Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cherry Salsa

Created by Laura Wright
No ratings yet
A fun and unusual grilled side, grilled sweet potatoes with fresh cherry salsa are bursting with flavour.
grilled sweet potatoes with cherry salsa - The First Mess

I love an easy, healthy and unusual side dish for summer dinners, and this one fits the bill pretty nicely. In fact, I’ve spent a good amount of time looking forward to side dishes lately. The vegetables, the whole grains, the crusty bread, the salads; just filling out that plate like I know how (I absolutely know how). Wholesome summer sides are kind of my scene. And maybe spontaneous ice cream outings. Those are important too.

This is likely a by-product of saying nay to meat for most of my adult life or maybe I just have an insane loyalty to vegetables. It’s lovely when family or friends invite you over for a barbecue with (hopefully veggie, grain and bean-based) burgers, but what about those side dishes? I don’t think I’m alone in my curiosity/sincere appreciation/true, undying love for them.

I’m also fully aware that finding a scrap of motivation to make something other than a leafy salad, cheese and crackers, sliced fruit, a glass of water with a slice of lemon even etc. is kind of a miracle nowadays for a lot of us. Thirty plus degrees Celsius (or higher)?! Sorry, oven. You lose this round. Summer living is meant to be easy-ish and as cool as possible at a minimum.

I steam the wedges of sweet potato first to get them mostly cooked (like super quickly), slather them in a chili flecked marinade for a bit, make up a sweet and tangy cherry salsa, grill up the wedges, spoon the salsa on top, and add a sprinkle of toasty pecans at the end. Sweet and spicy, so easy, super flavourful and light. I don’t recommend too many heat-based cooking methods in this kind of humidity, but once the sun retreats in the evening, grilling is totally alright with me, especially with a cool drink in the non-tongs-holding hand.

Chopping up the cooked sweet potatoes and tossing them with the cherry salsa, a bit more olive oil, a good pinch of salt and a cup or so of cooked quinoa makes for an awesome picnic side or, you know, a tupperware full of goodness that you can dig your fork into every time you pass the fridge. Either way, really.

I’ve accepted that it might be a while before we get ripe, juicy summer tomatoes. In the meantime, this super fun and beautiful summer side dish is suiting me just fine.

grilled sweet potatoes with cherry salsa - The First Mess

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cherry Salsa

A fun and unusual grilled side, grilled sweet potatoes with fresh cherry salsa are bursting with flavour. Sweet and tart flavours work nicely
No ratings yet
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings 4



  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges or rounds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle powder, or to taste
  • pinch chili flakes, or to taste
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste


  • 1 cup (heaped) cup sweet cherries
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger ginger, peeled and grated on a rasp zester
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • black pepper, to taste


  • handful pecans, chopped


  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • handful pecans, chopped
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste


  • You do have to steam the sweet potatoes first! This ensures that they soften up enough on the grill.


  • Place a large pot with about 2 inches of water on medium heat. Bring to a simmer and place cut sweet potatoes onto a steamer basket. Lower steamer basket into the pot, put a lid on top and steam the sweet potatoes for 5-7 minutes or until just tender. Remove wedges with a pair of tongs, placing into a large tupperware container.
  • Cover the cooked sweet potatoes with the grapeseed oil, lime zest, lime juice, ground cumin, chipotle, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Make the cherry salsa: chop the pitted cherries roughly and place in a medium bowl. Add the sliced green onions, grated ginger, lime zest, lime juice and black pepper. Stir to combine and set aside.
  • Heat a your grill or grill pan to medium-high. Place marinated wedges, cut side down (as opposed to peel-side down) on the grill. Flip wedges after about 2-3 minutes. Cook other side for another 2 minutes and remove sweet potatoes from the grill.
  • To serve: Place wedges face up on a plate, season with salt if you like and cover with the cherry salsa.

For the quinoa salad variation:

  • Cook the quinoa in 1 cup of water over medium heat. Bring the quinoa to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until all of the water us absorbed. Remove from the heat and place into a large bowl. To the quinoa, add chopped sweet potatoes, the cherry salsa, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, the juice of 1 lime, the sliced green onions, chopped pecans, salt and pepper.

21/06/2012 (Last Updated 11/01/2024)
Posted in: earthy, gluten free, grain-free, grill, salad, side dish, smoky, spring, summer, sweet, sweet potatoes, vegan


Recipe Rating

  • Tatjana

    Delish! Love the combo of the cherries and sweet potatoes. I made them into fries and had some blue chees dipping with it. Love your blog. :)

  • Nissrine

    You’re not alone! I love side dishes too and most of the time my meals consist of 3-4 of them, as I don’t eat meat either. Your work is lovely. I’ve only recently discovered your beautiful blog, after I joined the world of blogging myself and now I see your work everywhere. What an inspiration!

  • Faye Seymore

    Your recipes look delicious, exactly some of the foods I like to eat. No meat necessary.


