Kale and Quinoa Salad

Hi everyone!  I’ve been taking a break from posting as I adjusted to being a mom of 3 (!), but I certainly haven’t taken a break from cooking.  And so now that my littlest one is a little more settled, I thought it was high time I shared with you one of my new favorite recipes – this Kale and Quinoa Salad.

Now before you go running and saying that a kale and quinoa salad is too healthy to possibly be tasty, I want you to put your disbelief aside and give this one a try.  It is shockingly delicious!  Somehow the textures and flavors blend perfectly, mellowing the tastes of the kale and quinoa and highlighting the accents from the nuts, cheese, and fruit.  I served this to a very mixed crowd and got rave reviews from kale lovers and haters alike!  I love to make a big batch and keep in the fridge for and easy healthy lunch, but it is also elegant enough to serve to guests.  I really hope you give this a try and let me know how it goes!

 

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Kale and Quinoa Salad
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Salad
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
1 bunch lacinato (aka dinosaur or tuscan) kale
1/2 cup slivered almonds, very well toasted and cooled
1/3 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries or pomegranate seeds)
2 to 3 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill (optional, use if you happen to have it around)
2 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled or finely grated
Zest of one lemon

Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (approx one lemon)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Rinse quinoa well in a fine mesh colander (do not skip this step!).  Place in a small pot with 1 scant cup of water and simmer covered for approx 20 minutes until water is absorbed.  Turn off heat and let sit for another 10 minutes, then spread cooked quinoa out on a plate to cool.

Wash your kale and dry it well. Remove the tough center rib and cut the leaves into small ribbons by stacking a few at a time and slicing across the short way into 1/2 inch strips. Add the kale ribbons to a large salad bowl.

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small dish, and pour half the dressing over the kale.  Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale – this helps to soften the kale and ensure the dressing is evenly distributed.

Add remaining salad ingredients and dressing to kale and toss to mix.

Keeps well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Makes 4 lunch portions

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