Light, bright and citrusy, with an extra-nutty pop.
I taught a plant-based diet class last week and while we were discussing the nutritional merits of quinoa, one class participant told me her husband “absolutely hates quinoa”. I gotta admit I just don’t get that. To me, quinoa takes on the flavor of whatever you put with it, sort of like tofu does and that’s exactly why I love this Nutty Apple, Kale and Quinoa Salad. It’s filled with so many of my favorite flavors!
What the heck is quinoa?
Touted as a “superfood,” quinoa has become a healthy substitution for more starchier side dishes like white rice and pasta, as well as a source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is often categorized as a whole grain but it’s actually a seed from a plant called goosefoot. To prepare quinoa you cook it as you would some whole grains like barley or rice. Quinoa becomes nutty and slightly chewy when cooked. It’s versatile and can…
- stand alone or be gussied-up as a side dish
- be the base for a protein-packed main dish salad
- Be added to soups or stews to make them thicker heartier
- Cooked and used as binder in meatloaf or veggie burgers
- Prepared and eaten for breakfast as you would grits or oatmeal
- Be the star of this mega-healthy Nutty Apple, Kale and Quinoa Salad!
Basic Quinoa Cooking Instructions
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve until water runs clear, drain and transfer to a medium pot. Add 1 ½ – 2 cups water and salt and bring to a boil. (Note – I like my quinoa on the drier side – especially if I am going to add it to a salad – so I use 1 ½-1 ¾ cups water or liquid however, most recipes use the 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water or liquid.)
- Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes; uncover and fluff with a fork.
This Nutty Apple, Kale and Quinoa Salad with Agave-Lime Vinaigrette is…
- An all-star side or main dish
- Bright and colorful
- Light and filling
- Good warm or cold
- Easy to spice up or down
Are you tired of the serving the same old side dishes? Does the thought of another tossed salad or brown rice side-dish seem a little underwhelming? It’s time to break out of the box and try this Nutty Apple, Kale and Quinoa Salad. I’m 100% certain you’ll be glad you did.
Peace, love, and good eats, from our Empty Nest to yours.
Trending in the Empty Nest Kitchen: True Goodness by Meijer Organic Dijon Mustard
Nutty Kale, Apple and Quinoa Salad with Agave-Lime Vinaigrette
Yield 4 servings
- 1 cup tri-color quinoa, dry
- 3 cups kale, cut into thin strips
- 1 tart apple, sliced
- ½ small red onion, finely minced
- ¼ cup chopped, toasted nuts any kind, i.e. pecans, pumpkin seeds, almonds etc.
- ¼ cup dried fruit i.e. chopped apricots, dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.
- Agave-Lime Dressing (Below)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup (or honey if not vegan)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or canola oil
- Optional – ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
- Make the dressing: Combine the first 7 ingredients (from lime juice – black pepper) in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time whisk in the olive oil and avocado oil until well-combined and creamy-looking. If using cilantro, stir it in now.
- Cook quinoa according to the directions above. Use 1 ¾ cups water. When quinoa is cooked, turn out onto a baking sheet, spread out on the pan to let the steam escape. Cool to room temperature.
- In a medium size bowl, combine the chopped kale, apple slices, red onion, toasted nuts/seeds, and dried fruit.
- Fold the cooked, cooled quinoa into the kale/apple mixture. Drizzle the dressing over the top and stir gently until well-combined. May be eaten immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Make this salad heartier by added a little shredded chicken or crumbled feta cheese.
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