Sugar and spice and all things nice – this salad is exactly that. The natural sweetness of sweet potato combines perfectly with the warming spices of cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. And the honey-roasted walnuts are nothing short of show-stopping. Make a double batch and keep them in a jar for snacking!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 sweet potatoes (about 2 kg), peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 2–3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 200 g (1 cup) puy lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup whatever soft herbs you have (such as mint, parsley, chervil, tarragon, chives, dill and/or coriander), finely chopped 
  • 2 cups baby rocket leaves
  • 50 g parmesan, shaved
  • Sea salt and black pepper

SWEET VINAIGRETTE

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 80 ml (1⁄3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper

HONEY-ROASTED WALNUTS 

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon dried chili flakes 
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric 
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 cups walnuts

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C).
  2. On a large baking tray, combine the sweet potato with olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin and allspice and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25–30 minutes, or until tender and starting to turn golden.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add the lentils and simmer over medium heat for around 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still have a bite to them. Drain.
  4. To make the sweet vinaigrette, whisk together all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. While the lentils are still warm, stir through the vinaigrette.
  5. To prepare the walnuts, combine the honey with the chili flakes, turmeric, salt, and just enough water to make a thick paste. Coat the walnuts in the paste and spread onto a baking tray. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the walnuts are crunchy and almost dry. The nuts will stay a bit sticky, which is fine.
  6. Combine half the herbs with the rocket, sweet potato and lentils and season well. To serve, scatter over the walnuts, the remaining herbs, and the parmesan.

Community: New Edition by Hetty McKinnon, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Luisa Brimble.