a separate airtight container. The salad can chopped up to 30 minutes before serving.
How to Make Chopped Salad with a Food Processor
For greater ease, you can easily chop your ingredients in a food processor for the perfect bite. I suggest first starting with solely the kale leaves once they are de-stemmed. Add them to your food processor and pulse for a few seconds before they are too minced. Then remove those chopped greens and place them into a bowl and work your way through the other ingredients (all processed separately).
Once all ingredients are chopped, add them together in a bowl and continue recipe.
What to Serve with Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad
You can enjoy this Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad on its own as a nice lunch or dinner. Or, if you'd like to add additional protein to round out your meal, add crispy tofu or nuts to keep things plant-based. If you're not vegetarian or vegan, you can add seared salmon or leftover cooked chicken.
How to Store Leftover Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad
Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days, depending on the ingredients. Always determine the ingredients in your salad and keep it no longer than the shelf life of your fastest-spoiling ingredient.
Other Vegan Recipes You’ll Love
If you are a fan of my Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad, you will also love these other delicious vegan options also!
Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
In two separate bowls, add the cubed sweet potatoes and chickpeas along with equally divided amounts of olive oil and all the seasonings, gently mixing everything together until sweet potatoes and chickpeas are fully coated in their own bowls.
Line the sweet potatoes side by side unto the baking sheet (in a single layer) followed by the chickpeas (grouped together in a single layer) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until sweet potatoes and chickpeas are charred and golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
TO MAKE THE CHIPOTLE DRESSING:
Add all ingredients into a high-powdered blender and blend until sauce becomes creamy. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
CHOP + MASSAGE KALE:
Strip the leaves from 2 large bunches kale and discard the stems if you haven't already. Roughly chop the leaves and add them to a large bowl. Drizzle about 1-2 tsps of lemon juice or olive oil atop chopped kale and using clean hands, rub together the kale gently for about 2-3 minutes to soften the leaves and help to infuse the 'flavors' of the kale.
ASSEMBLE THE SALAD:
On a large cutting board, add half of the kale followed half the amount of the following: roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas, cucumber slices, tomatoes, avocado, onion, and jalapeños; and using a 'salad chopper', precisely chop everything together (working your hands to keep them together when needed) until ingredients are cut "fine. Add chopped ingredients into a large serving bowl and REPEAT with remaining half of ingredients.
To serve, add the chopped salad to your bowl(s), drizzle with chipotle dressing, and add your favorite toppings like grated parmesan, croutons, etc. if desired.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days, depending on the ingredients. Always determine the ingredients in your salad and keep it no longer than the shelf life of your fastest-spoiling ingredient.
MAKE AHEAD: The roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas and chopped veggies can be made up to 2 days beforehand and stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. The dressing can be made and refrigerated in a separate airtight container. The salad can chopped up to 30 minutes before serving.
GREENS: If preferred, you can always add greens like Arugula, Mustard Greens, Spinach or Collard Greens to this pasta dish for added flavor.
EQUIPMENT: Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad. Everything from my fave high-powered blender, baking sheets, wooden spoons, salad chopper, mixing bowls, and more.