Roast Sweet Potato with Quinoa, Pomegranate, Walnut & Herbs

I remember quite vividly my childhood spent in Shanghai, although the  rambunctious city of my memories is quite different to the buzzing mad metropolis it is nowadays. Both sets of my grandparents lived a few blocks from each other and during the wet and miserable winters the walk between the two apartments were always punctuated by the amazing smells of the street food along the way. One of my favourite treats was a freshly roasted sweet potato pulled straight out from a giant  oil drum by the street vendor, piping hot, I would devour it right then and there, my 5 year old face giddily hidden behind the steam and mess of orange flesh.

It was one of many street side snacks available and it’s something that I really miss in Australia. Last week I was walking through the city after work, and stomach grumbling,  I surveyed my options, but the ubiquitous froyo, bubble tea and usual fast food options just didn’t seem to  appeal. What I really wished for was some small street snack, a skewer of something, a roast potato, a steamed bun…Alas non were to be found.

Anyway my love for the sweet potato hasn’t really abated since… this is another random salad of mine,  combining whatever was left in the fridge and cupboards for the weekday lunch. If you can’t find Vincotto (usually delis or grocers should have it) you can substitute with caramelised balsamic or regular balsamic vinegar mixed with a generous amount of honey.

Roast Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Pomegranate, Walnut & Herb Salad

Roast Sweet Potato with Quinoa, Pomegranate, Walnut & Herbs

(Serves 3-4)

3 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup quinoa (I used red)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup of walnut halves toasted & roughly broken up
1 bunch mint
1 bunch parsley


2 tablespoons Vincotto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic Vinegar
1.5 tablespoons hot English mustard
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cover the sweet potatoes in foil and roast in a pan at 180C (356F) for 30min or until soft when skewered. I tend to be pretty blasé about this step, just throw the potatoes in the oven and come back later once you’ve cooked the quinoa.

Rinse quinoa thoroughly, then with 1 cup of water (or stock), bring to boil in saucepan, turn heat down and simmer for 10-15min or until quinoa has absorbed most of the liquid. Cover and let sit for 5-10min. Then spread the quinoa on a plate and let cool.

Once the sweet potatoes are done, let them cool and chop into largish chunks.

Roughly chop the mint and parsley.

Combine the ingredients for the dressing and mix well.

Once the quinoa and sweet potatoes are room temperature, combine the salad elements together and then drizzle generously with the dressing. Finish with some extra mint and parsley leaves.

If you’re short of time and want to serve the salad immediately then you can turn into into a warm salad by not waiting for the quinoa and sweet potatoes to cool. Win win…

Roast Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Pomegranate, Walnut & Herb Salad
Roast Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Pomegranate, Walnut & Herb Salad
Roast Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Pomegranate, Walnut & Herb Salad


  1. What a gorgeous, vibrant salad! Parsley sounds like it would be absolutely fantastic with sweet potato .. My family is Shanghainese too! You’re so right that the city has changed so dramatically in the last few decades. My mom absolutely loves sweet potatoes too, and talks about the street vendor version from time to time as well 🙂 She’s constantly roasting them in the oven herself. Thanks so much for this wonderful post.

    • LJ

      wow, yay, go the shanghainese diaspora!!! Glad you enjoyed the post, I’d love to post more Shanghainese recipes when I can be bothered to grab the said recipes off my mum =D

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