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When packing up a meal for a picnic, tailgate, or even a potluck at a friend's house, nothing beats hearty grain-based salads that can be made in advance — and this quinoa salad is a new favorite.
Inspired by a dish a family friend made where she covered the quinoa with a layer of kale and salted pumpkin seeds, I decided to stir the greens into the quinoa so each bite was full of flavors. Mango adds a sweet and tropical bite, and I garnished the dish with roasted almonds for a buttery, salty finish.
Click here to see New Twists on Tailgating Recipes.
- 1 ½ cups quinoa
- 1 cup mango nectar
- 1 ¼ cups water
- Salt, to taste
- 1 bunch kale, ribs removed and leaves finely chopped
- 1 mango, peeled and flesh finely diced
- 2 cups roasted salted almonds, chopped if desired
In a large saucepan, combine the quinoa, nectar, and water. Season with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until nearly all the liquid has evaporated and quinoa is cooked, stirring every 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the kale and mango. Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork then add it to the bowl. Season with salt and stir well. Let the salad sit for about 5-10 minutes to allow the kale to wilt a bit. Check for seasoning and add a bit more nectar, if desired.
Add the almonds to the salad as a garnish or stir them in, whichever you prefer.
A Flavor-Packed, Warm Kale-Quinoa Salad Recipe
Waterbury Publications, Inc.
Sure, you know that kale and quinoa are both great foods for you. But how can you add them to your diet in a new and exciting way? Enter this kale quinoa salad recipe, which is anything but ordinary.
With an apple, walnuts, and a homemade dijon vinaigrette dressing, this salad is packed with crunch and with flavor. And thanks to all of the veggies involved, it's packed with fiber and other nutrients, too. So whip up this easy recipe and dig in—you might just have found your new go-to salad.
Nutrition: 377 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated), 299 mg sodium, 17 g fiber, 14 g sugar, 13 g protein
Makes 4 servings
Whole Food’s California Quinoa Salad
Have you ever tried Whole Food’s California Quinoa Salad? I’ve tried it a few times and I finally got around to make it at home. And to my surprise, the homemade version is so much better.
Now I love copycat recipes because you gain full control of what’s in your dish, and you can cherry pick some of the ingredients to your preferences. So for me, I added extra mangos and extra coconut because the tropical twist in this is just amazing!
There’s also tons of other fun goodies in this salad – from the raisins to the edamame and the tangy balsamic-lime dressing. Yes, it’s definitely a party flavor with every bite!
Plus, this is incredibly healthy and nutritious, and certainly bikini-friendly. You can’t beat that!
Massaging raw kale with dressing softens it. Just pour the dressing on the kale and start rubbing it into the leaves until the kale gets darker in color and more tender. Massaging is the most important step in prepping raw kale for a salad. You definitely don’t want to skip it!
This recipe is meant to be a road map for creating your perfect kale salad, so play with your favorite nuts, dried fruits, cheeses, and whole grains. Some ideas for different mix-ins are walnuts, pecans, dried cherries, dried dates, white cheddar, goat cheese, farro, and couscous.
You can also try curly kale, although it tastes slightly grassier than lacinato.
Vegan kale, quinoa, and mango salad
This kale + quinoa + mango salad is my go-to salad for potlucks and dinner parties. The kale is a sturdy green and travels well at room temp, dressed even — it doesn’t wilt and become slimy and super gross. This is also a pretty good salad for meat-eaters, those who kind of complain about the supposed “lightness” of vegan food. This is a hearty salad with lots of ingredients, to keep people’s interest.
I often make a tub of this salad for myself and eat over five days or so. It refrigerates well and keeps better than most green salads.
- 3/4 cup light olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons red chili flakes (or more/less to taste)
- Juice of 2 limes
- 6 fat cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 bunch of kale, torn up into bit-size pieces, stems discarded (“A bunch” varies, but you can get away with 5 oz of kale to almost 1 lb of kale. I usually use about 5-6 oz.)
- 1/2 half onion, sliced (red, yellow, doesn’t matter, but use something with some heat)
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1 bunch of green onions, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup roasted and shelled pumpkin seeds (sunflower seeds, chopped pecans/walnuts/cashews/peanuts all work well)
- 10 oz frozen or fresh mangos, cubed (frozen is easier and totally fine for this salad)
- 1 cup shelled edamame (frozen is cool)
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions. 1 cup of dried quinoa should be rinsed before being simmered with 2 cups of water for about 20 minutes. It’s okay to slightly undercook the quinoa (15 minutes or hold back on a little water) because it will absorb the dressing and add chewy texture. It will yield about 3 cups cooked quinoa. Let the quinoa cool before adding to salad.
- Basically, combine all ingredients in your salad bowl and whisk with a fork or a whisk to combine. Taste and adjust based on your preference.
- It’s best to slice onions first and put them in the dressing, letting them chillax as you chop up/prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. It’s good to do with this the onions first, letting the dressing absorb the onioniness and letting the onions mellow and break down in the acid of the dressing. It’s like a quick pickle for the onions.
