A Winter-Worthy Main Dish Salad

3 Mar

When you live in a ‘real winter’ country like Canada (Victoria, B.C. excepted), salad as your main meal when there’s snow on the ground is simply . . . inadequate. Our bodies seem to demand warm food and hearty ingredients to survive cold weather. On the other hand, when faced with yet another meal featuring root vegetables temperatures, and tempers, may flare around the dinner table.

Here’s the exception that proves the rule: Sweet Potato, Ham & Goat Cheese Salad [Fine Cooking’s Make It Tonight, The Taunton Press, Inc., 2012.]. I can eat goat cheese any time of the year, but more so during cool months when I enjoy it with a lush red wine.

Sweet Potato - Ham - Goat Cheese Salad

Sweet Potato – Ham – Goat Cheese Salad

The ham and sweet potatoes roast, along with onion wedges, in a clean-up friendly, speedy weeknight method ideal for a savvy single supper. A ham steak is a sensible way to scratch the occasional itch for a feed of ham.

SWEET POTATO-HAM-GOAT CHEESE SALAD                         Serves: 2


  • 1 small                       yellow onion, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ wedges
  • 1 small                       sweet potato, a long one is good. Cut into 1/4″ rounds
  • 1/4 cup (57 mL)       extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp (4 mL)          chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • to taste                       Kosher salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/8 lb (170 g)            ham steak (preferably “ham in natural juices”), cut into 3/4″ cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL)          pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL)          balsamic vinegar
  • 2.5 oz  (71 g)              mesculun salad mix (I used a spring salad mix)
  • 2.0 oz (57 g)              fresh goat cheese, crumbled


1.     Set a rack in your oven to the centre position. Pre-heat oven to 450 F.

Cut into 1/4" rounds

Cut into 1/4″ rounds

Cut onion into 1/2" wedges

Cut onion into 1/2″ wedges

2.     Place sweet potato coins and onion wedges on a large cookie sheet, lined with aluminum foil. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of EVOO, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Spread the vegetables out in a single layer and roast in 450 F oven for 15 minutes or until the potatoes become tender.

Dice ham steak into 3/4" cubes.

Dice ham steak into 3/4″ cubes.

3.     Meanwhile, toss the diced ham with the maple syrup until well coated.

Add diced ham, coated in maple syrup after potatoes and onions have roasted for 15 minutes

Add diced ham, coated in maple syrup after potatoes and onions have roasted for 15 minutes

4.     Remove cookie sheet from the oven and push the onions and potatoes to the outside edges. Add maple-coated ham in a single layer and return to oven for about 10 minutes. Ham and onion will be slightly browned.

5.     Meanwhile, wash the salad greens and spin dry. Reserve half for your second meal. Place half of the salad greens on a dinner plate.

Wash and spin the salad greens. Prep balsamic vinaigrette

Wash and spin the salad greens. Prep balsamic vinaigrette

6.   Prepare vinaigrette in a small mason jar with lid. Shake together 3 tablespoons EVOO, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Ham will be nicely browned after another 10 minutes.

Ham will be nicely browned after another 10 minutes.

7.     Drizzle 1/4 of the vinaigrette over the plate of salad greens. Arrange half of the roasted ham, onion and sweet potato coins over the greens. Allow the remaining half of the roasted vegetables and ham to cool. Refrigerate sealed in a foil packet.

8.     Scatter half of the crumbled goat cheese over the salad and drizzle with another 1/4 of the vinaigrette (or less to taste).

The sweet and savoury flavours in this salad held up well with a glass of Pinot Noir. It was a fully satisfying, not to mention virtuous, meal — a delightful surprise. This savvy single was even happier when a toss of crumpled aluminum foil took care of the main clean up.

Simple, satisfying, savvy salad supper for snowy months.

Simple, satisfying, savvy salad supper for snowy months.

Second Serving:

Store remaining vinaigrette in its jar, salad greens in your vegetable crisper and foil packet of roasted ham and vegetables in the refrigerator. When ready for the second serving, place foil packet in a 300 F oven (or toasted oven) for 10 minutes. Unroll packet and allow the contents to crisp up a bit in the oven. Assemble salad as directed above.


5 Responses to “A Winter-Worthy Main Dish Salad”

  1. Debby Simpson March 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    What cheese would you recommend as a substitute for goat cheese? No matter how many times and types I’ve tried, I just don’t like goat cheese.

    • Susan at Savvy Single Suppers March 3, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

      Hmmm. A replacement for goat cheese? It would need to be on the creamy/crumbly side, with a bit of a tang (which off-sets the sweetness of the roasted sweet potato and maple-glazed ham. A light blue cheese perhaps? Or an Oka? I think even several shavings of Asiago cheese could work. Let us know what you try!

  2. kwiaciarnia internetowa March 31, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    I’m a extended time watcher and I just believed I’d drop by and say hi there there for your quite 1st time.

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