Bella’s Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato Salad

And who, pray tell, is this exotic culinary adventuress named Bella? My eight-year-old Portuguese water dog, Bella. For a long time now, she’s loved carrots. She literally comes running every time she hears the carrot peeler come out of the drawer. My husband and I thought, “Hmm, that’s different for a dog,” and played the approving parents. Recently she’s expanded her palate to sweet potatoes. No sooner do they hit the counter than she’s singing and dancing around my feet. I quarter and square off the potatoes and fling the ends at her, and she’s been known to get some serious hang time as she leaps for them. Seriously, Air Bud’s got nothing on Bella. Maybe she heard about how healthful sweet potatoes are: their natural sweetness is perfectly balanced with high fiber content, slowing the rush of sugar into the bloodstream, which is great for the vascular system, and for mood. My experience says that’s true; whenever I make this salad, Bella’s awfully happy.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
Sea salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 pound orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, such as garnet yams, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, preferably blood orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Grade B maple syrup
12 kalamata olives, cut in half
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup almonds or shelled pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and sauté until slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, cumin, and paprika and sauté for 1 minute. Add the sweet potatoes, water, orange juice, orange zest, lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the liquid is reduced to almost a glaze, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, maple syrup, and olives and stir gently to combine. Taste; you may want to add a pinch of salt or squeeze of lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with the parsley and almonds. Serve at room temperature.

Reprinted with permission from The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.