Sheet Pan Salad with Crispy Quinoa + Lemony Walnut Cream


Salads are all about the multiple components that you bring together to create something magical and meal-worthy. If you look back at my Anything Goes Salad, you can read about all the components a salad needs to be delicious!

This salad is elevated by smearing a lemony walnut cream on the plate or bowl to be scooped up with each bite. Warm roasted veggies get tossed with greens and dressing directly on the sheet pan and scattered over the walnut cream. Toppings include a crispy quinoa (crisping optional, but recommended!), tangy pickled onions, fresh herbs, and crunchy nuts. 

Ingredient Highlight

Walnuts! These heart-healthy tree nuts contain polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fats that can both help reduce inflammation. Walnuts are particularly rich in alpha-linolenic and linoleic acids (omega-3 fats) important for heart and brain health.

Servings 4 People
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes


  • 1.5 lb sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch thick cubes/pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 6 cups thinly sliced radicchio, kale, and/or romaine lettuce*
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Pickle red onions (optional)
  • Fresh herbs

For the crispy quinoa (optional, see note):**

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa from 1 cup dry
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

For the walnut cream:

  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic optional

For the dressing:

  • cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • * If using romaine lettuce (or any other tender green like arugula or spinach), let your sweet potatoes cool for at least 10 minutes before tossing together so that the greens don’t get wilty.
  • ** If you want to skip the crisping part, you could just scatter cooked quinoa over or under the salad, just make sure to drizzle some dressing over the quinoa (or just toss it with the kale/sweet potatoes on the sheet pan).
  • Note: if you have less than 3 cups quinoa, then it might crisp up faster, so make sure to check on it…


  • For the quinoa, preheat oven to 400F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On one sheet, add quinoa, oil, and salt and toss to coat. Spread into an even layer and bake for 20-30 mins or until the quinoa starts to turn golden in spots, stirring halfway.
  • On the other sheet, add the sweet potato, oil, and salt and toss to coat. Spread into an even layer and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and caramelized. Remove from oven and add your greens and about ⅔ of the dressing. Toss to coat.
  • To make the walnut cream, add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until totally smooth. Taste and add more lemon or salt, if needed. If it’s too thick/pasty, add in a bit more water and/or lemon to loosen it up.
  • To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake to combine.
  • Smear the walnut cream onto a big serving platter or your individual bowl. Scatter the dressed greens and sweet potato over top. Top with crispy quinoa, walnuts, pickled red onions (if using), and herbs. Option to drizzle a bit more dressing on to finish!

Items you can prep ahead (optional)

  • Cut 1.5 lb sweet potatoes into ½-inch thick cubes/pieces (about 6 cups)
  • Bake the sweet potatoes
  • Thinly slice 6 cups radicchio, kale, and/or romaine lettuce*
  • Pickle a red onion
  • Cook 1 cup quinoa (3 cups cooked)
  • Make dressing
  • Make walnut cream 


  • To make nut-free, try using sunflower seeds in place of walnuts.
  • Use any starchy vegetables in place of sweet potatoes (regular potatoes, winter squash, parsnips, carrots, etc…).
  • Add this week’s Easy Turkey Veggie Patties or boiled egg for extra protein.


  • Store components separately in airtight containers.
    • Crispy quinoa: up to 4 days at room temperature or 1 week in the fridge
    • Roasted veg: up to 6 days in the fridge
    • Walnut cream: up to 4 days in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer (without the garlic, this will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 7 days)
    • Pickled red onion: up to 2 weeks in the fridge

Leftovers + Repurposing:

  • Warm up leftover roasted veggies and toss with greens and dressing. Smear the walnut cream on the bottom of your bowl and top with veg/greens. Top with toppings!
  • Thin out leftover walnut cream with a bit of water and more lemon to use as a dressing. You could also stir in some soy sauce and ginger to turn it into a creamy asian style sauce OR stir in some smoked paprika, cumin, and garlic powder for a little extra flavor. It’s a really great neutral base that you can make your own!

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