This is a darn tasty, filling salad that just happens to star two super foods – kale and quinoa. A sprinkle of fresh dill and coriander/cilantro, crushed nuts and feta plus a beautiful lemon dressing creates a Kale and Quinoa Salad that’s scrumptious enough to have as meal on its own, or brilliant as a filling side for dinner. And it keeps for days!
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!”
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. Marinate 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.
Having said that though, I’m not that fond of overwhelming amounts of raw kale, even marinated. I find it has a fairly strong flavour.
So what I like to do is to add fresh herbs into the salad. 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. Add to that a beautiful lemon dressing (the secret is the zest! Lemon zest rocks!), and voila! You have an incredible kale salad that even the greatest of kale cynics will enjoy!
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). 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. 🙂 Or try tossing through some shredded chicken or even a can of tuna (I steal it from Dozer). – Nagi x
Inactive marinating time: 30 minutes. Recipe video below.
A delicious, filling salad that happens to star 2 superfoods - kale and quinoa! Marinated kale is a great trick for tenderising and flavouring tough kale leaves for eating raw. The addition of fresh herbs, a lemon dressing, nuts and feta makes all the difference that will convert even kale/quinoa haters. Added bonus - it keeps for days (unlike most salads), is filling enough as a meal by itself OR terrific as a complete veg + filling carb side for any protein (try this Baked Chicken Breast or Crispy Pan Fried Fish for quick meals). Makes 3 as a light meal, or serves 6 - 8 as a side.
- 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.
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.
1. TO REMOVE KALE LEAVES - see video, it's helpful. Hold the kale by the stem them grasp the base of the leafy part then run your hand up the stem to remove the leaves.
AMOUNT TO USE: No need for 100% accuracy here because the kale wilts so much with marinating. Use 8 cups jam packed with the kale leaves (before chopping).
TYPE OF KALE: Tuscan or curly kale is fine to use for this technique. I use curly kale because it's the more common one here in Australia and it's cheaper.
2. STORAGE: This is a great salad to keep for a few days - kale is quite hardy (unlike normal salad leaves which wilt quickly on contact with dressing). It's great for 2 days, still good on Day 3. I like to hold back some of the Dressing (see recipe steps) for this reason - because it freshens up the salad to add dressing if serving after the day of making it.
3. HOW TO SERVE: I've been obsessively eating this as a meal. The quinoa makes this filling so you're not craving ice cream 30 minutes after dinner. Try adding shredded chicken or even canned tuna for more protein.
It's also terrific served as a side for any cooked protein because it's veg + filling carb in one.
4. This is the nutrition assuming this is served as a meal (3 servings from recipe). I honestly find this filling as a meal (thank you Mr Quinoa), and I don't even have the urge for ice cream! If used as a side for 6, it is 289 calories per person and I consider this to be a good veg + filling carby side for a meal.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
Kale and Quinoa Salad tastiness EVIDENCE: