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Kale and Quinoa Salad with Crunchy Flavorful Veggies

Mind your Ks and Qs–two nutritional powerhouse ingredients! This Kale and Quinoa Salad showcases them both.

Kale and Quinoa Salad

Kale and Quinoa Salad

Please treat this recipe as a template to easily create your own unique salad with different grains and vegetables.

This particular combination of kale and quinoa takes advantage of our CSA farm share goodies by incorporating as many veggies as possible in one bowl of salad.


For example, start with about 2 cups of any cooked grain. Stir in your personal mix of crunchy and leafy vegetables. Add a flavorful allium, like garlic scapes, green onions, or chopped chives. Dress with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing. Wah-lah!

For crunch and protein, toss in toasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or glamorous pine nuts.

Today’s salad features tri-color quinoa, the Q, and kale, the K. The K is wilted for brighter emerald color and to help the kale absorb the oil and vinegar dressing. You could also massage your kale, like in this Outstanding Kale Salad with Sunflower Seed Pesto and Apricots. Same, same, but different.

Mind your Ks and Qs with kale and quinoa salad, and have fun coming up with your own variations of greens and grains.

Make  it a wonderful week–get in the kitchen and cook some healthy greens!

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5 from 1 vote
Kale and Quinoa Salad
Kale and Quinoa Salad
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins

The veggies in this healthy salad are what I had on hand. The salad can varied in myriad ways using vegetables and grains of your choice. Makes 8 to 10 servings, depending on what you put in your salad. A wonderful and welcome potluck salad.

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 8 servings.
  • 1 cup tri-color or regular quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar , or freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • Large pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 bunch curly kale , washed
  • Garlic scapes , optional
  • Green shallots , optional
  • 1 cup chopped pea shoots , optional
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
  • Radishes or jicama or water chestnuts, cut in ½-inch dice
  1. Rinse the quinoa well with hot water to remove the bitter saponin coating. Strain in a wire strainer. (Update: I learned recently that the quinoa readily available in packages or bulk bins has already been rinsed to remove the saponin. I rinse anyway, for good luck.

  2. In a saucepan, bring the water and ½ teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed. (As for rice, do not stir, but check every so often by tilting the pan to the side to see if there is any water left to absorb.)
  3. When the quinoa is tender and the water is gone, let stand, covered, and allow to cool.
  4. Make a dressing with the olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, remaining salt and cayenne. Set aside.
  5. Strip and discard the stems from the kale—them chop into ¼-inch by 1-inch strips. (If you wish, microwave for about 30 seconds to wilt the leaves.)
  6. Toss the garlic scapes, if using, with olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook them on a grill and chop them, or chop them and sauté in a pan until tender.
  7. Chop the green shallots, if using, and sauté with a bit of oil as well. Put these in a large bowl.
  8. Add the kale to the bowl, along with the optional pea shoots, cilantro and radishes. (If your refrigerator offers other interesting vegetables, add them as well.)
  9. Dump the cooled quinoa on top of the veggies and pour the vinaigrette over. Toss everything well. Season to taste with more salt and cayenne.
  10. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. If you are adding nuts or seeds, toss them into the salad just before serving.

Recipe Notes
  • Vary this salad according to what you have on hand. Start with 2 cups of any cooked grain. Add your personal mix of crunchy and leafy vegetables, including a flavorful allium, like garlic scapes, green onions, or chopped chives. Dress with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing.
  • To wilt your kale, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. If you don't want to use a microwave, blanch the kale in boiling water, then shock it in ice water to keep the bright green color.


  • Teri

    The pictures in your blog make such a cheerful difference, Letty. Of course, I appreciate being mentioned now and then, too. I’m glad you added protein and didn’t go the Asian dark sesame oil route (as in the emerald kale salad at Whole Foods) because now I have a completely new-tasting salad recipe to prepare ultra-nutritious kale. Reply · 6 July, 2012

  • annie

    I just made the kale and quinoa salad. It is wonderful and is going to be a staple from now on in my house! I’ve been eating my garden kale in regular salads along with everything else in the garden and this is a nice change of pace! Reply · 12 July, 2012

  • kathleen

    Bringing this dish to our garden club Harvest Dinner meeting tomorrow. My kale is going gangbusters in the garden with all the rain, and now cool weather.
    Thanks for the recipe:-) Reply · 1 September, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks back to you. I love this recipe. I just went in and updated it so you can print the recipe–check it out. Reply · 1 September, 2014

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