Recipe: Grilled Sweet Potato & Bacon Salad | Kumara

When I read that New Zealander’s love “kumara,” I wondered what this dreamy word could mean. When I found out kumara are simply a variety of New Zealand “sweet potatoes,” I was thrilled. Sweet potatoes are on my “will-eat-any-time-of-day-for-any-reason-especially-for-my-last-meal” food list. Not many foods make that cut.

Today’s salad takes inspiration from New Zealand’s love of barbecue. For color I combined two kinds of sweet potatoes on the grill before tossing them with bacon, green onion, and a quick, zingy honey mustard dressing.

This is grilled sweet potatoes, dressed up for a party in your mouth.

P.S. Since I couldn’t get my hands on actual kumara, I used an orange fleshed sweet potato and a white fleshed sweet potato. This makes for a really pretty salad. If you do the same, be sure to watch the cooking times. Some varieties tend to cook quicker than others.

P.P.S. New Zealander’s love grilled lamb, especially with rosemary. I’d highly recommend serving these kumara with our Grilled Greek-stye Lamb from back in the day.

The lamb is seasoned with rosemary, oregano lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic.

Major yummers.


Serves 2-4


5 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
3 sweet potatoes, sliced thickly and grilled
1  green onion, sliced thinly
salt & pepper
vegetable oil, for grilling

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
salt & pepper


This is the quick and dirty way to get to New Zealand. All you’ll need is your imagination, a grill, and a few sweet potatoes. Thickly slice them in 3/4 inch discs and toss with vegetable oil, salt, and pepper.

Cook both sides on a hot grill until done and the neighbors wander over, sniffing the air in a trance.  My potatoes took just a few minutes per side but cooking time will vary (watch for hot spots and move pieces accordingly).

In the background you can see I grilled my bacon on a cast iron griddle. That was fun and kept the heat out of the kitchen!

Chop up the bacon and toss with the sweet potatoes and some green onion.

Serve with a honey mustard dipping sauce/dressing.

Ava loved helping …

And using her special egg whisk.

Whisk really well, by the way. It can take a minute or two to get all the mustard evenly mixed with the oil.

Feel free to monkey around with the recipe. You could add crushed garlic.
More oil if it’s too tangy for you, more honey if you like it sweeter…

But we’re big on the vinegar-tang in these parts.


Enjoy at sunset with a friend, a smile, and a glass of something bubbly.

Tauranga Harbour. Photo by Abconda.

P.S. Don’t forget to let the New Zealand light into your heart.

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  1. Gwen Larsen says:

    Your photography is better than food magazines! what kind of camera do you use & how to get the exposure so “real” & appetizing looking? also your Eva looks so natural, too, not “posed” so comps to her, too. and your style of writing always makes me smile (and often hungry) Now that we’ve moved into a real house this month (after 11 yrs of condos, apartments in 5 countries- the most recent being tiny studios in London then Kuwait) I am ready to cook from your archives! Keep them coming and warm regards to you & the family, Gwen Larsen

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Thanks Gwen! I use a Canon Rebel 2ti. I just monkey with settings until I find something I like (I shoot manual and try to use the lowest ISO possible and vary my depth of field… the shutter speed is the least important since the food’s not usually moving :) Taking pictures over and over again is the best way to improve. Just look back at my old pictures from just two years ago haha. Glad to hear you’ll be trying out some recipes. Have fun and let me know how it goes :)

  2. Did you know the photo you have labelled Abaconda Ocean is of Tauranga Harbour? The photographer goes by the name of Abaconda on Flickr and other sites:

    It had me puzzled because I read it as a place name which didn’t show up on the map.

    I must give the Kumara Salad a try – I’m New Zealand born a bred but I’ve never made a kumara salad!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Thanks Kate – I get my travel pictures from Wikimedia Commons and sometimes they have things a bit mixed up (I think they use either an automated system or a user generated system and little errors happen along the way). I appreciate you catching this. It can be hard, not being a local, to catch them all.

  3. Three things I truly adore: grilled food, sweet potatoes, lamb. Oh my!

  4. Gary Kasper says:

    I tried this one tonight as a side to my Filet.. Really like it!

    Hope you and Keith are doing well!


  5. Made this to go with fish tonight. SO GOOD. My dressing was a little light on the mustard and a bit heavier on the honey, so a little different. But we will be making this over and over again, as my new go-to sweet potato recipe. Thanks Sasha!

  6. I make this all the time (I actually submitted a very similar recipe to AR as chilechicken!) and it is sooo yummy.


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