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Rainbow Rainbow Kale & Quinoa Salad


Kale & quinoa salad is hearty, veggie-packed, and bursting with nourishing ingredients! Drizzled with a white wine vinaigrette, it’s full of fresh flavor and texture. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly!

From our staple kale salad to kale caesar salad, and this delicious kale & quinoa salad – we are BIG fans of kale here at Sweet Peas & Saffron!

kale quinoa salad in wooden bowl all mixed up

This kale & quinoa salad is going to be your modern go-to recipe when you need something that is refreshing, customizable and exactly refreshing.

Topped with white wine vinaigrette and feta cheese, this salad is very flexible and can be customized to your liking (see suggestions below)! Best of all, it’s fast to put together, and ingredients can be prepped ahead for meal prep.

Reasons You’ll Love This Recipe

  • it’s so refreshing and flavorful – crunchy veggies, and tender kale drizzled with vinaigrette? Yum!!
  • it contains a good dose of protein thanks to the quinoa, making it a hearty and filling salad
  • it’s gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly (omit feta cheese)

Watch the video below to see how to assemble this kale & quinoa salad! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel.

Ingredient Notes

ingredients required to make kale quinoa salad
  • kale – we used curly kale in these photos, but you can use almost any type of kale in this recipe, from curly to lacinato kale, or even baby kale.
  • quinoa – we like to cook it up in the rice cooker, but you can also prep quinoa on the stovetop. We used white quinoa, but you could also use tri-color quinoa (they cook up the same)
  • veggies – we’re using bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and red onion for a Mediterranean vibe! See variations below for more veggies you could conclude or swap.
  • white wine vinaigrette – a go-to staple! This white wine vinaigrette is neutral and goes well on pretty much any salad, including this one.

Step by step directions

quinoa fluffed up after cooking in the rice cooker

Ways you can cook it:

  1. great fluffy stovetop quinoa
  2. in the Instant Pot
  3. in a rice cooker

Once cooked, you will want to allow the quinoa to fully cool before assembling the salad.

kale in salad spinner

Tear kale into bite-size pieces, wash, then spin dry. See more specific tips below.

Follow these important steps to ensure your kale is mild, sweet, and simple to chew:

  1. Remove the leaves from the stem, either by tearing them off with your hands or carefully cutting the leaves off with a small knife
  2. Tear the kale up into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Fill a large bowl or salad spinner with water. Press the kale down into the water, moving it around to knock any dirt or debris from the kale.
  4. Drain the kale well; using a salad spinner is easiest. Alternatively, you can arrange the kale leaves on a clean kitchen towel, then roll it up tightly to help absorb moisture from the leaves.
  5. Massage the kale for 2-3 minutes before adding to the salad. This is important to help remove the tough texture that raw kale can tend to have, and helps remove the natural bitterness that kale can hold! To massage the kale, take clean, washed kale, and massage in your hands for 2-3 minutes, until kale becomes soft and bright green
kale salad dressing

In a salad dressings shaker or ½ pint jar, combine olive oil, white wine, maple syrup, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and dijon. Shake until completely mixed.

kale quinoa salad before tossing up

Assemble the salad ingredients including quinoa, kale, chopped bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and feta cheese. Drizzle with the dressing, toss, and enjoy!


In addition to the toppings listed, you can really obtain creative here and add in some other ingredients you might have in the fridge:

  • sliced cucumbers
  • olives
  • sun dried tomatoes
  • fresh herbs such as basil or oregano
  • swap the vinagrette for our red wine vinaigrette
  • add chickpeas for extra protein, or top with falafel to make it a complete meal

FAQ

Can I assemble this as a jar salad?

Sure! Layer the salad in a mason jar in the following order to keep the kale from going soggy:
• vinaigrette on the bottom
• quinoa
• kale
• bell peppers, onions
• feta
• tomatoes on the top

Can I swap the quinoa?

You could swap for couscous, though it would no longer be gluten-free.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

Absolutely, just abandon out the feta! You’ll want to increase the salt in the dressing to compensate.

close up shot of balsamic salmon with reduction drizzled over it

serve it with

This kale & quinoa salad is fairly hearty as-is, but adding a protein on the side will make it more filling and great for dinner. Here are some options:

This kale & quinoa salad is top served fresh, however, you can prep some of the components 4-5 days ahead.

  1. Quinoa- Cook quinoa, let cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  2. Kale- Shred, wash, dry kale. Store in a container lined with a paper towel in the fridge for up to 7 -10 days
  3. Vinaigrette- Shake up the salad dressing and store separately in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks
  4. Veggies- Chop up the veggies including cucumber, bell peppers, red onion. Cherry tomatoes should be added fresh, as their texture goes downhill when pre-cut. Store chopped veggies for 4-5 days.
  5. To serve– combine the kale, quinoa, veggies, and top with feta and white wine vinaigrette

Store – once the salad is assembled, it should be eaten within 6-8 hours. After 24 hours, we find it tends to go a small soggy and isn’t quite as fresh!

S

Did you make this? Tag me on social @sweetpeasandsaffron and be sure to abandon a comment and rate the recipe!

Kale & quinoa salad is hearty, veggie-packed, and bursting with nourishing ingredients! Drizzled with a white wine vinaigrette, it’s full of fresh flavor and texture. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly!

  • Cook quinoa – Cook quinoa according to package directions. Allow the quinoa to fully cool before assembling the salad.

  • Prepare Kale – While the quinoa is cooking, shred, wash, and dry the kale. Remove if from the stem and tear into bite-sized pieces. Soak in cold water, then drain. Dry well using a salad spinner. Take clean, washed kale, and massage in your hands for 2-3 minutes, until kale becomes soft and bright green (note 4).

  • Vinaigrette – Shake vinaigrette ingredients together, including olive oil, white wine, maple syrup, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and dijon.

  • Combine – Assemble the salad ingredients including quinoa, kale, chopped bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and feta cheese. Drizzle with the dressing, toss, and enjoy!

  1. cook your quinoa on the stove top, in a rice cooker, or in an Instant Pot. White quinoa is pictured; swap for red or tricolor if you’d prefer!
  2. you can use curly, lacinato or baby kale in this recipe
  3. swap for brown sugar, honey or your favorite sweetener
  4. massaging kale helps to soften the texture and remove bitterness from the leaves
  5. serving size is a very rough estimate. Nutritional info is for ⅙ of the batch

To Prep Ahead: This kale & quinoa salad is top served fresh, however, you can prep some of the components 4-5 days ahead.

  1. Cook quinoa, let cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the fridge
  2. Shred, wash, dry kale. Store in a container lined with a paper towel in the fridge for up to 7 -10 days
  3. Shake up the salad dressing and store seperately in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks
  4. Chop up the veggies incuding cucumber, bell peppers, red onion. Cherry tomatoes should be chopped when alert to serve, as they tend to go soggy. Store chopped veggies for 4-5 days.
  5. To serve, combine the kale, quinoa, veggies, and top with feta and white wine vinagrette

Store – once the salad is assembled, it should be eaten up within 6-8 hours. After 24 hours, we find it tends to go a small soggy and isn’t quite as fresh!

Serving: 1.5cups (note 5), Calories: 245kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 345mg, Potassium: 583mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 6444IU, Vitamin C: 105mg, Calcium: 235mg, Iron: 2mg




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