- Add in kale and toss thoroughly to coat. No massaging needed. But I mean, you can if you want.
- Toss in rest of the ingredients, including cooled quinoa. Mango doesn’t have to be defrosted much. Combine well and serve
I’ve been told the dressing in this salad is very similar in taste to nuoc cham (Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce). It’s tangy, sweet, salty, and has a bit of heat from the chili pepper. The bonus is that there’s no actual fish sauce in it, so vegan.
Of course, you can sub in fish sauce for the kosher salt and like, ruin it for all your vegan friends. Bwahaha.
The mango is a pretty important component in this salad because it lends that much needed sweetness against the onslaught of onion and garlic. Don’t omit.
That said, this is a super versatile salad and I swap out ingredients all the time. I’ve made this with cooked black beans, other kinds of nuts, couscous (will not store as long as quinoa, though) and other veggies.
Quinoa and kale salad
Dear SOS: I recently visited the beautiful little town of Capitola, next to Santa Cruz on the California coast. Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria is a special place. Along with mouth-watering baked goods, I enjoyed two delicious dishes: a kale and quinoa salad and a very yummy artichoke frittata. Could you please try to get the recipes?
Dear Donna: Gayle’s was happy to share both recipes with us, which we’ve adapted below.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the quinoa until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well, fluff on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside to cool.
In a saute pan heated over medium-high heat until hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the garbanzo beans, sprinkling over the ground cumin and a pinch of kosher salt. Saute until the beans are lightly colored and aromatic. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, toss the quinoa with the garbanzos, kale, celery, currants, piquillo peppers, green onions, parsley and lemon zest with quinoa.
To make the dressing, whisk together the remaining one-half cup olive oil, red wine vinegar and the juice from the zested lemon, three-fourths teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste, and black pepper.
Add the dressing to the salad, a few tablespoons at a time, tossing to coat. You may not use all of the dressing. Taste and season if desired. This makes about 5 1/2 cups salad.
Kale and Quinoa Salad with Edamame and Mango
Summer is the perfect time for lighter eating, and while lettuce-based salads are a seasonal staple, they can be a little, well, Dullsville. Instead, we’re livening up our weekend lunches with this kale and quinoa salad, which combines the protein-packed power of quinoa with antioxidant-rich kale and some zesty add-ins, like juicy mango and crisp edamame.
If you haven’t quite warmed up to kale yet, we promise that this is one of the best ways to eat it. For starters, it’s raw, so you’re not compromising even a bit of its nutritional value by cooking it. It’s cut up into tiny chunks and is balanced by the chewiness of the quinoa, so you never get a big mouthful of leaf. And the kale’s characteristic bitterness is offset by the citrus dressing and mango, which lend it a sweet, fruity flavor that should please both young and older palates.
Even better, you can make a double this kale and quinoa salad recipe and store it in the fridge for at least a week, so you always have a quick—and complete—lunch or dinner ready to go, no extra time required. And who doesn’t need a little more of that on a weekday afternoon or evening?
What are you waiting for? We guarantee this will be the best 15 minutes you’ve spent in the kitchen in a long time.
Dress it up!
I dressed this stellar chopped salad with a light lemon dressing made with just a few tasty ingredients!
You’ll simply add the juice from one and a half lemons to a mason jar with avocado oil (or your favorite healthy oil), a splash of white wine vinegar, minced garlic, and salt + pepper.
No lemons? No problem! It should work quite nicely with limes too!
- Sprinkle kale with salt and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Using your hands, massage until dark.
- Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the kale, quinoa, carrot, red bell pepper, and sunflower seeds. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until the kale is slightly wilted. Remove from the heat and add the pepitas, radishes, and cilantro. Stir to combine.
- Toss salad with half the dressing and serve drizzled with additional dressing, a sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper, avocado slices, and crushed red pepper flakes if desired.
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Maple syrup
- Red pepper flakes
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Corn and Mango
My first introduction to quinoa was about two years ago. Until then I just heard all good hype about this whole grain which is actually not a grain. I first tasted quinoa in a vegan restaurant where I enjoyed a delicious gluten-free quinoa burger. I am hooked to quinoa since then.
However, today is yet another quinoa salad day. Looking at my love for quinoa and speed of making quinoa dishes, I think I might end-up writing a cookbook just on quinoa. (One day, may be.. )
This light and nutty quinoa salad has sweetness from mangoes and roasted corn and fresh tang from lemon juice and zest. In every bite you will experience sweet mango, smoky corn, nutty quinoa and cashews, super addictive. This is kind of salad where you will keep going for more every time you empty the plate.
Recipe serves two but since it was so addictive, next time I am going to make at least 2 serving each for two of us.
In my salads, I generally keep grain and veggies in ration 1:1. But, it will be totally ok if you just double the amount of quinoa with same quantity of veggies to make 4 servings or filling salad for dinner for two. Just adjust the seasoning per taste.