lil vegan kitchen

roasted beets & sweet potato with arugula, pine nuts & smoked cheddar “cheese”

I know this is going to sound silly, but I am just going to say it anyway.

This salad makes me feel fancy.

beet and sweet potato salad

It is not that it is too difficult to make (because it really isn’t, especially since I used store-bought “cheese”) or that there are any super special ingredients. It just sounds and looks fancy. If someone made this for me or I ordered it in a restaurant, I would be impressed. And that is how I felt every time I put this salad together this week.

Sometimes it is nice to do it up right for yourself.

Not only does it look pretty, it also tastes great. The dressing is super simple but flavorful, and the toasted pine nuts really put it over the top.

I was feeling a bit lazy with the upcoming cooking frenzy that is starting in two days, so I decided not to try my hand at homemade cashew cheese for the first time this past weekend. If you want to give it a try, you can find the recipe at Coconut and Berries, which is where I found the recipe for this tasty salad (that I have slightly adapted).

I opted for Sheese’s Smoked Cheddar, and it was perfect. I don’t know if this stuff has made it to the US yet, but this brand is unbelievable.

Sheese Smoked Cheddar

When I first got to HK I was disappointed not to find my go-to from back home, Daiya, but I have come to decide that this stuff is even better. Granted, when I left the US, all they had were three flavors of shreds, but I would be shocked if their new stuff was better than Sheese.

If you want to do a full serving of this salad, it is a good meal. BUT, if you wanted to halve the portions, it would be a great starter/side.

Roasted Beets and Sweet Potato with Arugula, Pine Nuts & Smoked Cheddar “Cheese”

Makes 4 meals/8 sides 


  • 2 medium beets
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 oz arugula
  • 4 tbsp pine nuts
  • cheese of choice, crumbled (smoked cheddar worked really well)
  • parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


  1. Turn your oven to 400˚ F.
  2. If your beets came with leaves, cut those off and save for a salad or whatever you would like. Scrub the beetroots and then loosely wrap in tin foil, keeping the skin on. Do not dry the beets – if anything they will need to be wetter.
  3. Place in the oven on a baking sheet. If you place them on just the rack, the bottom of your oven will become purple. Roast for 50-60 minutes (depending on the size of the beets, could be more), using a fork every 20 minutes to poke it and see if it is soft enough. It is done when it easily slides to the middle of the beet. You may want to drizzle some water on it about halfway through if it is looking too dry. When done, put aside to cool.
  4. While your beets are roasting, peel and chop your sweet potatoes (I made mine pretty small, will keep them bigger next time), then throw into a bowl with the 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the potatoes on in a single layer. When the beets are done, put the sweet potatoes in the oven (same temperature) for 20-30 minutes (depending on how big you cut the chunks) until they are a bit brown and soft. Flip every 10 minutes to keep from burning and to expose the other sides.sweet potatoes
  6. Put the mustard, red wine vinegar and olive oil in a bowl and stir. The mustard will settle, so you will want to stir again before putting the dressing on the salad. Set to the side.
  7. In a pan on low-medium heat, toss in your pine nuts. Toast for 5 minutes, flipping often to avoid burning.
  8. When your beets are cool enough to touch, peel the skin away (for the thicker parts, your can just use your hands, and the thinner use a paper towel to rub it away). If they are done, it should easily peel away. If not, pop back into the oven for a little while. Chop up once peeled – I cut each beet into 14 big pieces, 28 total.roasted beets
  9. When the sweet potatoes are done, plate the arugula, sweet potatoes, beets, crumbled cheese, pine nuts, and parsley, then drizzle with dressing.beet and sweet potato 2

Nutrition Info: (meal-sized salad)

  • Calories: 438
  • Fat: 27 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.6 g
  • Sodium: 425 mg
  • Carbs: 42 g
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Protein: 10 g

The Breakdown: Per salad (can vary depending on size of produce)

  • Beet: 7 big chunks
  • Sweet potato: ¾ cup
  • Arugula: generous handful
  • Pine nuts: 1 tbsp
  • Cheese: 1/8 of the wheel
  • Parsley: to taste (I did about 2 tbsp)
  • Dressing: 1 tbsp + 1 tsp


2 thoughts on “roasted beets & sweet potato with arugula, pine nuts & smoked cheddar “cheese”

  1. Emma

    Yum, yum, yum! So glad you tried and enjoyed the salad. You’ve totally made me want it again with these pics :)
    I haven’t tried many vegan cheeses but we can get Sheese here in the UK so might have to pick some up on your recommendation.

    1. Rebecca Post author

      Thanks Emma for coming to check out the site and commenting! Love Coconut and Berries. Hope I did the salad justice, it is delicious!

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