by Olena

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Apples and Cinnamon Dressing

Olena Osipov
5 from 4 votes

Cozy Kale and Quinoa Salad with apples, walnuts, blue cheese and cinnamon dressing. Superfood fall in a bowl that is tasty during Holidays or any day!

Kale in salads like Mexican kale salad and kale blueberry salad, will convince even your grandma that kale is yummy.:)

Kale and Quinoa Salad

Kale Quinoa Salad

This kale and quinoa salad is such a mouth, throat (literally, you just wait until it goes down) and heartwarming salad with sweet and zesty cinnamon dressing.

Toasted walnuts, sweet crispy apples, nutty quinoa and superfood kale really come together and shine in this healthy salad recipe.

Kale and Quinoa Salad in glass bowl with metal spoon and apples nearby

Quinoa (pronounced “keenwah”) is one of few plant-based foods that is a source of complete protein that contains 9 essential amino acids and is high in fiber, manganese and has low glycemic index.

Kale is a superfood leafy green. It is among the most nutrient dense foods on the planet! It is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins with Vitamins C and K topping the chart.

Kale and Quinoa Salad on white plate with black fork

Ingredients for Kale and Quinoa Salad

  • Kale: I like to use curly green kale as it adds volume and texture. Lacinato kale would work as well, there will be just “less of salad and kale”. Also baby kale has nice soft texture and you can skip “massaging” step.
  • Quinoa: I recommend to use white or tri-colour quinoa for this salad. Red quinoa would be overpowering in taste and texture.
  • Blue cheese: If you don’t love it, feel free to use feta or goat cheese.
  • Vinegar: If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, white or red wine vinegar is great. Not balsamic or white though.
  • Apples: Sweet apples like Gala, Red Delicious, honey crisp etc. are the best. And please don’t peel the apples – so many vitamins and minerals are in that peel! I even eat the core if it’s an organic apple, google it.
  • Celery: A bit of celery goes so well with apples.
  • Walnuts: In my opinion, all nuts taste better toasted. I have heard they lose a bit of their nutritional value but I am OK with that.
  • “Warm” Cinnamon Dressing: Apple cider vinegar shines when mixed with good quality extra virgin olive oil, cinnamon, maple syrup, lemon juice and garlic. And don’t worry, dressing doesn’t have to be warm-warm. It is “warm” with spices.

pouring warm cinnamon dressing over a bowl with Kale and Quinoa Salad ingredients

How to Make Kale Quinoa Salad

  • Cook quinoa: I personally like to cook quinoa with a ratio of 1 cup dry quinoa to 1.5 cups water for less mushy quinoa or you can follow package directions. I’m also obsessed with Instant Pot quinoa because no babysitting. Also this salad is great for quinoa leftovers.
  • Whisk dressing: Combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, salt and pepper; whisk and set aside. Now is good time to chop fruit and veggies and allow dressing flavours to marinate for 10 minutes.cinnamon dressing in glass bowl with a whisk
  • Massage kale: Pour 1/3 of dressing over kale and massage with your hands until it shrinks in half. This step makes kale less tough and chewy.massaging kale in glass bowl
  • Toast nuts and combine: In a small skillet toast, walnuts on low-medium heat until lightly brown, about 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently and watch closely not to burn. Then add to a bowl with kale along with apples, celery, blue cheese and pour remaining dressing on top. Stir with 2 salad spoons.kale, nuts, apple, cheese in a bowl

Kale Quinoa Salad

How to Serve, Store and Make Ahead

Serving: This kale quinoa salad is quite filling on its own. If you are on “eat less meat” bandwagon, this autumn salad is a quick way of doing so. And please don’t think that my kids were all over it.

Add shredded chicken breast on top. As a side, salad will go well with boneless turkey breast roast, healthy pulled pork or healthy turkey meatballs.

Storing: What’s nice about this salad is that kale doesn’t wilt and quinoa becomes only more flavourful with time. So, while this salad recipe makes a lot, it can last in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Make ahead: Refrigerate kale quinoa salad without the dressing for up to 2 days. Dressing keeps well refrigerated for a few weeks. Then combine when ready.

