Roasted sweet potato, broccolini, and baby spinach salad

The first of many from our very own Man in Apron, this salad matches some beautiful Japanese flavours with a healthy trio of vegetables, and is equally delicious served warm immediately after preparing, or cold as part of a packed lunch or picnic.

Serves 4-6 (at least!)


  • vegetable oil or olive oil for cooking – 3-4 tablespoons
  • cracked black pepper
  • sea salt
  • regular soy sauce (not dark/light etc.) – three tablespoons
  • hon/”true” mirin* – three tablespoons , but may be increased to four depending on your taste
  •  1kg sweet potato – peeled, cubed (approx. 4-5cm)
  • 3 bunches of broccolini – trimmed on the bottom, then each bunch chopped in half
  • 300-400g baby spinach leaves – washed


  •  Japanese mayonnaise* – 4 tablespoons
  • Roasted sesame seed sauce* – 10 tablespoons
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • Sea salt to taste

( *Ingredients readily available at any Asian grocer; ‘Kewpie’ brand highly recommended. Mirin is a Japanese rice wine, similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content and sweeter flavour.)


  1.  Preheat oven to 200C; toss sweet potato in a little oil on a baking tray/dish that is large enough to take all the pieces in a single layer. Sprinkle over a little salt and pepper, and roast for around 25-30 minutes depending on your oven. You want them cooked through but still reasonably firm to the bite.
  2. Sauté the broccolini using the vegetable or olive oil along with the soy sauce and mirin. You want the pieces cooked but just barely; they should retain a fair bit of crunch. Remove from heat as soon as this is achieved.
  3. While still in the pot, cover the broccolini pieces with the spinach leaves, and then with the cooked sweet potato pieces. Allow a minute or two for the spinach leaves to wilt. Combine the mayo and roasted sesame seed sauce, and fold into the vegetables.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Author: Ainslie

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