This Kale and Quinoa Salad is a really tasty salad that just happens to star two super foods – kale and quinoa. Fresh herbs, crushed nuts and feta plus a beautiful lemon dressing makes this Kale Salad so tasty, it’s scrumptious enough to have as meal or as a side dish.
The secret to making raw kale really tasty is to massage it with olive oil and salt. This tenderises the kale, and makes raw kale salads really delicious!
Kale and Quinoa Salad
Just 3 hours ago, I force fed a giant spoonful of this to a kale/quinoa cynic, and watched with glee as the scrunched up face of “I hate kale – AND QUINOA!” turned into a surprised look of “this is seriously tasty!”
Yes. This is a kale salad that even kale haters will enjoy. It’s that good!
The secret to make raw kale tasty – tenderise it by rubbing with olive oil and salt!
10 years ago when I watched Lidia Bastiniach make a kale and bean stew, I had to search wide and far to find kale. 5 years ago, kale become “all the rage”, and I refused to pay the ridiculous prices for it. Australia even had a kale shortage!!!
Nowadays, kale is actually very good value – usually $2 a bunch from Harris Farms which is where I shop for most of my fruit & veg. And it’s a giant bunch. A giant bunch of hardy, tough leaves that aren’t that pleasant to eat without doing “something” to it.
Enter – your new favourite way to prepare kale leaves to eat raw. Tenderise it. Wash it, chop it, scrunch it with oil, salt & pepper (lemon or vinegar is also nice), leave for 30 minutes. It tenderises the leaves, making it tasty enough to even eat plain.
What goes in this Kale Salad
Even when kale has been marinated, it does have a stronger flavour than most leafy greens. So what I like to do is add plenty of other fresh flavours and textures. So here’s what goes in this kale salad:
Raw kale – chopped and marinated in olive oil
Fresh herbs – dill and coriander/cilantro is my favourite mix. Both are beautifully fragrant, so they add great flavour to temper the otherwise rather dominant flavour of kale.
Almonds – or other nuts, for texture and flavour
Quinoa – to fill it out, add texture and nutty flavour
Red onion – for freshness
Feta – salty little pops of creamy feta is always a welcome addition to salads!
Lemon dressing – it’s fresh and zesty, and I love that this lemon dressing really tastes of lemon rather than just being sour (the secret is the zest! Lemon zest rocks!)
Toss all this together, and voila! You have an incredible kale salad that even the greatest of kale cynics will enjoy!
This kale salad will keep in the fridge for 3 days – so it’s great for work lunches and as a standby side!
I added quinoa into this, because this is a salad that was born post my recent trips to Japan and New Zealand, after which I was peeved but not surprised to see that my jeans were still as snug as they were pre-trip. Skiing in Japan, trekking and biking in New Zealand – Mr Scales! WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT FROM ME! (OK, holiday feasting and Japanese sake / fabulous NZ wine sampling did not help).
So I filled this salad out with quinoa to make it filling enough to be a meal in itself. Which, incidentally, is a great tip to make a veg + filling fibre rich side for meals.
It seems appropriate to share this Kale and Quinoa Salad post Easter. Detoxing after a long weekend of consistent feasting – especially if the Easter Bunny dropped by your place and left you with a load of irresistibly colourful, shiny foil wrapped eggs calling your name. 😩
Try this Kale and Quinoa Salad as a side for your next dinner (eg. slightly burnt chicken schnitzel, as pictured below – fried food = less guilt with kale on the side). It will pair with anything, from these great quick Baked Chicken Breasts to crispy Garlic Chicken Thighs, to Baked Pork Chops or marinated Pork Chops.
Or have it as a light meal as it is because in all honesty, a bowl of this will keep you satisfied for longer because that’s one of the magic characteristics of quinoa. 🙂 (Quinoa has grown on me so much I’ve made another salad since: Asian-style Quinoa Salad!) Or try tossing through some shredded chicken or sliced perfectly poached chicken, or even a can of tuna (I steal it from Dozer). – Nagi x
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Kale and Quinoa Salad
- 8 cups (packed) kale leaves (Note 1)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1 cup quinoa, any colour
- 2 cups water
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard (or American)
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1 tsp sugar (optional, I add it)
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup dill leaves , roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup coriander/cilantro leaves , roughly chopped
- 1 red onion , quartered and finely sliced (optional)
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds
- 100 g/3.5oz crumbled feta
- Scrunch up the kale leaves then slice to about 1cm / 2/5" thickness.
- Transfer to large bowl.
- Drizzle over oil, scatter with salt and pepper. Use your hands to scrunch the kale leaves for 1 minute (see video). It should shrink to about half the size.
- Set aside for 30 minutes. The leaves will soften, making them suitable for eating raw.
- Place quinoa in a fine mesh colander, then rinse under running water for 30 seconds. Drain excess water well. (Or do this in a big bowl)
- Place in a saucepan with water. Cover with lid, bring to simmer over medium heat then leave for 12 - 15 minutes until all water is absorbed.
- Remove from heat, leave lid on, and rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Fluff with fork then cool (spread on tray and refrigerate to speed up).
- Place ingredients in a jar, screw lid on and shake well. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Add the quinoa into the bowl with the kale. Add all the dill and coriander/cilantro, half the nuts, feta, and 2/3 of dressing.
- Toss well.
- Transfer into serving platter or bowls. Drizzle with remaining dressing, garnish with remaining feta and nuts.
- See Note 3 for serving suggestions - I've been having this as a meal, just plain.
LIFE OF DOZER
Kale and Quinoa Salad tastiness EVIDENCE: