Medically reviewed by Shahzadi Devje, Registered Dietitian (RD) & Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
A rainbow makes everything more joyful. Right?! This Kale and Quinoa Salad recipe calls for beautifully colourful ingredients to brighten your day. It's a stellar recipe — especially if you're on the hunt for salad ideas for lunch. Best for summer days, healthy meal prep for the week, or a nourishing side salad for cookouts and BBQs. Vegan and gluten-free.
This was inspired by my Kale and Chickpea Salad, and pairs well with this easy Lemon Pepper Salmon. You could also try it with this spicy Tandoori Chicken. And, if you're on the hunt for more healthy salad recipes, give this Za'atar 7-Layer Vegan Salad or this Chaat Salad With Corn a try.
At the risk of sounding annoyingly excited, truth be told, I just witnessed two teenagers and a seven-year-old's dull rumble at the thought of taste-testing this kale and quinoa salad turn into enthusiastic cheers - declaring how much they LOVE it! I wish I had recorded this moment.
Really, this is a kale salad that I think even folks who hate greens will love. It's one of my favourite ways to feel nourished - and is absolutely on-repeat. Alongside quinoa, the addition of mung beans is a smart choice, boosting the protein value (and satisfaction!) even further. The nutty taste of mung and quinoa is the perfect textural match for juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and softened kale. I'd like to add that the tangy, fresh and floral medley of lemon, fresh garden herbs, and sumac is invigorating.
Why Are Salads SO Great? 😍
This could take quite a while. So, with the least number of words, here goes...
Most of us still don't get veggies and fruits into our diet. So, here's why I'm inspiring you to enjoy more easy and healthy Desi~licious salads in your diet:
- Super convenient - Salads are a super-convenient way to get in a couple of servings of vegetables and/or fruit.
- Mouth appeal - Besides the freshness, the crunch, and the crispness, there are myriad textures, flavours and colours to enjoy and beat meal prep boredom.
- Versatile - Salads can be customized with ease to include a mix of ingredients. Salad recipes also offer an opportunity to try something new alongside familiar favourites.
- Nutritionally loaded - Leafy greens, beans, lentils, and chickpeas add a protein and fibre boost - with plant power. And that comes with a host of health benefits: from cholesterol control to blood sugar management in type 2 diabetes to gut health. And if this isn't enough already, eating more fruit and vegetables offers a multitude of benefits too. They're packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds, that have been shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancers, and lessen the risk of eye problems.
- Pack in more - Adding a couple of tablespoons of mixed nuts or seeds is a quick and easy step to boost your daily intake of good fats. Experimenting with various oils in salad dressings can also help, along with a slice of creamy avocado (my favourite!)
This week, I showed Canadians how to make quinoa on the stove on The Marilyn Denis Show. So many times, I hear about your struggles around creating fluffy and flavourful quinoa. I know it feels like it isn't an easy feat. But it really is. In addition to my Lime and Cilantro Quinoa demo, I also shared my top tips and tricks.
I love quinoa as a delicious healthy wholegrain. If anything, it deserves to be called a superfood. Not only does it pack 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre per 1-cup-cooked serving, but it's also one of the few plant foods considered to be a complete protein. In other words, it contains all the essential amino acids your body can't naturally produce.
What Goes In Kale Salad
Here's what you need to make this Quinoa and Kale Salad:
How To Make It
- Start by boiling the mung beans and quinoa. Once cooked, allow to cool and set aside (Images 1-2).
- While the beans and quinoa are cooking, wash and prep the salad ingredients and salad dressing (Images 3-5):
- Chop the cucumber into small "mouth-friendly" quarters;
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half lengthways;
- Remove the kale from stems and rip into small leaves;
- Chop the parsley and mint finely
- Combine the salad dressing ingredients and whisk to mix
- In a large salad bowl, add the cooled quinoa, kale, tomatoes, cucumber, herbs (Images 6-8).
