This seasonal salad will become a favorite among your guests. I’ll be honest. I was not a huge fan of kale initially. We didn’t eat it when I was growing up and I honestly saw it as a garnish on the salad bar. Who is with me here?
Kale is definitely worth your thyme! It comes from the mighty cruciferous (AKA cabbage) vegetable family and is chock full of phytochemicals that help reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, kale is great for bone health as it’s a source of vitamin K as well as calcium. Finally, kale is beneficial for your blood pressure as it’s a good source of potassium to boot.
To improve the texture of kale, place it in a Ziplock bag after cleaning and chopping. Massage the kale for 3 to 5 minutes until it starts to turn a bit shiny. This helps wilt and sweeten the rough green. Honey crisp apples pair nicely with any winter greens but Granny Smith or other crisp apples will do.
Quinoa is technically a “seed” but health experts put it in the grain group. It’s considered a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids your body can’t produce. I like it because it’s versatile, cooks quickly and is a good source of fiber and protein. It’s also gluten-free for those that follow a gluten-free diet. I often find it at Aldi and it’s less expensive than other grocers.
I like to use walnuts in this salad, but pecans, slivered almonds or other nuts could be used, too. For cooking demos, I typically use sunflower or pumpkin seeds given the risk of nut allergy. Feta cheese or blue cheese are optional but add a savory taste to the salad. Leave them out to make the salad vegan.
6 cups fresh kale, chopped, rinsed and massaged
1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1 Honey Crisp or Granny Smith apple
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup feta cheese
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (juice of 1/2 an orange)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. ginger paste or freshly grated ginger
- Place quinoa and 1 cup of water in a medium pan. Boil the quinoa for 1 minute stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook quinoa for another 12 to 13 minutes until all the water is soaked up. Allow the quinoa to cool.
- Wash and rip the kale. Place in a zip lock bag and massage kale until it’s shiny. Place kale in a large salad bowl.
- Slice the apples into chunks and add to the kale.
- Fluff up the cooked quinoa with a fork once it’s cooled.
- Add chopped walnuts, cooked quinoa and feta cheese to the kale and apples.
- Whisk together orange juice, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, and ginger paste.
- Dress salad prior to serving.
Makes 6 servings. Nutrition facts per serving: 212 calories, 16 grams fat (2.5 grams saturated fat), 9 mg cholesterol, 13.7 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 4.3 grams protein, 127 mg sodium.