The Ultimate “Do Ahead” Dinner

I love sweet potatoes, but they do take a fairly long time to cook. Too long to make them on a work night. I was searching for something to do with the sweet potatoes in our box, when I came across several different recipes for a southwest salad. I decided to do some prep ahead work over the weekend, so that I could get dinner ready quickly during the week. Since the salad required cooked and chilled foods, this became the ultimate opportunity to cook ingredients ahead and have a great dinner during the week.

Southwest Chicken and Sweet Potato Salad

The recipe I used for the dressing is adapted from this recipe from Hispanic Kitchen. It was less spicy than I anticipated, which was actually a good thing!

Southwest Chicken and Sweet Potato Salad
Recipe type: Main, Salad
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 ears corn, husks removed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 cups lettuce
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • ½ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained.
  • 2 limes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • handful of fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut lengthwise into ½ inch thick slices. Brush the sweet potatoes with ¼ cup of olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat grill to medium heat. Grill sweet potatoes until cooked through, turning once. At the same time, grill the corn, turning frequently. This will take about 15 minutes.
  3. Combine chili powder and 1 teaspoon of cumin. Rub over chicken breasts. Grill chicken breasts until cooked through, turning once. (About 10 minutes.)
  4. Let sweet potatoes, corn, and chicken cool. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Thinly slice chicken.
  5. While everything is cooling, make the dressing. Zest one of the limes, and juice both limes. In a blender, combine lime zest and juice, jalapeno pepper, garlic, cilantro, and remaining teaspoon of cumin. Blend until smooth. With blender running, drizzle in the remaining ¾ cup of olive oil.
  6. The above steps can all be done ahead, with everything refrigerated until serving time.
  7. Divide lettuce among plates. Top with tomato, cooked sweet potatoes, cooked corn, black beans, and sliced chicken. Drizzle dressing over.


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