  • Tina

    You have got to be THE most amazing, creative food creator out there!! The pictures are always stunning! And the recipes unheard-of! Thank you sooo much for sharing!

  • Life Images by Jill

    oh this looks so delicious I am going to try this out when summer comes around! thanks! ps – fabulous food photography too!

  • Elizabeth

    Just saw this recipe and have to say it looks incredible. I have a pretty serious love for savory cherry treatments. I’ll have to start ogling our local cherry trees more intently as I hope for cherry season.

  • colleen b.

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I kind of combined the salad idea with the side dish idea to make a main dish and served the wedges over the quinoa with the salsa on top. It looked beautiful and was so easy…made me look and feel like a bit of a master chef ;) Amazing flavors, thank you for sharing!

  • meatballs & milkshakes

    Really beautiful pictures! They’re inspiring me to eat something healthy today!

  • Katie

    Woah, you had me at cherry salsa. I’m traveling back to Canada in a few weeks for a summer vacation and the local cherries should be in full swing then. I’ve got this recipe bookmarked to make then. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • Javelin Warrior

    On Fridays, I share my favorite food finds in a series called Food Fetish Friday – and I love this post so I’m featuring it as part of the roundup (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I always love dropping by to see what you’ve created…

  • Hannah

    That cherry salsa, holy wow! I am a huge fruit-salsa person, but this is a combination I have not ever seen before. Have you tried adding heat? I’m thinking a serrano or a thai bird chili might be a nice addition … hm. Can’t wait to try this one!

  • kale

    This is something I’ve never even considered! Cherries on sweet potatoes..? But it looks so yummy! Must try…

  • Amy

    Oh my gosh this looks so yummy! I cant wait to try this, now that I have some cherries!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This salsa is so unique! Love this idea!

  • Linda

    I assume these to be sweet cherries?

    • Laura

      Yes they are sweet cherries, Linda! I’ll fix that in the recipe. Thanks :)

  • Kathy Patalsky

    yummmm. Lovely pics Laura :)

  • Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies

    I’m glad you commented on my blog because now I found yours. And then I found this recipe. And whoa, this recipe! This is going on my summer must-make list for sure. :)

  • Kathryne

    I love sweet potatoes so much and never would have thought to add cherries, or cherry salsa, no less! Also? I think I’ve always preferred side dishes, I live off them!

  • myfudo

    The dark orange sweet potato looks so yummy. Can’t wait to try this recipe. It is indeed BBQ season.

  • Mara @ Elemental Custard

    This looks phenomenal! I love the colours. Your photo is stunning – I definitely want to make this stat!

  • Rachel

    This is truly an unusual summer side! I might even eat this for dessert…at least a first dessert before ice cream.
    Side dishes are important for non meat eaters like myself when it comes to summer barbecues. Sometimes I have to make a meal of side dishes. It’s nice to see one with quinoa for the protien too!

  • Sarah B.

    Laura- Cherry salsa is a spectacular thing, wow! I love this combination. Pairing it with grilled sweet potato wedges? Pretty genius if you ask me. Bring us more sides babe!

  • Julia

    This sounds lovely, a great flavour combination I can already feel on my taste buds!

  • Márcia Gonçalves

    Cherry salsa? What an unexpected/amazing combination of flavors!
    And your photos are really beautiful, congratulations

  • Melissa Cowan

    This dish sounds amazing and the pictures are stunning! I really like the first photo at the top of the post, it has done it’s job, I want to make this salad! Thanks for sharing.

  • sarah

    This is perfect! Really, what a great combination of flavors. And the cherry photos! Stunning. I keep looking at them, they are so beautiful. {nice work, Ms. Laura}

  • sara

    I’ve contributed to a few vegetarian thanksgiving articles lately, and I keep hearing from the editors “we want things to be main course focused, not just side dishes’. The thing is, us vegetarians live off well rounded side dishes, gladly, that is not a sacrifice! I love the way you think, and this looks incredible. All my favorite things :) beautiful work.

  • Grishma @Zaikazabard

    As soon I get cherries, I am making this for sure! Glad to find ur have got a new follower! Looking forward to your vegetarian recipes :)

  • Kathryn

    Sides are always one of my favourite parts of a meal too – there’s so much room for originality and inspiration like this cherry salsa which sounds wonderful with the grilled sweet potatoes.

  • Yossy | apt2bbakingco

    This recipe looks delicious and my, my that is a good looking cherry pitter. Now, if I could only find myself a grill…

  • Jacqui

    I just grilled up some sweet potatoes and asparagus for dinner last night, so wish I had topped them with this cherry salsa, looks amazing! Instead we had cherries for dessert : )

  • Sara

    I love that first photo–such gorgeous colors and amazing arrangement. I could never make the cherry salsa, though I think it sounds like an amazing idea–I would eat them all before they made it any further!