Sweet potato salad with cranberries and pecans DSC1221

Sweet potato salad with cranberries and pecans

“What are you cooking this week?” asked my grandma. I told her I was making sweet potatoes. “They’re good for your eyes!” she said.

My grandma loves her sweet potatoes, as does most of my family. I, however, only eat them when they’re mashed or pureed as in soups or pies. Other preparations—such as sweet potatoes with marshmallows or sweet potato fries—are just a bit too much for me. I can’t explain it.

But at my cousin’s wedding in August I had a revelation. My cousin Lisa, like everyone in my family, loves to cook. And when her daughter Sarah announced her wedding, Lisa said, “I’m catering it.” It was a huge party and preparing a dinner for so many folks was a herculean task, but Lisa gathered up her friends and with their help she pulled it off with grace and elegance.

Sweet potato salad with cranberries and pecans | Homesick Texan

It was a fine feast made all the better because it was prepared with love. Everything was delicious, but there was one salad that stood out on a table overflowing with goodness. The salad was nutty, creamy, earthy yet sweet and was the sort of dish that made you pause because you weren’t quite sure what you’d eaten, but you quickly took another bite because you knew you wanted more. I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was, but I loved it anyway.

Then it hit me.

“Wait. Are these sweet potatoes?” I asked the people sitting at my table. My mom said that they were. “But it tastes so good and I don’t like sweet potatoes!” I said. She agreed that it was one incredible dish. In fact the whole table was chatting about this simple salad comprised of sweet potatoes, crunchy pecans and tart dried cranberries tossed in a curry-laced dressing. It was quite the surprise.

The next day, I insisted that Lisa give me the recipe. It turned out to be one of her friend’s recipes and she promised to send it to me. “This would be perfect for Thanksgiving!” I said.

Now, while this is a cold salad, sweet potatoes, pecans and cranberries are in season and this dish still says autumn to me. Even if you’re the kind of person that often finds sweet potatoes a bit cloying I know you’ll enjoy this.

Sweet potato salad with cranberries and pecans | Homesick Texan

Plus, as my grandma says, sweet potatoes are good for your eyes!

5 from 2 votes

Sweet potato salad with cranberries and pecans

Servings 4
Author Lisa Fain


  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes, about 2 or 3 large, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse-ground mustard
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup roughly chopped pecans, lightly toasted
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet. Place the cubed sweet potatoes on the sheet and bake until cooked but firm, about 35-40 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, curry powder and mustard. Stir in the green onions, cranberries, pecans and cooked sweet potatoes. Adjust seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste. Chill for at least 3 hours before serving.


My cousin adds 1 tablespoon of brown sugar when she makes this, but I find it’s plenty sweet with the sweet potatoes and cranberries. If you want it to be sweeter, you might try it that way.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. garymporter says:

    I am so glad to have discovered your blog. I considered myself a pretty good Texas and Southern cook till now. The sweet potato, cranberry, pecan dish has bowled me over. So simple–why has no one thought of this before?

    I clipped and filed a tamale dressing recipe years ago, and then forgot all about it. The very idea of it makes my mouth water. The recipe I have is, I believe, from Dean Fearing's kitchen during his early days at The Mansion, but you may want to fact-check that. Anyway, great, super blog.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Your sweet grandmother hand-delivered your book to me last weekend….what a wonderful Christmas surprise!! I read cookbooks like novels so I am super excited. I am also a native Texan and appreciate the authenticity of your recipes. Jill and Grant Byrd

  3. True Texan says:

    I just received your GREAT book late last night. My sister who lives in Manhattan sent it to me for my birthday. I live in Dallas, TX. She wrote inside "May you never be lonesome for Texas" I sat up for hours reading every single page with a growling stomach looking at the great photos! As soon as I finish my holiday baking, I will most definitely try out many of your recipes.

  4. I made this as a side for Christmas dinner and everyone liked it. My dad even asked for the recipe. And then I opened my presents and was thrilled to receive your cookbook as one of them! It is back in Mexico City with me, ready to help me feel less homesick in 2012! Here's to a happy and healthy New Year!

  5. I just made this salad for dinner tonight, and it was fantastic! I substituted raisins and Dijon mustard, and the salad received rave reviews from everyone. I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!