This roasted sweet potato, chickpea, and kale sheet pan salad is a good example of sheet pan salads at their best. The lemon-balsamic vinaigrette does triple duty: coating the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and onions before they roast; dressing (and tenderizing) the kale; and brightening all of the flavors before serving. It’s a jumble of big, bold flavors and contrasting textures, just as a good salad should be, and it’s mighty enough to stand alone for dinner (and lunch the next day, too)!
Heat oven to 425° F. Place a parchment-lined sheet pan in the oven while it heats.
To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients. Adjust seasoning and acidity with more salt and lemon juice to taste; add a pinch of sugar, if needed, to round out the flavors.
Cut sweet potato in half crosswise, then in half again lengthwise. Cut into thin wedges (about 1/4-inch thick). In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes wedges with salt and 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. In a separate bowl, toss chickpeas and red onion with a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon vinaigrette.
When oven is ready, remove sheet pan and distribute the sweet potatoes in a single, even layer (careful, it’ll be hot!); you want them to have contact with the sheet pan for better browning. Add the chickpeas and onions to the sheet pan, nestling them amongst the sweet potatoes (it’s fine if some them are layered on top of the sweet potatoes).
Roast for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are just tender. Add the almonds, and continue roasting for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the almonds are lightly toasted. Don’t worry if the tips of the red onions get a little charred; they’re delicious that way.
Meanwhile, rinse out the large bowl that held the sweet potatoes; add the kale. Using your hands, toss the kale with 1 to 2 tablespoons vinaigrette (or as much as needed to lightly, evenly dress the kale), salt, and pepper.
Let the sweet potatoes cool for about 5 to 10 minutes, then toss in the kale, aged cheddar, and apple. Toss with extra vinaigrette if needed, and adjust seasoning and acidity, to taste. Save any remaining vinaigrette to refresh leftover salad.