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This dead-simple side turns absolutely anything into a meal. Toss some lettuce and beans in a creamy dressing, serve this colorful, warm salad on the side, and you're all set.

The sweet potatoes take about half an hour to roast, but everything else is done in mere minutes. And when was it ever not worth waiting for a potato to cook? Meanwhile, take just a few minutes to whip up a batch of stovetop coconut bacon.

When the potatoes are finished, you'll quickly cook the shallots, season the whole lovely thing with balsamic vinegar and black pepper, and dig in.

Balsamic-Dressed Sweet Potato Salad with Shallot, Chives, and Coconut Bacon

Print the recipe

serves 2-4

For the base:

1 lb small sweet potatoes

4 tsp olive oil, divided

pinch fine sea or kosher salt

2 large shallots

1 TBSP balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

To serve:

1 recipe Coconut Bacon, recipe follows

1/4 cup chopped chives

Heat oven to 425.

Slice sweet potatoes into wedges 2-2 1/2 inches in length. Toss with 2 tsp oil and transfer to a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim and thinly slice shallots and set aside. Chop chives and set aside. Prepare coconut bacon and set aside.

When potatoes are done, heat remaining 2 tsp oil in the nonstick skillet you used to prepare the coconut. Add shallots and sauté for a few minutes, until they begin to brown. Add balsamic vinegar and black pepper. Stir to coat. Remove from heat, add sweet potatoes to skillet and toss to coat uniformly. Serve, topped with coconut bacon and chives.

Coconut Bacon

yields 1/4 cup, adapted from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

1 tsp reduced-sodium tamari

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

1/4 tsp maple syrup, grade B preferred

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. In the skillet, combine tamari, liquid smoke, and maple syrup. The second it begins to boil, sprinkle coconut over and stir until thoroughly mixed. Continue cooking for a few minutes—stirring every 20-30 seconds—until coconut absorbs all liquid, the skillet becomes dry, and coconut just begins to crisp in spots. Your nose is your best guide. When it smells deeply toasted and just shy of burning, quickly remove from heat and immediately transfer to a plate, spread out in a single layer. Coconut will continue to crisp as it cools.