Sweet potato greens (aka talbos ng camote or camote tops in the Philippines ) are so cheap and very nutritious. This lowly vegetable should be considered one of the kings of green leafy vegetables as they have the ability to detoxify our bodies. When they are made into tea or juice, they can heal the dangerous dengue as they can increase platelet count. There may not be scientific findings available for this but sometimes in our lifetime, who would you trust, medicine or nature? After these miraculous results, most people are growing their own camote tops at home.
Freshly-picked Camote Tops
Camote tops are usually stir-fried with garlic and shallots or served as a salad with chopped tomatoes, red onions and a dressing of fish sauce and Philippine lemon (aka calamansi). They are also great with soups.
This rustic salad is composed of orange sweet potatoes, camote tops, raw sunflower seeds and broccoli sprouts. The tops can either be served raw or blanched. I prefer them blanched which are what most people do. Although, when the leaves are small and tender, I prefer them raw. Also, leafy greens are best eaten with unrefined oil and an acid for better absorption. Now, it’s up to you if you want to roast or steam the sweet potatoes. I choose to steam them as I want them moist. Make extra dressing as the potatoes will soak up the liquid and by the time you serve them, you will definitely need more dressing.
When I am serving a root vegetable such as sweet potato, I always serve it with a leafy green vegetable. Root vegetables are hard and strengthening which nourishes the intestines and the lower organs while the leafy green nourishes the liver and the heart. So, when I’m serving carrots, I would pair it with another type of leafy green.
I also want to serve this with some local fresh goat cheese but my order hasn’t arrived yet but it will definitely add a dimension of flavor to the whole salad. Some broccoli sprouts or any other type of sprouts of your choice will increase its nutritional value. For the dressing, I did a combination of lemon juice and calamansi but orange or lime juice would work really well. I really want a strong citrus dressing for this salad so I reduced the amount of oil that I used. Feel free to vary the flavors as well as the amount of the ingredients (because I didn’t exactly measure them). :)
Sweet Potato Salad
1 large shallot
5 large calamansi
2 tbsp natural soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
4-5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5-6 big handfuls of camote tops
1 lb small orange sweet potatoes
3 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
½ cup goat cheese
To start the dressing, peel and mince the shallots, juice the lemon and the calamansi into a bowl. Add the soy sauce and honey. Add the oil slowly until combined. Taste for seasoning and set aside.
To start the potato, wash and scrub the sweet potatoes, then trim the ends. Fill a pot of water and place the steamer insert with the sweet potatoes. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat and steam the potatoes for about 10-15 minutes (depending on size) or until tender but not mushy.
To blanch the leafy green, bring a pot of water to a boil for the leafy green. Then, prepare an ice bath and a strainer with a bowl underneath. Remove the leafy greens from its stem, then wash with plenty of water and drain. When the water has boiled, blanch the leafy greens for less then 5 seconds and transfer them into the ice bath. Then, lift all of them out onto the strainer before squeezing the excess water. Cut them into smaller pieces and arrange them onto a large platter.
To serve, drizzle the greens with a little bit of the dressing and lightly toss. Cut the sweet potatoes in half and arrange on top of the greens. Then, add the sunflower seeds and crumble the goat’s cheese on top. Drizzle with more dressing over the potatoes and garnish with sprouts. Serve while the sweet potatoes are still warm.