2012, in many ways, feels to me as if it were impossible.

The whole year was an experiment in vacillation, between one extreme and another.  Like the whiplash you feel from going around a sharp turn, pulling you in every direction at once.  The buildup before the inevitable fall.

There were half marathons, one marathon, a few bad dates (but mostly really good ones), a boyfriend who I want to spend the rest of my life with, so many happy love-infused memories, and two weeks of pure torture, spent watching the best daddy a girl could ask for, die.

All I can say for 2013 is that I hope it is a year of moderation. In all things.


And through it all, of course, there was food. And you.

Everyone always says they have the best readers, but I truly believe that I do.  I am so grateful for all of your support and comments and sweet emails and just for the fact that you would give up a few minutes of your day to stop by here.

From the bottom of my heart, Happy New Year.


This salad was supposed to be my submission for the 10th week of the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash that I’ve been cohosting with the lovely Heather of Girlichef but I seem to be the only person on this earth who can’t store winter squash for more than a week without it getting disgustingly moldy (thank god The.Boy. was there to dispose of it…I was pretty much incapacitated with revulsion).  The sweet potatoes I happened to have lying around were the perfect substitute, however, and if we squint hard enough, we can just pretend that those are butternut squash cubes, can’t we?

This salad is definitely the perfect way to kick off 2013, mostly because it doesn’t taste salad-like at all.  Rather, it tastes like something you want to eat. Like something you’ll crave.  Like something that will make those resolutions that we all claim to not be making (but that we secretly are) all the more attainable.  So let’s dig in.  And feel good about it.

Sweet Potato Salad with Rye Berries, Pepitas, and Ricotta Salata
Serves 6-8 generously, adapted from Smitten Kitchen


  • 2 lb sweet potatoes (I used a mix of garnets and purple sweet potatoes)
  • 5-6 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups rye berries, soaked overnight (can also use wheat berries, spelt berries, farro, barley, etc)
  • 1/3 cup toasted pepitas
  • 3 oz ricotta salata, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes. Chop into 1/2-inch chunks.  Toss sweet potatoes with 1-2 tbsp olive oil and spread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. While the squash is roasting, cook the rye berries in a large pot of simmering salted water for 1 hour or until tender. Drain and cool slightly.
  4. While the sweet potatoes are roasting and the rye berries are simmering, whisk together the sherry vinegar, remaining olive oil, water, salt, sugar, and red onion in a small bowl. Cover and set in the fridge until needed, at least 30 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, rye berries, dressing, toasted pepitas, and ricotta salata.  Add more vinegar or salt to taste.


And now, of course, in keeping with tradition, there are the top 12 reader favorites of 2012!!  Apparently you guys really love mac and cheese, dessert, and all things caramel-infused.  Tomorrow I’ll be posting my favorite recipes of 2012 (at least, the ones that didn’t make this list), so stay tuned!

Number 12. Quinoa Chowder with Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Feta and Scallions 

Number 11. Creamy Spinach Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes

Number 10. Broccoli-Basil Mac and Cheese 

Number 9. Salted Caramel Bundt Cake 

Number 8. Millionaire’s Bars 

Number 7. Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas 

Number 6. S’Mores Cupcakes 

Number 5. Avocado Mac and Cheese 

Number 4. Green Goddess Enchiladas 

Number 3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies 

Number 2. Italian Cream Puffs with Custard Filling 

Number 1. Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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46 Responses to Sweet Potato Salad with Rye Berries, Pepitas and Ricotta Salata…and The Top 12 Reader Favorite Recipes of 2012!

  1. I love the mix of sweet potatoes here — at first I thought there were beets in there, too! I know I love mac n’ cheese – great round up of 2012. I’m going to pin the avocado mac now so I don’t forget about it again. It sounds great. Happy New Year, Joanne!

  2. bellini says:

    I hope that 2013 is rich in experiences, filled with love and happiness and of course great healthy food Joanne. Have a safe and happy New Year. Keep smiling it is contagious.

  3. I wish you all the moderation in the world in 2013 then! I can’t wait to meet you! And am looking forward to more healthy meal recipes (and of course unhealthy sweet things) next year. Have a great celebration tonight! xo

  4. I thought I was the only one who had moldy squash! Cheers to a 2013 of moderation, I am totally behind that. As long as it includes a lot of dessert:-)

  5. Happy New Year, Joanne! I think moderation is certainly the way to go. Wishing you lots of it!

  6. Wishing you nothing but the best in 2013, Joanne! Thanks for bringing so many delicious recipes and smiles to all of us 🙂

  7. Gloria says:

    Yeah here are someones of my really favorites that I hope to make soon!!!
    Happy New year Joanne, all the best for next year!!

