How to make Ottolenghi’s roasted sweet potato and fresh fig salad

I’m not really one for New Years resolutions.   There will be no detox or diet happening at Chez Gourmet Chick this January but I have been craving salads and lighter meals as a result of all the Christmas indulgence.  Inspiration came in the form of my newest cookbook Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem.  It’s a beautiful book with lots of history about Jerusalem interspersed with Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s tales of growing up in the city and reflections on Jerusalem’s signature dishes.

Like the other Ottolenghi books there are lots of interesting and inspiring combinations of ingredients and a big emphasis on vegetables and salads which was perfect for my new year frame of mind.  I know I am going to treasure Jerusalem just as much as I have my other Ottolenghi cook books.  After reading it I am now also desperate for a trip to Jerusalem but for now I am going to have to content myself with cooking my way through the book.

I love the fabric cover and design of Jerusalem

To test out the book the recipe I had my eye on for a while in Jerusalem was for roasted sweet potato and fig salad.  I love the sticky softness of sweet potato once it has been roasted and thought it would make a great combination with fresh, juicy figs.  I managed to find some ripe figs which were plump with a slightly split bottom.  (According to Ottolenghi this is the sign or a perfectly ripe fig).  Sure enough with the knock out figs the salad was sensational.  Homer Simpson may have said “You don’t win friends with salad” but clearly he hadn’t seen this roasted sweet potato and fig version.  It’s the sort of salad that has plenty of wow factor and is just as good warm out of the oven as it is prepared in advance and served at room temperature.  If you are going to make it in ahead of time just hold off on dribbling the balsamic reduction on until just before serving.

Inside Jerusalem the cookbook

3 sweet potatoes
5 tbsp olive oil
40 ml balsamic vinegar
20g caster sugar
12 spring onions, halved lengthways and cut into 4 cm segments
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
8 ripe figs, quartered lengthways
150g goats cheese (I use Meredith Dairy marinated goat’s cheese because I am ADDICTED to the stuff)
Salt and pepper to taste

Roasting the sweet potato in wedges

1.  Preheat the oven to 240c.

2.  Wash and peel the sweet potatoes and cut into wedges.  Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 3 tbsps of the olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Cook for about 25 minutes until soft but not mushy.

3.  Meanwhile make a balsamic reduction by combining the balsamic vinegar and caster sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes until it thickens.  Remove from the pan while the reduction is still runny as it will continue to thicken as it cools.

Cooking the spring onion and chilli

4.  Heat the remaining oil and add the spring onions and chilli.  Fry on a medium heat until the spring onions are soft.

5.  Arrange the sweet potatoes and figs on a platter and top with the spring onions and chilli.  Crumble the goats cheese over the top then drizzle over the balsamic reduction.  Can be served at room temperature or immediately with all the ingredients still warm from the oven and the pan.

The finished salad

Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem.

Gourmet Giveaway
Congratulations to the ten winners of a magazine subscription from Zinio.  The winners were drawn using and are Helen @H333, Andi Perullo, Em @ Hold The Peas, Catherine @ Petit Miamx, Hannah @ Wayfaring Chocolate, Jimbob, Yu Ying, Photo Monkey, Kari @ Bite Size Thoughts and Sophie Wang.  Winners – you will be contacted by Zinio shortly.  Thanks very much to everyone else who entered. 


  1. Wow, thanks for the magazine subscription from Zinio, that is an awesome start to my year!
    And hello Meredith Dairy marinated goat’s cheese, I LOVE that stuff. 🙂

  2. I can not express how much I like the look of this 🙂

  3. Em – Congratulations Zinio should be in touch with you shortly

    Kari – It’s really good – worth a try over Summer I think.

    1. I can’t believe I missed the announcement of your winners, including my name! Thank you so much for your email Cara, I am very excited 🙂

  4. Ooh – this looks delicious! What a great combination and fresh figs are so, so good.

  5. Oh yum! I never quite know what to do with figs other than wrap proscutto and cheese with!

  6. OMG that looks fantastic! Everything from Ottolenghi that I have ever made has been inspiring…

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