I am keenly aware that Kale, Quinoa and Herb Salad is unlikely to rope you in. I mean, not like Ooey Gooey Chocolate Brownies or Best Ever Rum Pound Cake (I do have a recipe for that but it calls for boxed cake mix so I’ve got to think about whether I admit that and post it for you). I am a strong believer, though, in expanding your comfort zone. Do something even if you aren’t immediately sold on the idea: Try waterskiing. Visit Atlanta. Leave the sugar out of your tea. Eat kale. It is good for us to get out of our comfort zones in small, bite sized amounts. It keeps us from turning old too soon. I speak authoritatively about this because I am a writer and that is what we do. And that is well within my comfort zone.
Anyway, today we are stretching ourselves and we are considering….no commitment here, just considering….a verdant Kale, Quinoa and Herb salad. First, a moment of truth: My husband and children do not get super excited about this one. Though they like to see me at the helm of the kitchen, when they see huge piles of dark rigid greens they turn quickly on their heels pausing only to pick up the telephone to order pizza (you’d be amazed at how accurate a 4-year-old’s kale radar is). So usually I eat this salad, alone, for lunch. But listen, and I know that’s quite a build up, if you are on Team Kale and if you are willing to suffer the pinched noses, the chorus of “ewwwwwww” and the worried look from your partner, “Ooooh no. Is she on a health food kick?” This is really worth it. It is also worth perfecting your personal version of it so that you have a go-to salad to bring to late summer BBQs and friends houses for dinner. You’ll surprise them with how fresh and tangy this is and how well it pairs with so many summer dishes.
You’re still with me so I think you are going to give it a shot. Here is the upshot: This salad uses loads of fresh herbs and all things green. You toss it with a citrus vinaigrette and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before eating. It gives the vinaigrette a chance to soften the kale and then it lasts well into day 2 so it is a great salad to make on a Sunday and then scoop up the leftovers for lunch on Monday. If you don’t have the herbs listed just try substituting something else. Leave out the mint, add basil – do whatever makes sense to you. It’s super forgiving.
And, despite his protests, my husband did like it and even had seconds! Go Team Kale.
- 3 cups finely chopped kale
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
- 1/2 cup (or a little more) diced cucumber
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1/2 cup edamame
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro / coriander
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Zest from 1 medium lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Place the kale into a large salad bowl. Top with the cooked quinoa and chives and toss with tongs or salad servers until the quinoa is mixed evenly throughout the salad.
- Mix the dressing ingredients, the lemon juice, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt, peppers and olive oil in a blender until emulsified. Toss the kale and quinoa with the salad dressing, blending carefully so that it evenly coats all of the greens.
- Add the cucumber, avocado, edamame and all herbs. Mix well.
- Let sit for at least 1 hour, taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Top with sunflower seeds or pistachio seeds (out of the shells, obviously)