You Can Take It With You: Goat Cheese, Walnut and Sweet Potato Salad

Lunchtime: unequivocally the best part of the day. But could it be better? Yes sir, it can. You don’t have to spend gobs of money going out, but you also shouldn’t be packing the same peanut butter sandwich year in and year out; there is a middle way. The path to becoming a lunch box buddha isn’t so hard. All you need is a good balance of inspiration and  improvisation. Every week, we’ll make one or two packable recipes so that you have something new to fill your lunch box and your stomach. 

Real talk: for me, salads don’t usually qualify as a meal. As a nice little side to a steak or as an appetizer on one of those nights when I feel like eating popcorn for dinner, sure. But never as an entrée itself. This salad made me change my mind. It’s filling enough to serve as the main event as long as I take a piece of good bread and some fruit with me. It’s also got the whole sweet/savory thing going for it which somehow always leaves me feeling more satisfied.

And that was important this week because I went to Sevilla and biked absolutely everywhere. It was a little tricker to navigate the already-tiny streets than I’d imagine it would be the rest of the year because right now it’s Holy Week. The parades started every day at 1pm and continued until around 3am every night. And when I say parades, I’m not talking about carnivalesque processions along well-marked routes, I’m talking about hundreds of cape-wearing candle-bearers marching for kilometers in front of a giant statue of the Virgin Mary who are constantly being swarmed by spectators. It was massive and beautiful (and also slightly terrifying at first since the hooded nazarenos bear a striking resemblance to members of the KKK) and totally unexpected.

Goat Cheese, Walnut and Sweet Potato Salad

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1 roll of goat cheese
3/4 cups of Walnuts
1/2 cup of rasins
2 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup plus 2 T of olive oil
1/4 of white wine vinegar
1 T of honey


1. First you’ll need to cook your potatoes. Turn your oven to 400°F/200°C and wash the sweet potatoes. Without peeling them, chop them into roughly 1 inch cubes. Spread the cubes onto a pan, coat them with a small amount of olive oil (1-2 T) and then sprinkle salt, pepper, cumin, rosemary and nutmeg over the potatoes. I use roughly equal amounts of salt and pepper and then amount half that amount for rosemary, nutmeg and cumin. Bake them for half an hour or until they’re tender and slightly caramelized.

2. Make your dressing. Combine 1/4 cup of olive oil with the white wine vinegar and honey. Stir well and salt and pepper to taste.

+ Storage and eating: Store the potatoes in a container in the fridge as well as the dressing. The night before, place a generous handful or two of spinach your lunch container of choice. Slice off an inch of goat cheese and crumble it on top, followed by about 2 T of chopped walnuts, a few raisins and a handful of the sweet potatoes. Pour a little dressing into a container and store it on the side. When you’re ready for lunch, add the dressing and you’re good to go.

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Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

Laura has written 308 articles for us.


  1. No joke, I’m eating this exact same thing right now for lunch. Except that I also cooked the spinach and mixed it with some barley. And now the goat cheese has melted and is it’s like eating macaroni and cheese and/or risotto. Aka delicious.

    • oh yummmm. i’ve been dying to try barley but i can’t find it anywhere over here. as soon as i stumble upon some, though, i’m so doing this!

      • Not sure where “over here” is for you, but at home in Oklahoma they kept it in the Mexican foods section of the store for some reason. Here in Franceland it’s very easy to find. :) Going to have to try this too!

  2. This needs to get in my mouth right now. Except I might leave out the raisins, or do chopped apples instead.
    Also, for extra protein, I bet some sort of marinated tempeh would be delicious.

    • panda flannel’s famous glazed tempeh recipe

      (extra bomb on salads, no need to marinate cuz i don’t plan ahead like that)

      – chop yr tempeh into little cubes, the size of things you want to put in your mouth
      – heat a decent amount of oil in a pan (coconut is my fav, if you don’t have it use something neutral-tasting)
      – throw your tempeh in and let it cook for a couple minutes

      meanwhile! in a little cup, mix about a 1/4 cup of grade b maple syrup, a glug (1 or 2 tsp?) of tamari, and about 3/4 of a teaspoon of dijon mustard. stir vigorously with a fork until they combine thoroughly.

      throw that shit into the pan, aiming for the tempeh, and stir so the tempeh is all covered. it will make a loud steamy noise and smell like heaven. cook the tempeh for another couple minutes, stirring somewhat regularly, until it’s nice and browned.

      voila! put that shit on salads, tacos, as a breakfast side – it’s my culinary ace in the hole.

  3. Oh damn, I am totally making this except with dried cranberries instead of raisins.

    I’m morally opposed to raisins.

    Do you have any idea how many perfectly good grapes get turned into raisins every year? It’s unconscionable!

    • i’m with you mostly alice! but they have these tiny little golden raisins that i’m totally obsessed with.

      • Ok, ok, golden raisins are acceptable,especially if they’re adorably miniature. It’s mostly the regular raisins that get me up in fruity arms.

  4. Damn, sweet potato salad sounds delicious, until you see the dressing.

    That’s a very oily processed salad haha.

    Raw foods for the win!

    • i eat what i like and you eat what you like. leave out the dressing if that’s what you prefer.

  5. Whoa do those guys ever look like KKK members! The KKK probably stole it from them instead of vice-versa but it would creep me right the fuck out to see them swarming through a city.

    Also, the salad looks delicious and I wish I had read this before going grocery shopping. I’m trying to come up with good ways to pack my lunch instead of getting all my meals off food trucks. Lately that has meant buying lots of snacky foods, which of course I end up devouring before I ever get around to packing them in individual ziplocs for lunches. Salad would be perfect. This salad would be better than perfect because I live in the sweet potato epicenter of the world.

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