Kale and Quinoa Salad

by Anne Bennett on June 23, 2016

Kale and quinoa

Thin slivers of kale, quinoa, dried cherries, almonds and feta. Trust me when I say: Yum!

I first posted this recipe in April of 2014, and I wrote: “The two trendiest foods of all time coming together in a salad? Geez Louise! That’s just…crazy.” Oh, how wrong I was. Today you can find both kale and quinoa at most major supermarkets. The trend has taken hold big time.

The recipe appeared on my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, and when I saw it I balked and chuckled to myself at Deb’s (the SK gal) brazen insistence that the marriage of kale ( I didn’t even know it was edible! ) and quinoa was the best-tasting lunch ever. As my dad used to say, if it’s good, I’ll eat my hat!

Two years hence and I can now state with confidence, you need to make this salad. Why? Because it’s really delicious (OMG, really delicious!). And it’s good for you (OMG again. It’s even healthy!). During the summer I make it every chance I get and serve it with a nice counterpart, Ina’s Greek Salad.

If you’re a Weight Watcher and you want to cut the SmartPoints value from 8 to 6, you can reduce the slivered almonds from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup and reduce the dried cherries from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup.  You can also add less feta, but please try the full amount of these before you start hacking away. This is what healthy eating should be. It’s not diet food — it’s fabulous, gotta-have-it real food!

Salad

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)Salad Bitmoji
1 bunch, or 8 ounces lacinato (dinosaur or Tuscan) kale
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted in a nonstick skillet and cooled*
1/3 cup dried tart cherries, chopped roughly*
2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tsp. chopped fresh dill
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese (Deb calls for ricotta salata but I prefer feta)
A few gratings of fresh lemon zest

*Another tip-of-the-hat to Trader Joe’s — they sell already dry-toasted slivered almonds in generous-sized bags. And they sell dried tart cherries too.

Dressing:

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. smooth Dijon mustard
1 tsp. coarse Dijon mustard
Just shy of 1 tsp. honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Spread on a plate to cool quickly.

Wash kale and dry well. With a knife, remove the center rib from each stalk, leaving long strips of kale leaves. Stack leaves in small batches, and cut crosswise into thin ribbons. Add kale to large salad bowl. Add remaining salad ingredients and toss to mix.

Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6 (as a side salad)
WW SmartPoints per serving: 8

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