- When you're ready to serve the kale salad, pour the dressing and toss to combine (Images 9-10).
I love using curly kale to create this quinoa salad. It's hearty and absolutely delicious! When removing the leaves, hold the top of the stem. Then with a firm hold, run your other hand downwards to remove the leaves. It always works like a charm!
Ensure that the quinoa and mung beans are completely cooled before combining them with the other salad ingredients; otherwise, the greens will wilt, and the salad will end up being soggy.
Use the freshest herbs and kale to create a crispy and flavour-packed salad.
Add the dressing about 5 minutes before serving and toss well. The oil and lemon will soak into the kale leaves, softening them. Besides making it tastier, it's also easier to digest.
Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Nutritional Highlights 💪🏼:
One serving* of this kale and quinoa salad is:
- An excellent source of fibre;
- An excellent source of iron
- An excellent source of vitamin C
- An excellent source of vitamin A
- An excellent source of calcium
- Net carbs: 35 g
- Protein: 13 g
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
What's your favourite summer salad? Let me know in the comments below!
If you try this quinoa salad recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Can't wait to see your photos.
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Kale and Quinoa Salad You'll Want To Eat | Easy And Healthy Recipes
- 1 cup quinoa washed
- 4⅓ cups water for cooking quinoa and mung beans
- 3 cups kale washed, leaves only, ripped into small leaves
- 1 cup mung beans
- 1 red onion small, thinly sliced
- ½ cucumber washed, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomato washed, cut in half lengthways
- 2 cups flat leaf parsley washed, finely chopped
- 1 cup mint leaves washed, finely chopped
Sumac Lemon Dressing
- ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1½ lemon Juice, from fresh lemons
- 3 clove garlic crushed
- 3 tsp sumac powder
- 1½ tsp salt sea salt
- Thoroughly wash the mung beans and drain any excess water
- In a medium saucepan, add the mung beans along with 3 cups of water. Bring to boil, cover and cook on medium heat for 20-25 mins. You want the beans to be cooked but not mushy. You could use a pressure cooker for this step. Drain the cooked beans and allow them to cool completely before adding to the other salad ingredients.
- Next, thoroughly wash the quinoa and drain any excess water
- In another medium saucepan, add the quinoa and 1⅓ cup of water. Bring to boil, cover and cook on medium heat for 8 minutes. Allow the quinoa to cool completely before adding to the other salad ingredients.
- In a large salad bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, kale, mung beans, onions, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley and mint.
Sumac Lemon Dressing
- Add the dressing ingredients to a small mixing jug or bowl. Whisk to combine.
- When ready to serve, pour the dressing on the salad and toss to mix well. Serve immediateley.
- I love using curly kale to create this quinoa salad. It's hearty and absolutely delicious! When removing the leaves, hold the top of the stem. Then with a firm hold, run your other hand downwards to remove the leaves. It always works like a charm!
- Ensure that the quinoa and mung beans are completely cooled before combining them with the other salad ingredients; otherwise, the greens will wilt, and the salad will end up being soggy.
- Use the freshest herbs and kale to create a crispy and flavour-packed salad.
- Add the dressing about 5 minutes before serving and toss well. The oil and lemon will soak into the kale leaves, softening them. Besides making it tastier, it's also easier to digest.
- Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Please note the nutritional analysis values are estimates and suggestions. This nutrition facts table does not know your life - your body, including your hunger and satiety cues, change daily. It's okay to eat more or less. Say no to food guilt and instead embrace mindful eating.
Shahzadi is an award-winning registered dietitian (RD) regulated by the College of Dietitians of Ontario and certified diabetes educator (CDE), approved by the Canadian Diabetes Educator Certification Board. A YouTuber and notorious foodie, she's dedicated to helping you end your cooking wars, transform your health, and be the best version of yourself! Shahzadi is an on-air nutrition expert for CTV Your Morning and a regular contributor for Global News and other national media outlets.