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When you want to eat something satisfying and delicious, look no further than Kale and Quinoa Salad. With buttery avocado, creamy feta cheese and crunchy almonds, every bite is a little different. So easy to make and assemble, you’ll only need to cook the quinoa until light and fluffy then add it while it’s warm to thin kale ribbons that you’ve given a salt massage. Top with remaining ingredients and you’re ready to eat.

I got this text from my dad the other day. “William Blake dreamed of angels and devils if you believe his heated artwork…I had a dream about quinoa. 🙂 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 this salad.

What is Quinoa?

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 naturally gluten free. It’s endlessly amenable to other ingredients making it a perfect base ingredient or addition to salads, warm or cold.

Then there’s the chopped kale; it’s raw, with a salt massage of course. Since I discovered that trick with this warm kale salad, I use raw kale often, tossing it into salads and pasta dishes.  I used Lacinato kale (also called Tuscan kale), but curly kale would also work well.

The remaining ingredients in this kale salad are interchangeable. You might try goat cheese instead of feta or skip the cheese to make it vegan, add a tomato, swap in pistachios for the almonds – infinite possibilities! Instead of a vinaigrette, it’s dressed simply with fresh lemon juice and a generous drizzle of good olive oil.

Though I served this with warm cooked quinoa initially, we enjoyed the leftovers straight from the fridge for lunch the next day, great for meal prep. It’s hearty enough to be a meal on its own, but also makes a great side dish. One of those versatile salad recipes that you’ll find yourself turning to often.

More Main Course Salads to Try

How to Make Kale and Quinoa Salad

Step 1: Carefully rinse dry quinoa then simmer covered until tender and curlicues appear.

Rinsing Quinoa
fluffing cooked quinoa

Step 2: Slice kale into thin ribbons and massage with salt until tender and dark green.

massaging kale with salt

Step 3: Toss warm quinoa with kale, lemon juice and olive oil. Then top with almonds, feta, avocado and red pepper flakes and serve!

tossing quinoa and kale with olive oil and lemon juice
topping kale and quinoa salad with feta almonds and avocado

Recipe Video

Kale and Quinoa Salad

5 from 9 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Calories: 396
Servings: 6 people
Serve this warm or cold – it’s delicious either way!

Ingredients  

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 bunch Italian kale sliced crosswise into thin ribbons
  • large pinch fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional

Instructions 

  • Heat rinsed quinoa and 3 cups water in a saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes more.
  • Meanwhile, place kale ribbons into a large 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.
  • Fluff quinoa with a fork and add to kale in serving bowl; gently stir to combine. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the top; gently toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Top salad with remaining ingredients and serve. (see recipe note)

Notes

This salad is great warm or cold. To serve it cold, refrigerate kale and quinoa after you’ve tossed it with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Top with remaining ingredients when you’re ready to serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 714mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 4635IU | Vitamin C: 66.9mg | Calcium: 168mg | Iron: 3.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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35 Comments

  1. Melissa H says:

    Thinking about adding some cooked large shrimp to make this a complete dinner. This recipe has my mouth watering!!! Heading to the grocery store.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Sounds amazing, Melissa! I hope you’ll love it.

  2. Valentina says:

    5 stars
    I’m always in for healthy and delicious recipes like this one. I love that every bite is different. So fun! 🙂 ~Valentina

  3. Kevin says:

    5 stars
    Kale and quinoa is the perfect match for a delicious salad, perfect crunch addition too!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thank you, Kevin!