Kale and Quinoa Salad with Plumped Cranberries
This recipe seems like a lot of work but once you get into it, it's super easy! And it really is SO GOOD. With most salads the idea is you serve them as a side, but this one is so hearty that I frequently have it as a standalone dinner (and plus, it's so yummy, why would I want to share the room in my tummy with other food?) Here's what you need:
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- Several twists of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium bunch curly kale (about 8 ounces), tough ribs removed and leaves chopped into bite-size pieces
- Fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (about 2 ounces)
In a small saucepan, combine the rinsed quiona and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until all of the water is absorbed, 11 to 14 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the dried cranberries (so they can get nice and plump), and cover the pot. Let the quinoa and cranberries steam with the lid on for 10 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside.
Meanwhile, to make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper and whisk until blended.
To assemble the salad: Place the chopped kale in a big salad bowl. Sprinkle a small pinch of salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands by scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color and fragrant, and reduced in volume by about one-third.
In a small skillet, combine the almonds and olive oil and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the almonds are fragrant and golden on the edges, 5to 8 minutes. (Be careful, it's easy to burn those delicate almonds!) Pour the almonds into the salad bowl.
While the quinoa mixture is warm, add it to the salad bowl. Drizzle in all of the dressing and toss to coat. Wait until the salad has cooled to nearly room temperature before gently tossing in the crumbled goat cheese so it doesn't melt. Serve immediately. This salad keeps well, chilled, for up to 4 days.
Source: Cookie and Kate's Love Real Food
Another nice part about this salad is the individual bits can be broken up and integrated into other meals/recipes. E.g. if you make double the quinoa/cranberry component, it makes for a great toddler snack (albeit a little messy). Or just combine the dressing with any kind of greens and you have a delicious simple salad.