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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.
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.
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.
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!
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
- kale, curly, red Russian, Tuscan or dinosaur kale-use any kale!
- bell pepper
- red onion
- 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
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!
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:
- Place the shredded kale in a large bowl.
- Drizzle about the dressing over the kale.
- 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.
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.
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.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. The salad will stay fresh in the fridge for up to three days.
Kale Quinoa Salad
- 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
- ⅓ 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
- Place kale in a large bowl, and drizzle with the dressing
- Using your hands to massage the dressing into the kale, this softens the kale so don't be afriad to really get in there
- Add cooked, cooled quinoa, and remaining salad ingredients
- Toss together and serve
- if not serving immediately cover and store in the fridge