by Olena

Kale and Quinoa Salad

by Olena

Cozy Kale and Quinoa Salad with apples, walnuts and cinnamon dressing. Superfood fall in a bowl tasty any day!

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

kale and quinoa salad, apples and glass of water

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!

apples and toasted walnuts for autumn kale and quinoa salad

Salad Ingredients

  • Quinoa
  • Kale
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Walnuts

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.

cinnamon dressing poured over a bowl of kale and quinoa salad

“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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Leftovers haha.

kale quinoa salad in a serving bowl

Make Ahead?

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.

Serving Suggestions

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.

As a side, salad will go well with boneless turkey breast roast, healthy pulled pork or healthy turkey meatballs.

More Quinoa Salads to Try

Print

Kale and Quinoa Salad

Cozy Kale Quinoa Salad with apples, walnuts and cinnamon dressing. Superfood fall in a bowl tasty any day.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: North American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 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

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 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together Cinnamon Dressing ingredients.
  4. Toa bowl with walnuts, add cooked quinoa, kale, apples and celery. Pour salad dressing over salad and stir gently.
  5. 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.

 

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

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  1. This is not the same recipe depicted in the pic. I am am so disappointed as I have made the cover pic salad many times and really enjoy it. Can you tell me where to find it please.

    1. This one?

      Fall Quinoa Salad

      Print Recipe
      Fall Quinoa Salad Recipe with apples, cranberries, pecans, sun dried tomatoes and maple basil dressing.

      Author: ifoodreal.com
      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      Cook Time: 10 minutes
      Total Time: 20 minutes
      Yield: 6 servings 1x
      SCALE 1x2x3x
      Ingredients
      For the Salad:

      1 cup quinoa, dry (uncooked)
      1/2 large Red Delicious apple, chopped
      1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
      1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained & chopped
      1/4 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened or sweetened
      For the Maple Basil Dressing:
      1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
      1 tbsp maple syrup
      1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
      2 tbsp basil, finely chopped
      1/4 tsp salt
      Ground black pepper, to taste
      Instructions
      Cook quinoa al dente. I like firm quinoa for salads, so I undercook it by 3 minutes and use ratio of 1 cup quinoa: 1 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 more minutes. Fluff with a fork. Or you can cook it as per package instructions. Transfer to a large salad bowl.
      Add remaining Salad Ingredients to a bowl with quinoa.
      In a small bowl, whisk together Maple Basil Dressing Ingredients and pour over salad. Mix gently just enough to combine. Serve warm or cold. Pairs well with chicken and pork, or on it’s own.
      Store: Refrigerate covered for up to 2 days.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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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