SWEET POTATO SALAD WITH BACON, WALNUTS AND LIME VINAIGRETTE {PALEO & WHOLE30}

This roasted sweet potato salad is packed with crispy bacon, toasted walnuts, and tossed in a date-sweetened lime vinaigrette.  Paleo and Whole30 friendly, dairy free and easy to make, it’s the perfect healthy sweet and savory side dish for your picnic, barbecue, or everyday meal. 

Perhaps my issue is that I honestly feel that every single ingredients here is KEY to making this recipe rock our paleo worlds (and Whole30 world, if that’s where you’re at right now.)  I’ll start with the dressing.  Every time I make a sweet dressing or sauce with dates, I kick myself 3 times – once for each year of paleo eating that I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS POSSIBLE.
Perhaps my issue is that I honestly feel that every single ingredients here is KEY to making this recipe rock our paleo worlds (and Whole30 world, if that’s where you’re at right now.)  I’ll start with the dressing.  Every time I make a sweet dressing or sauce with dates, I kick myself 3 times – once for each year of paleo eating that I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS POSSIBLE.

This roasted sweet potato salad is packed with crispy bacon, toasted walnuts, and tossed in a date-sweetened lime vinaigrette. Paleo and Whole30 friendly, dairy free and easy to make, it's the perfect healthy sweet and savory side dish for your picnic, barbecue, or everyday meal.

Ingredients
For the Lime Vinaigrette {Whole30}
  • 3 medjool dates pitted and soaked in hot water to soften, if necessary OR 2 Tbsp raw honey*
  • 2 tbsp water using the water you soaked the dates in is fine ONLY if you are using dates
  • 2.5 tbsp fresh lime juice plus an extra squeeze at the end if desired
  • 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • pinch red pepper flakes optional, for spice

For the Salad:
  • 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-1 inch cubes 4-5 cups
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp reserved bacon fat or other cooking fat
  • generous pinch sea salt
  • generous pinch black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 6 slices nitrate free bacon sugar-free for Whole30**, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup raw walnuts roughly chopped + 1 tsp reserved bacon fat or other cooking fat
  • finely chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish

Instructions
  1. If you want to use reserved bacon fat to roast the sweet potatoes and walnuts, cook the bacon before anything else, and set aside until ready to use:
  2. Cook the bacon until crisp, stirring to evenly brown, and remove from skillet with slotted spoon to drain on paper towels, set aside. Reserve 2 tbsp of the rendered fat to toss with sweet potatoes and walnuts, if desired.
  3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  4. Toss the cubed sweet potatoes with 1 and 1/2 tbsp bacon fat (or preferred fat), sea salt, pepper, onion powder and smoked paprika. Spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet without overlapping. Use an extra baking sheet if necessary.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes, turn (or stir gently) then bake another 10-15 minutes or until soft and lightly browned.
  6. Toss the walnuts with 1 tsp bacon fat and a small pinch of salt, then sprinkle over the sweet potatoes to roast with them for the last 5-7 minutes of roasting time. Potatoes should be nearly done when you add the walnuts, so the walnuts don’t roast too long and burn.
  7. While the potatoes roast, make the dressing. Using a high speed blender or food processor (either should work well), blend the dates, water, lime juice and zest, balsamic vinegar, garlic and salt until smooth. With the blender on low speed, slowly pour in the olive oil in a narrow steady stream, blend until smooth and well combined.
  8. Toss the roasted potatoes and walnuts with the bacon. It’s best to add the vinaigrette just before serving. Slowly add the vinaigrette - you will have more than you need - so add this slowly and stop once you’re satisfied with the amount of dressing. Leftover dressing can be covered tightly and refrigerated for up to one week.
  9. Garnish the salad with parsley or cilantro, a lime wedge and an extra splash of lime juice if desired. Serve warm or room temperature, and store leftovers covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serves 6 as a side dish. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes
*Using honey makes the recipe no longer Whole30 compliant. Do not add the water if using honey
**Use sugar free bacon to be Whole30 compliant. I've been buying mine from U.S. Wellness Meats for years!

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