Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Almonds, and Feta

William Blake dreamed of angels and devils if you believe his heated artwork…I had a dream about quinoa. :)

Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad

That was a text that my dad sent the other day. He continued…

I’ve been dissatisfied with rice and polenta and potatoes, etc. and have been reading about quinoa and then I dreamed about it. And that stuff really makes you feel good. (If you don’t rinse it, it’s bitter.) So between quinoa and kale I’ve been eating pretty healthy and feeling pretty good!

And then I started to dream of quinoa. And kale.

Quinoa is not a grain but a seed, a species of goosefoot (so appetizing :) ).  More comedy? It’s also closely related to tumbleweeds. But what makes it most unique is that, on it’s own, it’s a complete protein – a rarity among plants. It’s also delicious: nutty, grassy, buttery.

And see those little pink balls on the top of the salad? Those are pink peppercorns, a gift from my friend Barb. At first I was hesitant to crunch an entire peppercorn, but these are nothing like the ebony variety. They’re light, crunchy, and sweet with just a hint of spice. I recommend them as a topper for any salad or pasta.

Pink Peppercorns

Then there’s the kale; it’s raw, with a salt massage of course. Since I discovered that trick, I use raw kale often, tossing it into salads and pasta dishes.

The remaining ingredients in this salad are interchangeable. You might try goat cheese instead of feta, add a tomato, swap in pistachios for the almonds – infinite possibilities! And though I served this warm initially, we enjoyed the leftovers straight from the fridge for lunch the next day.

Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Almonds, and Feta
Serve this warm or cold - it's delicious either way!
  • 2 cups quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 bunch kale, sliced crosswise into thin ribbons
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of one lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado, peel and seed removed, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 2 ounces slivered almonds
  • pink peppercorns (optional)
  1. Heat quinoa and 4 cups water in a saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes more.
  2. Meanwhile, place kale ribbons into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of fine sea salt. Massage salt into kale by squeezing it in fistfuls and then rubbing it between your fingers, until it turns a darker shade of green and has a softer texture – just a minute or two.
  3. Fluff quinoa with a fork and add to kale in serving bowl; gently stir to combine. Pour olive oil and lemon juice over the top; gently toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Top salad with remaining ingredients and serve.
Makes 6-8 servings



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  1. Krista says

    Thanks Marissa! This one is right up my alley as I have made the switch from rice to quinoa. I always cook it in chicken broth instead of water – tastes much better. Now I have to go find pink peppercorns…

  2. says

    I’m still on the lookout for kale here, but can’t find it! I will eventually and by then won’t be able to find the recipe I want…jaja. This salad should be good with spinach or beet leaves too. Looks gorgeous Marissa! And I want to try pink peppercorns, since I heard they’re very different.

    • says

      Yes, especially with beet leaves. It would be great with chard too if you have that available. Let me now how you like the pink peppercorns – they have a fun little *pop*!

  3. Heather says

    This was delicious. Even my quinoa-and-kale hating husband liked it. Reminded me of tabbouleh with the lemony flavor. Thanks!

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