  8. SnoWhite says:

    You have so many amazing recipes from 2012. I’m believing that 2013 will be a wonderful year for you. If you are interested, bring by this list today to the Countdown — reader favorites are featured today!

  9. Marcia says:

    Sorry that you can’t keep a squash…there are foods I can’t keep either. Not squash though. Cucumbers. Cucumber die in my fridge.

    Here’s to a great 2013!

  10. Amy says:

    I would say the last few months have kicked you in the stomach. There’s no way 2013 could do that again. And The. Boy. is a keeper? 😀 😀 😀

    I joked on my blog that YOU would need to categorize a Top 10…like “Top 10 Desserts”…”Top 10 Squash dishes”…”Top 10 Pastas”…it could go on for months! Actually, that’s not a joke. I think it would be quite awesome. Also? I remember when you posted #8…I almost fainted. I desperately need those in my life. After I lose the 4 pounds I gained this month.

  11. LOL, it could definitely pass for squash if you squint…but it’s the purple that I’m smitten with – love! What a year it’s been… looking forward to 2013, Jo. Wishing you a happy and safe new year!

  12. Happy New Year, Joanne! I hope 2013 is great to you…you deserve it!!! 🙂

  13. Danielle says:

    Happy New Year Joanne! Looking forward to more deliciousness in 2013!

  14. I’ve never heard of rye berries, but I do love wheat berries. I’m going to be on the look-out! And happy new year to you!

  15. Happy New York:) Hope 2013 brings happiness, health and success to you and your family.
    Lots happened in 2012, glad that you weathered through.

  16. I love that desserts secured the top and final spots in your top 10 list 🙂 And that custard filling on the cream puff and all the chocolate on the brownies – yes!!

    Although purple sweet potatoes and rye berries aren’t looking too shabby either there! The purple just jumps off the page!

  17. Lynn says:

    Hey – I did a little year in food post today and included a soup recipe of yours. Happy New Year, my friend – I hope you have a wonderful 2013 and I look forward to more recipes from you.

  18. Drooling … your top recipes look amazing. And I love the mix of sweet potatoes in this. Also, I recently was introduced to purple sweet potatoes — so fun!

  19. So glad I found your blog this year, Joanne! Cheers to 2013!

  20. Abby says:

    Happy New Year! What a fabulous round up of recipes – I’m drooling over that Broccoli Mac!

  21. Donna says:

    You are going to have to work hard to top your 2012 food. Happy, Happy 2013 to you and may you live and blog forever!

  22. Happy new year Joanne! I have so enjoyed your blog. I hope 2013 brings you peace, health, balance, more running races, and lots of yummy food! Cheers!

  23. Julie says:

    Happy New Year! May 2013 bring you lots of happiness! Cheers!

  24. I had an acorn squash go moldy on me too after I came home post-Christmas. WTF? I replenished my kabocha though… still many more weeks of squash-loving in this household!! 🙂

    Can’t wait to see your faves and I love that savoury options top your visitor hitlist!

    Here’s to a happy and healthy new year, Joanne. 🙂

  25. Debbie says:

    Love all of those pics Joanne! I really want to give up meat completely but I find it really hard. Your meatless dishes look so delicious. I need to try more of them and not just the sweet ones!!! I could NEVER give up sweets. Have a wonderful new year and I’m wishing you a calm and peaceful year ahead.

  26. I wish you the best for 2013!!! I am so happy I found your blog and I look forward to reading stories about your life and the Boy!!! Your sweet potato salad looks amazing and oh boy does your top 12 looks amazing!!!! Happy New Years Joanne!!

  27. Katie says:

    I’ve loved reading your blog all year and following you through the ups and downs. A sweet potato salad seems like the perfect recipe to wrap up 2012! Looking forward to more recipes and stories about the boy in the year to come!

  28. SallyBR says:

    Happy New Year! Hope your 2013 brings all the moderation you wish for, except for love and exercise, which the more, the better, if you ask me… 🙂

    It’s been wonderful to follow your blog this past year, I still remember when I first contacted you about photography. Heck, I still suck at it, but at least there’s room for improvement, right?


