Cozy Kale and Quinoa Salad with apples, walnuts and cinnamon dressing. Superfood fall in a bowl tasty any day!
Kale Quinoa Salad
This is such a mouth, throat (literally, you just wait until it goes down) and heartwarming kale quinoa salad with sweet and zesty cinnamon dressing. Toasted walnuts, crispy apples, nutty quinoa and superfood kale really come together and shine in this healthy one meal salad.
I won’t suggest quinoa kale salad recipe as a sore throat remedy but rather as a 20 minute healthy dinner, heck yeah!
As for kale, I used baby kale that I love getting in a huge bag from Costco. It’s pre-washed, can’t beat that. It is softer in texture and milder in taste than its parent. Both would work great in this salad with kale and quinoa. I find if you finely chop the fully grown kale, there is no need to massage it and it will have nice chewy texture.
In my opinion, all nuts taste better toasted. I have heard they lose a bit of their nutritional value but I don’t care. I eat enough raw nuts for snacks and almond + peanut butter to worry about 7 roasted walnuts in my salad. It’s nuts, not bacon bits.
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.
How Healthy Is This Kale Salad?
Are you prepared to be blown away?!
- Quinoa (pronounced “keenwah”) is one of few plant-based foods that is a source of complete protein that contains 9 essential amino acids. Our bodies can’t produce it, so this quality is especially important for vegans and vegetarians. Quinoa is also very 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. But my most favorite characteristic of kale is its potential ability to suppress the development and growth of cancer cells (source).
- And lastly the apple cider vinegar. Its main health benefit is lowering blood sugar levels. No need to chug it down as Internet may suggest. It’s just good stuff in moderation.
“Warm” Cinnamon Dressing
I absolutely love raw apple cider vinegar. It shines when mixed with good quality cinnamon, olive oil, maple syrup and lemon juice. I am generally not a huge fan of making a salad dressing in a separate bowl but in this salad it is necessary.
And don’t worry. Dressing doesn’t have to be warm-warm. It is “warm” with spices.
How to Cook Quinoa for Salad
I have 3 options for us:
- Stovetop: I personally 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.
- Instant Pot: I’m obsessed with Instant Pot quinoa. It takes 30 seconds of prep and I walk away. Quinoa comes out fluffy and each grain separate after 9 minutes.
- Leftovers haha.
Of course. You have a few options.
Refrigerate kale quinoa salad without the dressing for up to 2 days. Dressing keeps well refrigerated for a few weeks.
All dressed chopped salad stays fresh in the fridge for up to 1 day.
Salad is amazing 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. #truth
Add shredded chicken breast on top.
More Quinoa Salads to Try
- Broccoli quinoa salad
- Fall quinoa salad
- Quinoa tabbouleh salad
- Blueberry quinoa salad
- Mediterranean quinoa salad
Kale and Quinoa Salad
Cozy Kale Quinoa Salad with apples, walnuts and cinnamon dressing. Superfood fall in a bowl tasty any day.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Stove
- Cuisine: North American
- 2/3 cup dry or 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 3 large handfuls kale, stalks removed & finely chopped (I used pre-washed baby kale)
- 3 medium apples, cored & diced (use sweet variety)
- 5 celery stalks, diced
- 1 cup walnut halves or pieces
- 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 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Cook quinoa as per package instructions or… Stovetop: I personally 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. Instant Pot: I’m obsessed with Instant Pot quinoa. It takes 30 seconds of prep and I walk away. Quinoa comes out fluffy and each grain separate after 9 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, 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. Transfer to a large salad bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together Cinnamon Dressing ingredients.
- Toa bowl with walnuts, add cooked quinoa, kale, apples and celery. Pour salad dressing over salad and stir gently.
- Serve cold or warm. Add shredded chicken or serve as a side dish to turkey roast or meatballs.
Store: All dressed salad stays fresh in the fridge for up to 1 day.
Make Ahead: Refrigerate salad without the dressing for up to 2 days. Dressing keeps well refrigerated for a few weeks.
Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.