Kale and Quinoa Salad
Kale and Quinoa Salad has been on repeat at our house this summer. We love the contrast between the fresh peaches and the salty feta cheese, and the differing textures between the crunchy pecans (can make them candied pecans for added sweetness) and soft dried cranberries. With two superfoods being the star of the show, kale and quinoa, this healthy and versatile salad is one you can make all year round!
It goes without saying that loaded salads are something I, and hopefully most people, love.
I really enjoy a good salad with a great protein option and complimentary textures and flavors; a salad that’s easy to make with little prep involved, and one that kids will enjoy eating.
This kale and quinoa salad checks all of those boxes.
Kale and Quinoa Salad options
Here are a few tips and tricks for when you make this salad.
- Make it a meal, add grilled chicken. This is a vegetarian kale and quinoa salad, however, I also enjoy tossing a grilled chicken breast into the mix. I don’t do this every time because I think it’s delicious as is, but my husband enjoys the added protein. Quick quinoa refresher… there’s protein in quinoa 🙂 hence it being a great vegetarian salad option because it’s filling but there’s no meat.
- Be flexible with the fruit. I used peaches because they are in season at the moment. Use your favorite fruit! This would taste great with fresh blueberries, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, nectarines.
I am obsessed with this dressing! It would be great over so many salads, so don’t feel limited to using it on just this one.
To make the dressing add all the ingredients (minus the olive oil) into a bowl and whisk. Once those ingredients are smooth and combined, slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking. Once the dressing comes together cover it and place it in the fridge until ready to use.
Pro tip: I like to make my salad dressing in a liquid measuring cup. It makes pouring it over the salad much easier!
This balsamic dressing will keep in the fridge for about 3 weeks.
Note, you won’t use all of the dressing on this one salad. It’s made to have leftovers. You’ll see why when you taste it, you’ll either drown your salad in it because it’s so good, or you’ll be glad you have extras for later use!
Prep the Kale
Before adding the salad toppings to the kale, make sure the kale is chopped!
Pro tip: When I chop kale I do it in thin strips, makes it so much easier to eat.
Place the chopped kale in a large bowl and drizzle a small amount of olive oil overtop, I do about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Using clean hands, massage the kale until the leaves have softened and wilted slightly, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Massaging the kale breaks down the tough cell structure and makes it more enjoyable to eat. The last part being my personal opinion.
Kale and Quinoa Toppings
Now that the kale is prepped, add the toppings to the salad. The ones I chose are as follows:
- Toasted pecans
- Fresh peaches
- Feta cheese
- Dried cranberries (craisins)
- Cooked quinoa
Drizzle the homemade balsamic dressing overtop, toss, and serve.
This salad is best served the same day it is made. However, if you want plan on taking it to a gathering or party, place the ingredients over the kale and wait to add the dressing until right before serving.
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Kale and Quinoa Salad (with Peaches)
Kale and Quinoa Salad
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 heaping cup kale - chopped
- 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup craisins
- 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1/4 cup pecans - chopped and toasted. OR candied pecans
- 1 peach - sliced
- 2 garlic cloves - minced
- 3 tablespoons mayo
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon Morton's Nature seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- To a large bowl add the chopped kale. Drizzle the olive oil overtop. Using your hands massage the kale for 2 minutes until the leaves become soft and wilted.
- Top the salad with quinoa, craisins, feta, pecans, and peaches. Drizzle your desired amount of balsamic dressing overtop. Serve!
- In a small bowl (I like to use a liquid measuring cup) whisk the garlic, mayo, lemon juice, sugar, Dijon mustard, Morton’s Nature seasoning, salt, and balsamic vinegar.
- While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Whisk until dressing is smooth and emulsified.
- Cover and refrigerate until using. *Note, this dressing makes a lot, so you'll have extra.
- You don't have to use peaches, it's the fruit in season so that what I grabbed. You can use anything though! Blueberries, grapes, strawberries, nectarines.
- We like to add diced grilled chicken to our salad as well!