If you have been around for a while, you know that my favorite weekday lunch is a green quinoa salad, which explains why I have so many quinoa salad recipes on this blog. I know you are a fan as well because my Southwestern Quinoa Salad, Quinoa Avocado Feta Salad, Thai-Style Quinoa Salad, Quinoa Bean Salad, and Chickpea Quinoa Mediterranean Salad are amongst the most popular spring recipes on my blog.
Today, I am adding one more recipe to the collection with this Kale Quinoa Salad. It is packed with everyday veggies and easy to make. I tossed it with my go-to quinoa salad vinaigrette, Lemon Salad Dressing, as it is quick and easy to put together and, honestly, works pretty much with every salad recipe.
Why Should You Make This Recipe
If you are trying to add more greens to your diet without sacrificing flavor while still feeling full, this kale and quinoa salad is the perfect salad recipe for you. I also like it because:
- It comes together in less than 20 minutes from start to finish.
- It is made up of healthy ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. If you are missing a few ingredients, no need to worry because below, I will provide you with substitution/variation ideas.
- It stays fresh for up to 3 days, which means you can make a batch (or include it in your weekly meal prep) and enjoy it for a few days.
The ingredient profile for this quinoa kale recipe is threefold:
If you have been following me for a while, you know that I have a vast collection of quinoa recipes on this website. I usually cook a batch of quinoa over the weekend and add it to salads and soups throughout the week.
Lately, I have been cooking my quinoa in a microwave, which is the quickest way of cooking it. However, I have also shared detailed instructions for cooking quinoa in a rice cooker, on the stovetop, and in a pressure cooker if you need a refresher on cooking quinoa.
This 5-minute homemade lemon vinaigrette is my go-to quinoa salad dressing. To make it, you will need olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Kale: I used curly kale as it is the easiest to find among all the different types of kale. However, dinosaur kale is another great option. Rinse kale and remove the kale leaves from the ribs and slice thinly (if you need a refresher, here is my guide to how to cut kale.)
- Broccoli: Cut broccoli into small bite-size chunks.
- Chickpeas: Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas under running water.
- A ripe avocado: Slice into bite-size cubes.
- Sliced Almonds: I went with almonds, but any nut or seeds (like sunflower seeds) would work here.
- Pomegranate arils: I chose pomegranate, but other dried or fresh fruit such as sliced apples or dried cranberries would also work.
- Crumbled Feta: Cheese is optional in this recipe. Other cheese options like goat cheese or shredded mozzarella would also work. If you are following a vegan diet, simply omit the cheese.
How To Make It?
When I said this kale chickpea quinoa salad recipe was simple, I wasn’t kidding. Here are the steps:
- Make the Salad Dressing: Place all the lemon vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and give it a whisk. Set aside.
- Massage Kale: Pour half of the dressing into a large mixing bowl and add chopped kale. Then, using tongs or your own hands, massage the dressing into the leaves for 1-2 minutes.
Pro Tip: I know that massaging the kale leaves sounds like an extra step here, but I promise it is worth it. Doing so helps ensure that all of the leaves are coated with the dressing and tenderizes the kale to make it easy to chew and digest. And if you have some extra massaged kale, be sure to try my Tropical Smoothie Kale Apple Slaw recipe.
- Add Remaining Ingredients: Then, add the cooked quinoa, chickpeas, avocado, and pomegranate arils. Drizzle it with the rest of the ingredients and give it a gentle toss using tongs.
- Garnish and Serve: Top it off with almonds and feta cheese. Toss, serve, and enjoy!
- Warm Kale Quinoa Salad: If you want to turn this into a warm salad (especially if you are enjoying it in the colder winter months), you can saute kale lightly with olive oil for a few minutes and use freshly cooked (still warm) quinoa.
- Kale Apple Quinoa Salad: Just swap the pomegranate arils in my recipe with cubed or sliced sweet apples, like Honeycrisp or Granny smith. This would be the perfect autumn kale salad!
- Quinoa Kale Cranberry Recipe: Swap the pomegranate seeds for dried cranberries. This version would be perfect for the holidays!
- Kale Quinoa Salad with Avocado Dressing: If you’re looking for a creamier salad dressing, swap my lemon vinaigrette for my avocado dressing. Kale salad with avocado lemon dressing is just as vibrant, tasty, and filling.
