Recipe: Freedom a la Cart's Sweet Potato and 
Black Bean Salad

Renee Casteel Cook

Since 2014, Freedom a la Cart has served and supported survivors of human trafficking through its Columbus-based catering company and workforce development program. Its annual celebration, Eat Up! Columbus, is an evening of “community, collaboration and cause cuisine” with proceeds going to the fight against human trafficking in Central Ohio. This year’s event, which takes place Saturday, March 9, at St. Charles Preparatory School, features a six-course menu prepared by chef Jack Moore of Watershed Kitchen & Bar and complementary drink pairings by Grant Bain of Watershed Distillery.

Unable to attend? Check out Freedom a la Cart’s catering and box-lunch options, like the recipe below from executive chef Jessica Levy.

Sweet Potato and 
Black Bean Salad with 
Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings: 4–5 as a side dish 


For the vinaigrette

  • 1/2 jalapeño
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • zest of 1/2 lime
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

For the salad

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 7 ounces black beans, rinsed
  • 7 ounces frozen corn
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided


In a blender or food processor, combine the following vinaigrette ingredients in stages, blending well between each:

  • Jalapeño and garlic
  • Cilantro, lime zest and orange zest
  • Orange, lime and lemon juice
  • Cumin, salt, pepper and chili powder
  • Canola oil
  • Agave

Set vinaigrette aside.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Defrost frozen corn and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with oil.

In a small bowl mix cumin, coriander, chili

powder, cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.

Add seasoning blend to the sweet potatoes and mix well.

Line a pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray; spread the sweet potatoes evenly on the pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18–25 minutes, until cooked through and roasted but not burnt.

Remove sweet potatoes from oven and allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl, mix together sweet potatoes, black beans, corn and green onion, being careful to not mash the sweet potatoes when mixing.

Season with remaining salt and pepper.

Dress with cilantro-lime vinaigrette and serve.

Food styling by Erin Edwards