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Fact #1: Kale is really healthy.
Fact #2: Raw kale can be really tough and hard to chew.
Fact #3: Salting and massaging raw kale (the method in this recipe) tenderizes and softens raw kale to make it more enjoyable to eat.
Don’t settle for tough raw kale. This healthy kale and quinoa salad uses a tenderizing method so the kale is easier to chew. You’ll be doing this to all of your kale salads after making this recipe.
I like this salad as a healthy vegan side dish or full meal. With quinoa and healthy fats like avocado and sunflower seeds, it is a filling lunch or dinner. Plus, it only takes about 35 minutes to make!
Health Benefits of Kale
This salad is jam packed with healthy ingredients. Healthy seeds, nutritious quinoa, and a clean vinaigrette will keep you feeling your best.
Kale is a popular “superfood” for its dense nutritional value. According to the Mayo Clinic, kale is packed with vitamins A, K, B6 and C, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. Studies have even shown that it may decrease some forms of cancer.
How Long Will this Kale and Quinoa Salad Keep?
It will keep for 3-4 days covered in the refrigerator.
This salad is a great meal prep dish that you can eat for lunch or dinner throughout the week. It is also great warm or cold. The kale is hearty enough that it can be dressed ahead of time.
So, seriously consider scaling up the recipe to meet your household size and intended number of meals.
How to Store This Salad
This salad should be stored, covered in the refrigerator. I love these OXO glass containers for storing completed dishes like this one. You can store, cover, and serve all in one container.
They’re perfect for meal prepped lunches like this one.
What Type of Kale Should I Use?
You will most likely find several types of kale at your grocery store or farmer’s market. You can use any of them, but the thinner type with non-curly leaves works best.
It goes by several names: Lacinato, Tuscan, Dinosaur.
This kale is more tender and easier to eat compared to curly kale (the other kale you see everywhere).
If you can only find curly kale or have some on hand, then use that! This salad isn’t picky.
Variations to This Salad
Experimenting is one of the most fun parts of cooking! There are an infinite number of possibilities with this salad. Here are a few ideas:
Use a different dressing – Use one of these 10 healthy homemade dressings to switch things up.
Substitute a different hearty green – Cabbage, endive, radicchio, spinach, or escarole would all work great as replacements for kale. Just make sure you pick a hearty green so it combines well with the quinoa.
Add dried fruit – Add dried raisins, cranberries, apricots, or dates for a blast of sweetness.
Top with cheese – Adding cheese to a salad is never a bad idea. Parmesan, goat, or feta would taste great.
Want More Salad Recipes? Check These Out.
Sometimes, you just need a healthy salad. A light dish that resets your appetite.
Check these simple salad recipes:
Kale and Quinoa Salad with Avocado
- 1 cup white, red, or mixed quinoa
- 1 bunch Tuscan, Lacinato, or Dinosaur kale, leaves and stems separated, stems reserved
- 1 pound carrots, sliced in half lengthwise then cut in to 1” piece
- 1 avocado
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup roasted or toasted sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup basic apple cider vinaigrette
- Kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Toss carrots with olive and salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing once halfway through cooking.
- Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Season with a few pinches of salt and add the quinoa. Bring back to a bowl and cover. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, drain any remaining water, and let sit covered for 5 minutes.
- While carrots and quinoa are cooking, chop up kale leaves. Place leaves in a large bowl. Toss with 1 tsp. salt and massage kale for 1 minute. Let sit while the rest of the ingredients finish cooking to soften.
- Add carrots, quinoa, and apple cider vinaigrette to the bowl with kale and toss. Add sunflower seeds. Slice and avocado into 1” pieces and add to the bowl.
Ready to Make This Kale and Quinoa Salad?
This salad is perfect for meal prep during the week. Scale up the recipe and place in a resealable container like one of these. Then store in the refrigerator for easy meals all week.
No more soggy and sad lunches at work. You’ll feel refreshed and energized after eating your healthy lunch.
If you’re ready to make, you’ll need to get your hands on fresh kale and carrots. To skip the grocery store and get your produce delivered right to your doorstep, check out this post on the 8 best places to order vegetables online.