Beet & Walnut Cheese Salad

I have been considering adding a beet-walnut-goat cheese recipe for quite a while, but I couldn’t figure out how mine was going to be any different than the hundreds of others like it already out there. That was until I decided to make mine vegan. “But the goat cheese is the best part,” You say? I thought so too. That is why it took me so long to find a good replacement for it. One day I was just sitting on my couch crocheting carrots when it hit me…make the cheese out of walnuts! At first I envisioned it would be similar to cashew cream and more like a dressing than a cheese, but eventually I figured out how to make it more goat cheese-like and you’ll never believe how easy it is! Note: Some blenders/food processors cannot process small amounts like the walnut cheese in this recipe. If you have trouble getting yours to work, just double it and use the extra “cheese” in another recipe.

Makes: 4 appetizers or 2 main courses

Preparation time: 40m
Cooking time: 40m
Total time: 1h40m


  • 1 beet (soft-ball sized - 3.5” diameter)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (plus 2 tablespoons more for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ripe pear
  • 1 apple
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives (minced)
  • 4 cups lettuce

Equipment: blender or food processor, small skillet


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC.
  2. Wash the beet and wrap it in aluminum foil. Roast the beet for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and let it cool in the foil for 30 minutes. For more detailed instructions see my post on INLINE-LINK-START title="How To: Roast Beets" href="../../../howtos/how-to-roast-beets" target="_blank">How To: Roast Beets INLINE-LINK-END.
  3. Meanwhile make the walnut cheese. Place 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon salt into a blender/food processor and puree until smooth.
  4. Zest the orange and put zest aside. You will use this to garnish the salad just before serving.
  5. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to the orange juice.
  6. Once the beet is cool enough to hold without burning yourself, remove the skin by rubbing it off with your fingers (use gloves if you don’t want pink hands for the next few days). Chop the beet into bite-sized cubes and immerse the cubes in the orange juice/vinegar mixture. If there’s not enough liquid to cover the beet just add a little more vinegar until the pieces are all submerged. Let the beets marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  7. Toast the rest of the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant.
  8. Core and chop the apple and pear into bite-sized pieces.
  9. Assemble the salad by splitting the lettuce between the plates, followed by the apples, pears, chives, walnut cheese, chives, toasted walnuts, orange zest and finally the marinated beets (drained of course).