- Baby Kale and Quinoa Salad: If you’re not a fan of curly kale or lacinato kale (aka Tuscan kale), you could swap it for baby kale in this quinoa kale salad. This variety does tend to be a bit bitter because it’s not fully matured, but the rest of the ingredients will help you mask the bitterness and will still deliver a great salad in the end.
- Warm Kale Salad: Not a fan of raw kale? I get it, raw kale salads are not everyone’s favorite, but the solution is simple. Simply blanch kale and use it while it is still warm.
How To Store?
Thanks to kale’s sturdy leaves, this kale quinoa avocado salad stays fresh for up to 3 days, which also makes it great for meal prepping. Just assemble the salad as instructed in the recipe, store it in your fridge in an airtight container, and enjoy it whenever you want.
More Salads You Might Like:
Below I am sharing a few other quinoa and raw kale salads you might also like:
Yes, both kale and quinoa are considered among the healthiest foods on the planet. Quinoa is packed with plant protein, and kale is considered a nutrition superstar as it is packed with potassium, copper and great amounts of vitamins A, C, B6, and K.
You have two options: You can either massage it with oil and salt, or you can blanch it for a short amount of time.
Most quinoa salads can be served both ways. I like to serve it at room temperature on the day that I make it, but then I store the leftovers in the fridge and serve them cold the next day.
If you try this Quinoa Kale Salad recipe or any other healthy salad recipes we have on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It is a great help to others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Kale Quinoa Salad Recipe
For the Salad Dressing:
- ½ cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 small cloves of garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
For The Salad:
- 6 cups kale leaves * cut into thin strips
- 2 cups cooked quinoa *
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (15 oz.)
- 1 head of broccoli chopped into small pieces
- 1 avocado cut into cubes
- 1 cup pomegranate arils or dried cranberries
- 1 cup sliced almond lightly toasted
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese optional
- To make the salad dressing: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and give it a whisk.
- To make the salad: Place kale leaves in a large salad bowl. Drizzle half of the dressing over it. Using tongs (or clean hands) incorporate/massage the dressing into leaves for 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the quinoa, chickpeas, broccoli, avocado, and pomegranate arils. Drizzle it with the rest of the dressing and give it a gentle toss using tongs.
- Top it off with sliced almonds and feta cheese (if using). Toss and serve.
- * I used white quinoa, but any color would work (including tri-color quinoa). I am a fan of cooking my quinoa in a microwave, which is the quickest way of cooking it. However, I have also shared detailed instructions for cooking quinoa in a rice cooker, on the stovetop, and in a pressure cooker if you need a refresher on cooking quinoa.
- The type of kale I used is curly kale as it is widely available. However, you can use other types of kale, such as Lacinato Kale or Baby Kale, in this recipe.
- Not a fan of raw kale in salads? Try blanching kale instead.
- Make Ahead: If you want to make this salad in advance, I recommend washing and storing kale a day in advance. You can also make the dressing and keep it in a mason jar. Then you can assemble the salad right before serving it.
- To store leftovers: Place them in an airtight container. It will wilt as it sits, but thanks to the sturdy leaves of kale, it should be good for up to 3 days.
I never usually leave comments, but this salad is too good not to say anything. Everything pairs together so nicely! I’ve been trying to eat more plant based food and getting overwhelmed with what to make, and I just wanted to thank you for showing how easy and delicious it can be! I will definitely be checking out more of your recipes.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it.
I truly appreciate you taking the time to leave a review.
Hope you try my other quinoa salad recipes on the blog.
Fantastic salad! I’m not a huge fan of kale, but had some in my weekly produce box & found your recipe on Pinterest. Massaging it!? Game changer!!! Thank you so much for a great recipe! Highly recommend.
YAY! SO happy to hear that you liked it Miss Violet. Thanks for coming by.
Just made this salad with a few adjustments. I added walnuts instead of almonds and used chopped cauliflower instead of broccoli. You are right, massaging the kale is a must. This was my first time doing so but I am never going back.
Thanks for the recipe.
I think those substitutions are great. Thanks so much for sharing your experiments Traci.
I have never messaged kale before but now I am hooked. This kale salad is SO good. Even my husband, who is not a salad person, ate it. The good thing was that I had all the ingredients in my pantry so I was able to make it right away.
I am going to try your other quinoa salads next.
Thank you Ice.
This is music to my ears Emily.
I plan on sharing more of them.
Thanks for coming by and taking the time to leave a review. Cheers,