Howdy, friends! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, including mine (hi, ma!). Hope you have a fantastic day with your family!!
Now, let’s talk salad on this fine Sunday!
This is quite possibly the most scrumptious salad I’ve ever eaten, and I’m absolutely positive you’re going to love it just as much as we did. A few weeks ago, a co-worker brought in a delicious kale and quinoa salad to share, and I knew right then that I’d be making a version of my own. And boy, did I ever. Some people might think salads are drab, but this one is like a dance party in your mouth.
I knew in my head just what I wanted this salad to look and taste like, so all I had to do was make it a reality. Let me tell you, it turned out perfectly…maybe even more so than I expected. This baby is packed with so many goodies! For starters, kale and quinoa which are both powerhouse foods—kale is a nutrient-dense dark leafy green and quinoa is a protein-packed grain with a bit of a nutty flavor. Sounds like we’re already off to a good start here!
Then to that, you add roasted sweet potatoes, which are out of this world on their own, but are even better in salads (like this). Next up, white beans, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts. Then you top all that with lots of seeds—pumpkin, chia, and flax—plus feta cheese. Oh.my.word! An absolute spoonful of pure bliss.
I adore the sweet, caramelized flavor of the creamy sweet potato bites + the taste of the tart dried cranberries. The crunchy walnuts + the seeds that pop when you bite them. And let’s not forget the pungent bite of the creamy crumbled feta. Wowza! Flavor all over the place.
All this and I haven’t even shared with you what I think is the best part of this whole thing. The vinaigrette! Actually, it’s the salad combined with the vinaigrette that is just so pine. Yes, the whole nine yards. Downright ah-mazing in the best way possible.
The dressing has only 3 ingredients—roasted garlic, lemon, and oil—and is a cinch to throw together. You can easily roast the garlic along with the sweet potatoes. Then you blend together the garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice and then shake it up with extra virgin olive oil and some salt. That’s it!
The vinaigrette is lip-puckering lemony. Lots and lots of zingy lemon flavor! Hey, I used to eat lemons as a snack when I was a kid, so I love me some lemon flavor. If you’d like, you can reduce the amount of lemon juice, or add a bit more EVOO. But, I recommend going full-force here. There’s just something about the combination of flavors here—they all work so well together.
This salad will rock your world! Make it and share the love. :)
Powerhouse Kale & Quinoa Salad with Roasted Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette
Yields 4 entrée-sized servings
For the quinoa
- 1¼ cup uncooked quinoa
- 2½ cups water or vegetable stock
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
For the salad
- 8 oz. kale—destemmed and chopped (I used ½ of a 16 oz. bag)
- 3-4 sweet potatoes—diced small and roasted (see notes)
- 1½ cups cooked white beans or 1 (15 oz.) can
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- 1 (4 oz.) container crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp. chia seeds
- 2 tbsp. flax seeds
For the vinaigrette
- 6 cloves roasted garlic (see notes)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp. + a pinch salt
For the quinoa
Add the quinoa and water (or stock) to a medium-sized pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook about 22 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully transfer to a large bowl to cool. Add the lime juice and zest and gently toss.
For the salad
To the large bowl of cooled quinoa, add the chopped kale and mix together with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining salad ingredients and gently mix to combine.
For the vinaigrette
To a single-serve blender cup, add the roasted garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Process until mostly smooth. Transfer to a mason jar and add the oil and salt. Put the lid on the jar and shake until well combined. Taste and adjust salt, if needed.
You can dress the entire salad, if you know it’ll all be eaten right away. If not, then pide the salad into bowls and add the vinaigrette separately to each.
Roast the diced sweet potatoes and (unpeeled) garlic together. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and then spread them out evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Coat the unpeeled garlic cloves in EVOO and wrap them in a small sheet of foil. Place them on the baking sheet with the potatoes (just clear a small spot in the corner). Roast the potatoes and garlic for 30-35 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Check to see if the garlic is completely roasted (caramel-colored). If not, roast it for 5-10 more minutes.