Let's talk potato salad. Everyone knows it's good, but that doesn't mean it's good for you. Here's a crafty version that swaps in sweet potatoes for the more traditional white potatoes and loses the standard recipe's abundant mayonnaise in favor of a dressing high in flavor and low in fat.
White potatoes have plenty of nutritional value, but sweet potatoes — a good source of fiber that's also high in calcium, folate, potassium and beta-carotene — have them beat.
I've cast black beans and corn in support of the sweet potatoes. Like all legumes, black beans are low in calories but high in protein and fiber, and they boast an assortment of important nutrients.
Corn, of course, is in no need of hype. But it is at its best when fresh. (Corn's natural sugars start to turn into starch the minute it's harvested.) If you live near a farm stand or farmers market, buy corn in the morning, then refrigerate it as soon as you get home and cook it as soon as possible.
Typically, truly fresh corn is so good you can eat it raw. But grilling the corn, as we do here, takes it to a higher level. Somehow, this process amps up the flavor and decreases the need for fat.
In fact, with the exception of the spray used to coat the corn before grilling, there's no oil in this recipe. How did I manage that? By composing a dressing so flavorful — the keys are chipotle, cilantro and garlic — that no one notices the lack of fat. The chipotles (or smoked jalapeno chiles) are crucial. You can find them in your supermarket simply dried or in an adobo sauce. I prefer the adobo because it adds a lovely flavor of its own. (If you don't like cilantro, substitute basil or mint.)
One final note: Toss the sweet potatoes with the dressing while they're warm to help them absorb the dressing and become deeply flavored.