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Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Black Rice

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The warm flavors of cinnamon and cumin join forces with sweet potatoes in our Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Black Rice. This is a salad for a quick lunch or when combined with grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp it is a full-meal salad. 

A serving bowl with with sweet potato and kale salad with black rice.
Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Black Rice

Kale and Sweet Potato Salad with Black Rice

Our sweet potato salad is a far cry from your grandma’s classic potato salad, but just as delicious. 

Roasting the garnet sweet potatoes brings out their natural nutty sweetness. And when we add the flavors of cinnamon and cumin, there’s a punch of flavor that brings it over the top.

Here is Why This Sweet Potato Salad Recipe Works

Nutrient Powerhouse: Forget boring salads; this one’s packed with superfoods. With black rice, baby kale, and sweet potatoes, it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—healthy never tasted so good.

Perfect Texture: Say goodbye to mushy salads. The tender sweet potatoes, chewy black rice, and crisp baby kale create a delightful mix of textures. You’ll never look at soggy lettuce the same way again.

Versatile Vinaigrette: The vinaigrette doesn’t just sit there—it brings the party. With tangy white balsamic, Dijon mustard, honey, and fresh thyme, it ties everything together like a boss. Use it on this salad or any other dish that needs a flavor boost.

Several sweet potatoes ready to be peeled.
Garnet Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • Produce: Sweet potatoes, baby kale, green onions, garlic, fresh thyme
  • Pantry: Black rice, olive oil, honey
  • Pantry Seasonings: Salt, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, black pepper
  • Condiments: White balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard

Substitutions

  • You can use wild rice, brown rice, or quinoa as alternatives to the black rice. 
  • Swap the green onions with chives, shallots, or red onions for a different onion flavor.
  • Use apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, or regular balsamic vinegar if white balsamic isn’t available.
  • Substitute the Dijon with whole grain mustard or yellow mustard.
  • Use dried thyme if fresh isn’t available. Use about half the amount if using dried thyme.
  • Substitute the honey with maple syrup or agave.

Pouring dressing on a kale and sweet potato salad.
Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Black Rice with white balsamic vinaigrette

Flavorful Variations to Try

Mediterranean Twist: Add Feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and Kalamata olives.

Spicy Southwest Sweet Potato Kale Salad: Add black beans, corn kernels, and diced avocado.

Asian-Inspired: Add Edamame, shredded carrots, and thinly sliced red bell pepper. Use rice vinegar instead of balsamic and sesame oil instead of olive oil in the vinaigrette.

Make this Sweet Potato Kale Salad a Meal

Get creative and grill up some chicken breasts to slice and add to the salad. Or, you may already have some cooked chicken in your fridge.  Add some sautéed shrimp!  That is another super-delicious way to up your nutrition while keeping down the fat and calories. 

Adding dried cranberries or raisins lends a sweet touch to the savory combination. If you like a little more crunchy then toss in some roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or walnuts. Different kinds of low-fat cheeses, like feta or crumbled goat cheese is another good thing to add into this salad. 

If you are looking for more potato salad recipes that don’t use mayo, try our red potato salad with yogurt dressing.

Can I Make This Sweet Potato and Black Rice Salad In Advance?

Yep, and it is a portable salad too, great for a take-along lunch for work or a picnic. The thing to remember is, like most green salads, the baby kale will wilt quickly with the salad dressing on it.  So, if you keep the components in the refrigerator in separate containers you can manage quite well. 

A plate with black rice, sweet potato and kale salad.
Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Black Rice with white balsamic vinaigrette.

When you are ready to pack your lunch, choose your salad container, add the black rice on the bottom, then a portion of roasted sweet potatoes, any add-ins and the baby kale on top. Bring a small container of dressing in a separate container then mix it all together at lunch time.

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Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Black Rice

Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Black Rice

This colorful Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Black Rice is a wonderful low-fat, high-fiber salad packed full of nutrients and flavor and tossed with a white balsamic vinaigrette.
4.85 from 19 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 247kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger

Ingredients

For the Sweet Potatoes:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Black pepper freshly ground

For the Black Rice:

  • 1 cup uncooked black rice
  • 1-1/4 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 ounces baby kale chopped
  • 3 green onions chopped— white and green

For the White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F

  • Add the cubed sweet potatoes to a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. In a small dish, combine the salt, cinnamon, cumin and pepper together and sprinkle over the sweet potatoes.
    Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. When the potatoes are fork-tender, transfer from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • While the sweet potatoes are roasting: Rinse the rice under cold water and add to a medium size saucepan with the cold water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for 5 minutes. 
    Reduce the heat to low, add a tight fitting lid and cook for 30 minutes. The rice should be al dente and not soft. If there is still a little unabsorbed water, drain it off. Transfer the rice to a bowl and cool to room temperature.

For the White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake until well combined.

Assembling the Salad:

  • In a large salad bowl, combine the cooled black rice, sweet potatoes, chopped kale and the green onions. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss together. 

Notes

  • We used the Garnet sweet potatoes which are also called yams. The yellow sweet potatoes can be substituted.
  • Roasting the sweet potatoes will bring out their natural sweetness; do not over-cook, they should be tender but not soft-mushy.
  • The sweet potatoes and the rice can be cooked in advance and cooled in the refrigerator.
  • For a quick cool-off, spread the rice and sweet potatoes on separate parchment lined baking sheets and stick into the freezer for 10 minutes. 
  • Ideas for add-ins: Grilled chicken breast, sautéed shrimp, feta cheese, blue cheese chunks, crisp bacon pieces, dried raisins or cranberries

Nutrition

Serving: 1-1/4 Cup | Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 3.6g | Fat: 9.1g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Sodium: 327mg | Fiber: 3.8g | Sugar: 2.7g

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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