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Kale Quinoa Salad

Wholesome and vibrant, Kale Quinoa Salad is a delicious celebration of fresh, nutrient-packed ingredients
A bowl of quinoa salad on a white table.

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Kale Quinoa Salad is undoubtedly a top contender for healthy and delicious recipes that are perfect for picnics or potlucks. Fresh kale, nutt whole grains, and a plethora of tasty additions make this salad an absolute smash hit with everyone!

Let’s dive into the wonders of this powerhouse salad, explore the best way to prepare kale and clean quinoa, and share some useful tips to ensure your salad turns out as a flavorful sensation.

A bowl of quinoa salad on a white table.

You’ll love this salad

This kale quinoa salad recipe combines the earthy flavors of kale with the nuttiness of quinoa and a burst of freshness from diced red bell peppers, red onions, and cucumbers. Adding feta cheese, chopped almonds, and fresh dill weed adds layers of texture and taste that are nothing short of delightful. 

Two bowls of kale salad on a white plate.

And if you need one more reason to like this salad: Unlike mayo-based salads that can turn soggy and heavy under the sun, this kale and quinoa salad remains fresh and vibrant, making it an ideal side dish for outdoor gatherings.

Four bowls of kale salad on a white plate.

Whether planning a picnic, potluck, or just a healthy lunch, this salad has covered you with its perfect balance of flavors and textures. So, grab your ingredients, follow the recipe card at the bottom of the post, and enjoy this nutrient-packed, plant-based protein-filled salad. Your taste buds and your body will thank you for it!

Ingredients for kale salad on a white background.

What you need to make Kale Quinoa Salad

You don’t need a lot to make this tasty nutritious salad!

  • fresh lemon juice
  •  olive oil
  • minced garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • quinoa
  • kale, curly, red Russian, Tuscan or dinosaur kale-use any kale!
  • bell pepper
  • red onion
  • cucumber
  • feta cheese
  • chopped almonds
  • dill weed
  • Optional ingredients: ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes for those who like heat
  • mixing bowl and serving bowl
  • small bowl 
  • cutting board
  • saucepan
Three bowls of couscous salad with lemon slices.

All about the kale

Kale, a leafy green vegetable, is a superstar in the world of nutrition. It comes in various varieties, including curly kale, dinosaur kale (also known as lacinato kale), and Tuscan kale. Each type offers a slightly different texture and flavor, but all are packed with vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent choice for a healthy salad. And all of them or any of them will work in this salad!

Three bowls of quinoa salad on a white plate.

Preparing Kale for this salad

To prepare kale for your salad, start by destemming the leaves. The stems can be tough and fibrous, so removing them is essential for a tender and enjoyable eating experience. After destemming, shred or chop the kale into bite-sized pieces.

Massaging kale might sound unusual, but it’s crucial to making a raw kale salad palatable. Kale leaves can be tough and bitter, but massaging them with oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt helps break down the fibers and soften the leaves.

Here’s how to massage kale:

  1. Place the shredded kale in a large bowl.
  2. Drizzle about the dressing over the kale.
  3. Roll up your sleeves and use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale. Gently squeeze and knead the leaves for a few minutes until they become tender and vibrant.

Massaging improves the texture of the kale and infuses it with the flavors of the dressing, creating a harmonious blend of tastes in every bite. This technique is the secret to making raw kale salads delicious and enjoyable.

Three bowls of couscous salad on a white plate.

What is quinoa, how to use it, and how do you SAY IT?

First up, Quinoa is pronounced: KEEN-wa. Not qwin-noa. Just an FYI for you!

Quinoa is a whole grain known for its exceptional nutritional profile. It’s a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids, making it an excellent choice for plant-based protein. However, proper cleaning and cooking are essential to appreciate its benefits fully.

Begin by rinsing the quinoa under cold water. Quinoa has a natural saponin coating, which can impart a bitter taste. Rinsing removes this bitterness and ensures the grains cook up light and fluffy. Use a fine-mesh strainer and rub the quinoa gently while rinsing for a thorough cleanse.

Cook the quinoa in a saucepan. Combine one cup of quinoa with two cups of water. Add a pinch of salt and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed. Fluff it with a fork and let it cool before adding it to your salad.

Two bowls of quinoa salad with lemons and dill.

Want to change up this Kale salad?

Try adding various tasty additions to this salad. Slice up cherry tomatoes or the grape varieties and toss them in with the quinoa. Add olives for added flavor and interest. Kalamata olives are a tasty addition, but black or green olives work too. You can swap out the almonds for toasted sunflower seeds, toasted walnuts, pumpkin seeds or even pine nuts. And goat cheese works in place of feta cheese. 

Got leftovers? 

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. The salad will stay fresh in the fridge for up to three days. 

A bowl of quinoa salad on a white table.

Kale Quinoa Salad

5 from 45 votes
Wholesome and vibrant, Kale Quinoa Salad is a delicious celebration of fresh, nutrient-packed ingredients
Course: Salad Recipes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
cooling time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 191kcal
Author: Laura
Print Recipe


  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • pinch salt
  • 6 cups kale destem, and shred, then measure
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • ½ red onion diced
  • 1 cucumber diced (about ¾ cup)
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • cup chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup fresh dill weed if using dried dill weed, use about 2 teaspoons, start with a small amount and add more to taste
  • Optional ingredients: ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes for those who like heat.


  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 clove garlic minced
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper


  • clean the quinoa by washing it well under running and rinse it off in a strainer
  • put the quinoa in a saucepan cover it with 2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt, stir to combine
  • bring it to a boil, them simmer it for 20 minutes until the water is absorbed and fluffy
  • cool completely before using in the salad
  • Combine dressing ingredients and whisk well
    A jar with a oil and vinegar in it.
  • Place kale in a large bowl, and drizzle with the dressing
    Kale in a white bowl on a marble countertop.
  • Using your hands to massage the dressing into the kale, this softens the kale so don't be afriad to really get in there
    Chopped kale in a white bowl on a marble countertop.
  • Add cooked, cooled quinoa, and remaining salad ingredients
    The ingredients for a quinoa salad in a white bowl.
  • Toss together and serve
    Quinoa salad in a white bowl with a spoon.
  • if not serving immediately cover and store in the fridge


Notes: The key to making raw kale edible is massaging the oil, lemon, and salt into it, so don’t be afraid to really get into it, crush and tenderize the kale. 
On the almonds, I used roasted, salted. You can use unsalted, or raw almonds if you prefer, but I like the slightly salty crunch.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 452mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5669IU | Vitamin C: 70mg | Calcium: 213mg | Iron: 2mg

laura sampson

About Laura

Laura is on a mission to teach modern family oriented women how to make old-fashioned foods new again. A wife and mom of 3 boys, Laura understands the struggles of trying to serve a home-cooked meal each night. She provides recipes and cooking hacks for busy moms to create dishes they may think take more time or skill than they have to make. Read more...

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