My favorite kale salad recipe. How have I not shared this sooner?! I “discovered” this salad years ago at a cafe (Coral Tree) near my old apartment in Brentwood. Since then I’ve managed to find similar versions at my favorite cafe in Scottsdale, Arizona, (La Grande Orange) and the famous Cheesecake Factory (everywhere you can imagine in the U.S.!). My personal rule is if I order the same dish three or more times I have to re-create it myself at home, just like I did with the spicy veggie wrap I was obsessed with. It’s not just the expense of eating out that motivates me, it’s the challenge. Not to mention after you make it once, you still have all the ingredients are still there so you can enjoy it many times without having to order it again or get more supplies.
There’s something about the quinoa in this salad that makes me love it so much. Maybe it’s the texture. Please don’t leave out this ingredient! I’ve had some mentions before from friends how much they despise making quinoa because it doesn’t turn out right (use my method here or in the recipe section below). I also really like the combination of crisp romaine and kale (have you made your own kale chips yet?!). It’s a nice balance. And did you know that romaine lettuce outranks kale in nutrient density?! Kale sure seems to win the popularity contest though. Then there’s the crunch of the nuts or seeds, the sweetness of the raisins or grapes, and the tartness of the lemon vinaigrette. Umami!!!
My favoritist (that’s a word right?) kale salad:
- 4-5 cups shredded or torn curly kale (you can use tuscan too)
- 3 stalks shredded or torn romaine lettuce
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup raisins OR halved red grapes
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds OR slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan OR romano cheese*
- 2 cups water or broth (to cook the quinoa)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Juice of 1 medium sized lemon
- 1 TB raw honey
- 2 TB dijon mustard
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan , bring two cups of water to a boil.
- Rinse 1 cup of quinoa throughly in a mesh strainer until the suds no longer appear.
- Add the quinoa to the saucepan and bring back to a boil.
- Cover and cook on low/medium heat for 15 minutes, remove from the heat with the lid still on. Let it sit for 5 more minutes before taking the lid off and fluffing with a fork or small wooden spoon. Allow to cool.
- In a mason jar or small mixing dish, whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette dressing.
- In a large mixing bowl add the kale and romaine lettuce, quinoa, raisins or grapes, and sunflower seeds or nuts.
- Pour the vinaigrette and stir to coat evenly.
- Add the parmesan or romano cheese* on top.
- Dig in!
- *if you are vegan, sprinkle on some nutritional yeast or use a vegan shredded cheese like Daiya.
- The salad will last nicely in a glass or tupperware container for a couple days.