Whenever I create a new salad recipe, I think about ingredients as well as color. Quinoa and Kale Salad are two of my favorite ingredients. Quinoa and kale work perfectly together in a salad, especially when adding fresh earthy vegetables. Then dressing the salad with a beautiful oil-free shallot vinaigrette sets the magic in motion.
Like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts, kale is a cabbage family member. Hearty and nutrient-dense kale is one of my favorites ingredients for a salad.
The health benefits of kale and quinoa are astounding.
- Vitamin A: 206% of the DV (from beta-carotene)
- Vitamin K: 684% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
- Manganese: 26% of the DV
- Calcium: 9% of the DV
- Copper: 10% of the DV
- Potassium: 9% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
- It also contains 3% or more of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron, and phosphorus.
This is coming with 33 calories, 6 grams of carbs (2 of which are fiber), and 3 grams of protein.
Quinoa, on the other hand, is a gluten-free grain grown for its seeds. This is the nutrient content in 1 cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa (2):
- Protein: 8 grams.
- Fiber: 5 grams.
- Manganese: 58% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
- Folate: 19% of the RDA.
- Copper: 18% of the RDA.
- Iron: 15% of the RDA.
- Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
- Potassium 9% of the RDA.
- Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2, and B6.
- Small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin), and vitamin E.
How to roast beets for Quinoa and Kale Salad
First, wash beets with a vegetable brush because beets are a root vegetable grown in the ground. Naturally, beets have much caked-on dirt and debris, removing as much dirt and debris as possible.
Then cut the leaves and cut both ends off the ends of the beets. But, keep the beet leaves for salads or greens. Also, remember to wash them well before adding them to a salad.
Large beets, however, should be cut in half to reduce cooking time. Smaller beets are smaller and more tender. For that reason, I select smaller beets to get the sweetest flavor. Larger beets contain a thicker core and are less sweet.
Wrap the beets inside a foil pack with herbs. Although most recipes suggest oil, it isn't necessary and doesn't contribute to the beets' flavor or cooking. Space the beets apart in the foil packet.
Cook at 400 degrees, roast the beets for 50-60 minutes. Once cooled, skin the beets using gloves to avoid staining your hands. Use gloves or a paper towel.
What vegetables are to kale and quinoa salad?
- Dragon Kale (purple in color)
- Curly Kale (dark green in color and curly)
- Red onion
- Orange Beets
- Red Beets
- Tri-colored tomatoes
Cooking quinoa perfectly for kale quinoa salad
I chose red quinoa for this kale and quinoa salad because of its vibrant color, but any color quinoa can substitute.
To cook the perfect quinoa, make sure to combine the quinoa and water before bringing it to a boil. Then, cover, simmer and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes.
Next, leaving the top on the pan, remove from the heat, and allow to sit for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork.
How to make an oil-free shallot dressing for quinoa and kale salad
To make a quick and easy dressing, all you need is a high-speed blender and a few ingredients. I love cooking with shallots. The flavor of shallots is more delicate, softer, and less abrasive than an onion.
But the flavor is deeper, bringing in notes of garlic. For that reason, I included a shallot in my dressing.
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Dijon Mustard
- Maple Syrup
- Fresh lemon juice
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
When blended, the dressing turns white from the shallot. Although it appears thin at first, it thickens when refrigerated.
Because kale and Brussel sprouts are so fibrous, dressing the salad earlier than later is better.
In fact, using a salad dressing with a lot of acid like lemon juice or vinegar (or both) is the key to softening the kale and Brussel sprouts. As a result, acid helps break down the fibers in the kale and Brussel sprouts, making them a lot more tender and easier to chew.
With that in mind, it's always best to dress the salad, toss it, and place it in the refrigerator for an hour or so before eating. Not only is the salad easier to eat, but it's also easier to digest.
Salad lovers...here are some of my favorite recipes using quinoa.
- Chickpea Quinoa Salad - Southwest Style!
- Vegan Quinoa Burgers
- Quinoa Vegetable Soup
- Vegan Quinoa Salad
- Greek Quinoa Bowl
- Quinoa Greek Salad with OMG Oil-Free Dressing
- Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Pepper Dressing
- Harvest Quinoa Salad with Smokey Maple Dijon Dressing
Quinoa and Kale Salad
Quinoa and Kale Salad
- ½ cup dried red quinoa cooked
- 1 bunch curly kale
- 1 bunch dinosaur kale purple kale
- 1 cup purple cabbage shredded
- 3 yellow beets
- 3 red beets
- 1 cup tri-colored tomatoes cut in half
- 1 cup English cucumber sliced and cut in quarters
- ½ cup red onion cut into thin slices
Oil-Free Shallot Dressing
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 shallot
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup toasted blanched almonds
Roasting the Beets
- First, wash beets with a vegetable brush.
- Then cut the leaves and cut both ends off the ends of the beets.
- Large beets, however, should be cut in half to reduce cooking time.
- Smaller beets are smaller and more tender.
- Wrap the beets inside a foil pack with herbs.
- Space the beets apart in the foil packet.
- Cook at 400 degrees, roast the beets for 50-60 minutes.
- Once cooled, skin the beets using gloves to avoid staining your hands.
- Use gloves or a paper towel.
- Once skinned, slice the beets.
Cooking the Quinoa
- Cook the quinoa according to the instructions
Quinoa and Kale Salad
- Cut the kale away from the stems and chop and place it in the base of the bowl.
- Place the cooked, cooled quinoa in the center of the bowl.
- Add the beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and purple cabbage.
Oil-Free Shallot Dressing
- Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender.
- Blend on high until smooth
- Then pour the dressing over the salad and toss with tongs until the salad is coated in dressing.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator, dressed for about an hour
- When you are ready to serve the salad, toss again, and serve in individual bowls.
- Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Toasted Almonds (optional)
- In a small skillet, on low heat, add ½ cup blanched almonds.
- The almonds cook quickly, so do not leave unattended.
- Stir every 30 seconds as the almonds brown
- Continue to stir in the pan until the almonds are golden brown.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Do not add to the salad until before serving as a garnish on top.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