As someone who ordinarily detests MBA students, or at the very least, Yale MBA students, I was very happy when their building relocated from right next to our political science department to about 5-7 minutes away. Two weeks ago, my friends and I were even more pleased to discover that the Yale School of Management cafeteria was having its trial week, where it was handing out different kinds of food – for free! Being conditioned to seek out free food as graduate students, we headed there for lunch all week until the free food week was, alas, over. One of my favorite things that I had there was this sweet potato and poblano salad – this salad single-handedly changed my opinion about sweet potatoes. When combined with fresh, roasted ingredients that pack a ton of flavor, this salad by itself seemed like a meal and I couldn’t wait to replicate it at home. I finally got around to doing so this weekend, but I made a slight modification to the meal we had – to make it have more protein and be more hearty, I replaced the roasted red peppers with some black beans. I also crushed some baked tortilla chips on top of the final salad to give it some texture and crunch. If you’re a big fan of roasted red peppers, you can go ahead and add those as well. My main suggestion while preparing this dish would be to use the freshest ingredients possible – fresh peppers and fresh corn that you roast at home, as it really enhances the flavor, instead of giving a bland or salty flavor that might come with bottled or frozen ingredients.
- 4 large poblano peppers
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin (I used 3 because I love a little extra)
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 14 ounces of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 corn cobs
- 1 diced red onion
- 3-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- Salt (to season)
- Paprika (to season)
- Baked tortilla chips (optional)
- Preheat broiler to high. Line the baking sheet with foil. Spray peppers with non-stick spray. Place on baking sheet 4 inches below broiler. Roast peppers until skins are blistered and black, about 15 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other side. Remove peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool. Alternatively, store the peppers in a paper bag and let them cool.
- Cut sweet potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes and boil them for 10-15 minutes
- Set oven to bake at 375 degrees F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine sweet potatoes, onions, olive oil, cumin, salt and half of the cilantro. Mix well. Spread sweet potatoes onto baking sheet; roast in oven until tender, about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Now, roast your corn. You can choose to do it whichever way you are familiar with – I just put the entire cob with the husks in the oven for about 20-30 minute or until about the corn is soft and you can smell it. You can also choose to grill it. Once the corn is roasted, wait for it to cool.
- Meanwhile, peel peppers, cut off their stems and remove seeds. Since the seeds of poblano peppers are extremely spicy, the level of heat you want in this dish should correlate with how careful you are in ensuring whether you want any seeds in your seeds. Cut flesh into 1/2 inch squares.
- Remove sweet potatoes from oven, set aside until cool, about 10-20 minutes.
- Take the cooled corn cobs and remove the husks. Now remove the corn from the cob and toss it with some salt, lemon juice and paprika.
- In a bowl, combine roasted sweet potatoes, roasted onions, roasted poblano peppers, beans, the seasoned corn, lime juice, and remaining cilantro and season it with salt. Toss gently. Serve cold. Sprinkle some baked tortilla chips in case you desire some crunchy texture. Enjoy!