Sweet Potato Salad with Tangy Ancho Chili Sauce (Virtual Vegan Potluck)

Hey vegan potluckers! We are thrilled to be participating in the third virtual vegan potluck!

One of my favorite dishes is the classic potato salad. But Neal won’t go near it because most versions have vegan mayo in them and he detests mayo. Even if the potato salad is mayo-less, he won’t go near it because he associates it with mayo. Challenge accepted! IMG_5164 _Snapseed

This potato salad is a twist on the classic version. Instead of russet and/or red potatoes, I used sweet potatoes.
IMG_5070 _Snapseed

And instead of the classic mayo, onions and pickle relish mixture, I used Mexican inspired ingredients like dried Ancho chili, cilantro, lime juice, harissa (technically, this ingredient is Moroccan)IMG_5127 _Snapseed

and black beans.IMG_5161 _Snapseed

The tangy sauce is cashew based and comes out nice and creamy but not in a mayo kind of way. IMG_5156 _Snapseed

Sweet Potato Salad with Tangy Ancho Chili Sauce

Ingredients (approximates)

  • 4-5 medium to large peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-1 tbs chopped dried ancho chili
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp harissa
  • 2 1/2 tbs lime juice (+ a couple of splashes at end)
  • 3/8 cup of water
  • 14.5 oz can of rinsed and drained black beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Boil sweet potatoes until tender (about 5-7 minutes in boiling water). You want them tender but not too tender that they turn to mush. Drain and let cool.
  2. In a small blender or food processor (I used the small cup with my magic bullet), pulse the garlic, salt and ancho chili.
  3. Add the raw cashews and blend until it’s powdery/pastey.
  4. Add the olive oil, harissa, lime juice and water and blend until smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, add the sweet potatoes, black beans, cilantro and all the sauce. Gently fold ingredients until the sauce is incorporated.
  6. At this point, I tasted it and ended up mixing in a few more splashes of lime juice (to up the tang factor) as well as some salt, pepper and more harissa.

This salad is great warm or cold, by itself or inside a tortilla! If you want it more spicy, add more ancho chili. It is super tasty and best of all, it passes the Neal test. Finally. A potato salad that he will eat!

IMG_5193 _SnapseedStill hungry? There are more good vegan eats in the Virtual Vegan Potluck. Click the button below to see the dish before mine by Farmer’s Market Vegan.


Click this button to see the dish after mine by The Vegan Gypsy.


Or if you’re just joining in, click below to start from the beginning with our gracious host, Vegan Bloggers Unite.


Happy virtual eating!

97 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Salad with Tangy Ancho Chili Sauce (Virtual Vegan Potluck)

  1. Pingback: Virtual Vegan Potluck May 11, 2013! |

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you! Yeah, Neal can’t even get a whiff of vegan mayo without wanting to gag…something I will never understand, but I’m glad that he’ll eat this.

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you! I am always shocked when people hate mayo because I love it so. Neal gags at just the smell of mayo, but that is why cashews are awesome! And honestly, eating too much vegan mayo is probably not that healthy.

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you! The colors came out nicely for the potluck. The first batch wasn’t as nice because I blended the cilantro into the sauce…it turned into a strange reddish brown sauce that did not look appetizing, though it still tasted good. 😛

  2. Hannah

    So this is the kind of creamy potato salad I can get behind! Making a cashew based dressing is just genius. I hate mayo too, but I love cashews! Happy VVP!

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Yay! Thank you. Let me know how you like it if you get a chance to make it…I don’t use measuring spoons, etc, so the ingredients are approximates. Happy VVP day!

  3. Morgan

    Ooh yum this looks wonderful! I’m making this soon – any good idea for nut subs for this allergic girl? I can do maybe sunflower seeds or half and half with some pine nuts?

  4. Pingback: Virtual Vegan Potluck 2013: Pomegranate-Infused Brown Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Hazelnuts, and Arugula | Farmers Market Vegan

  5. Somer

    OH YEAH BABY! So delicious looking, I think it would pair beautifully with my sliders! It’s a good thing we’re at a potluck!

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Yay, thank you! If you make it, let me know what you think…I don’t really use measuring spoons so my “recipes” are approximates. My mom’s motto when cooking, which I go by, is to just “taste it with your mouth” and adjust as needed. 🙂

  6. Hannah (BitterSweet)

    I’m also not big on mayo-coated salads, nor plain potato salads, so this is right up my alley! I love all the bold flavors you’ve mixed into this typically bland classic- It’s so much better than the original inspiration. Sweet potatoes are a particularly smart (and more nutritious) base!

  7. Sophie33

    What a fabulous potato salad this surely is: it is such an alternative & fabulous one even! I can’t wait to make this! 🙂 Yummy Yum! A grand & very tasty entry for this VVP!

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you! There is so much good stuff at this VVP that I wish it were real so I could eat it all. Although, you guys might find me rude because I would seriously be eating it all 🙂

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Awesome! Let me know what you think if you make it, my “recipes” are approximates because I don’t use measuring devices often…I just guess and taste it as I go 🙂

  8. sweetveg

    This sauce looks delicious. The salad, too. I thought those were raisins at first and am so glad they are black beans instead. Great idea! I’m going to have to try it!

  9. Maggie Muggins

    Oh man, I am so making this the next time we BBQ…or go camping..or I’m just hungry because it sounds like my perfect salad! I’m digging the creamy non-mayo dressing.

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I think it would be a great side salad for a BBQ. I am thinking about making it for a picnic-potluck this weekend…a real one though, not virtual :-). I think I might add red onions to it.

  10. Pingback: Virtual Vegan Potluck Roundup! | Fitful Focus

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    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you so much for the kind words! Let me know how you like it if you do make it…i don’t really use measuring spoons when I make stuff, so recipes are estimates.

  12. vixbakes

    I love the sound of this! Lovely combination of flavours… can’t wait to give it a try!
    x Vix
    vixbakes.com :: vegan baking + raw desserts

  13. Pingback: Vote for your Favorite Virtual Vegan Potluck Recipes! | The Vegan Kat

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