  29. Hotly Spiced says:

    I thought those were beetroots but have realised they’re actually purple sweet potatoes. I love their sweetness. What a year of highs and lows it has been so yes, I hope 2013 brings some leveling and less trauma. I re-blogged your creamy spinach pasta recipe – it’s delicious xx

  30. Reeni Pisano says:

    Don’t feel bad – I threw out 2 squashes this week. I HATE that. Especially when I have my heart set on them and have everything else laid out ready to go for the recipe. Anywhoo this salad looks just as delicious with the sweet potatoes! They’re a great stand-in. You had such an eventful year. You gained a love (I’m thrilled for you) and lost another that was dear to your heart beyond words. . . have a safe and Happy New Year!

  31. Thank you for a year of good reads, good eats and sharing your life with us. I’m so sorry you took a big hit in life, with the sudden loss of your dad. Time will slowly heal. Happy for the boy in your life. You deserve that, and it helps to take away the pain.
    It figures that chocolate wins, as #1. I love all your colorful, texture-laden vegetarian dishes. Buuuuuut, you do know how to make sugarholics (like me) drool over your desserts.
    Happy New Year!

  32. Kari says:

    Happy New Year Joanne – I feel very lucky to have discovered your blog this year and love this sweet potato recipe as well as those you’ve rounded up here. I’ll look forward to hearing your favourites and I hope 2013 is a good year for you.

  33. Hannah says:

    Those brilliant purple potatoes are unreal- What a find! They can be really tough to get a hold of here, but I’d just as happily chow down on this dish if it was made with only the average orange variety.

    Happy New Year, Joanne. I feel so lucky to have gotten to know you through the blog, and even have the opportunity to briefly meet you in NYC this year. You are also the reigning champ, earning the title of top commenter on my blog for a second year in a row! Out of 125 total posts in 2012, you managed to add your thoughtful response to 90 of them. Simply amazing; I’m grateful for every word. <3

  34. That Girl says:

    As a word of warning (and by the way, I hate that I am able to warn you), next year is going to be hard in a lot of little ways since it will be a lot of “First _____ since…”

    Luckily for you it’ll also be a lot of “First____ with…” too

  35. Tandy says:

    Wishing you lots of ordinary moments in 2013 🙂

  36. daphne says:

    one of my highlight is meeting u of course!!!! It has been a roller coaster year for you. Thank you for continue to post up wonderful recipes in this space! Happy New Year and looking forward to more from you in 2013.

  37. Happy new year to you as well Missy, I do hope this year brings you abundant happiness…sorry that I don’t wish it in moderation but you deserve lots and lots. 🙂

  38. Chris says:

    You should have developed your own squash based version of penicillin with that culture you had 🙂

    And since winter squash is the wonder food, the resulting penicillin would probably be “MRSA resistant”, lol

  39. It’s been a hard year for you. I hope 2013 brings you a lot of joy and warmth. Happy new year Joanne!

  40. this salad certainly sounds delicious! and i, too, have trouble storing squash too long… i am guessing it is the quality when I bought it. i once took off a sticker on a squash at WF only to find the one blemish on the squash- a soft spot. unfortunately i was already home and it was the day i bought it.

    2012 certainly has had it’s ups and downs for you, but i hope the good things carry through and make 2013 the best yet <3 can't wait to see all you come up with and hope there are more visits in nyc/boston!!

  41. I kind of want some broccoli mac and cheese now! Happy new year! Wishing you all the best in 2013!

  42. Happy New Year!!!

    Wow Joanne – what an awesome post! I remember so many of these dishes and how I felt when you posted them. I am drooling and starving now – thanks ;).

  43. Happy New Year, Joanne! Everything looks delicious, as usual 🙂

  44. I’m new to your site. I love your title! I must say, I eat well with others, too. I also eat really well alone! Hee, hee.

    I’m drooling over your recipes. My family has to eat gluten free, so I’m off to pin your quinoa chowder. Thanks for linking up at The new party opens Thursday night. I hope you’ll be back to visit again!

  45. […] year ago…Sweet Potato Salad with Rye Berries, Pepitas and Ricotta Salata, Curry-Spiced Sweet Potato Samosas with a Persimmon-Tomato […]

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