More Quinoa Salad Recipes

Kale Quinoa Salad

kale and quinoa salad recipe

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Apples and Cinnamon Dressing

Cozy Kale and Quinoa Salad with apples, walnuts, blue cheese and cinnamon dressing. Superfood fall in a bowl that is tasty during Holidays or any day!
5 from 4 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 407kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dry or 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 6 cups (1 bunch) kale stalks removed and finely chopped
  • 2 medium apples cored and diced (use sweet variety)
  • 3 small celery stalks diced
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbled
  • 1 cup walnut halves or pecans, or sliced/slivered almonds

Cinnamon Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 lemon juice of
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook quinoa as per package instructions or On Stovetop: Personally, I like to cook quinoa with a ratio of 1 cup dry quinoa to 1.5 cups water. Unlike most packages that state 1:2 ratio. Bring to a boil, cook on low for 12 minutes, let stand for 5 minutes and fluff. This way quinoa comes out less mushy. or make Instant Pot Quinoa.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • In a small skillet toast walnuts on low-medium heat until lightly brown, about 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently and watch closely not to burn. Set aside.
  • To a large salad bowl, add kale and 1/3 of dressing. Massage with your hands until kale has shrunk half in size.
  • Then add cooked and fluffed with a fork quinoa, apples, celery, blue cheese and toasted nuts. Pour remaining salad dressing on top and stir gently.
  • Serve cold or warm. Add shredded chicken or serve as a side dish for turkey roast.

Store: All dressed salad stays fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days. It's great for meal prep.

    Make Ahead: Refrigerate salad without the dressing for up to 2 days. Dressing keeps well refrigerated for a few weeks.

      Notes

      • Sturdy salad: This salad makes a lot, great as a side dish for dinner or lunches.  Kale doesn't wilt and quinoa absorbs delicious dressing, so salad tastes good even days later.
      • Kale: I like to use curly green kale as it adds volume and texture. Lacinato kale would work as well, there will be just "less of salad and kale".
      • Quinoa: I recommend to use white or tri-colour quinoa for this salad. Red quinoa would be overpowering in taste and texture.
      • Blue cheese: If you don't love it, feel free to use feta or goat cheese.
      • Vinegar: If you don't have apple cider vinegar, white or red wine vinegar is great. Not balsamic or white though.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1cup | Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 575mg | Potassium: 622mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 6821IU | Vitamin C: 85mg | Calcium: 196mg | Iron: 3mg
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

      What You Will Find Here

      Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

      A Little More About Me

      Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

      11 comments on “Kale and Quinoa Salad with Apples and Cinnamon Dressing

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      1. 5 stars
        Hi Olena,

        This was not the first recipe that popped up when I searched for kale salad recipes, but I am so glad I tried it. One of my favorite kale salad recipes ever. I was pleasantly surprised! Very easy to make and absolutely delicious.

      2. Is it possible to switch the walnuts for almonds? Mom eats walnuts and they just tear up her mouth leaving it raw afterwards. Thanks in advance and I really love your site. It’s become one of my go tos for Gluten Free recipes.

        1. Yes, of course. Use any nuts you like. Thank you! Interesting, I never ever make recipes gluten free intentionally but end up cooking mostly gluten free because of how many vegetables and whole grains I try to incorporate. Naturally we all are meant to eat less gluten and plant based diet mostly is gluten free. Enjoy!

      3. 5 stars
        Hi Olena,
        I made this for dinner last night and it was great. That dressing is delicious! My husband turned up his nose when he first saw it, but after tasting it he said it was really good and he had seconds!

      4. 5 stars
        Hi Olena! I made this today for the second time and also a large tray of your protein bars. So we all feel very healthy today thanks to your wonderful recipes 🙂
        The salad is both delicious and looking sooo appetizing 🙂
        Thank you again for these delicious recipes!

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