This kale quinoa salad is so amazing! It is made with hearty kale and fluffy quinoa mixed with crunchy pepitas, cucumber, onion, feta cheese, and fresh herbs. All drizzled with an incredibly delicious lemon dressing that makes it so tasty and flavorful. It’s hearty enough to enjoy as a healthy side dish or main meal.
The BEST kale and quinoa salad!
My family is obsessed with this kale salad! Every time I make it, they always ask for the recipe. So now I am sharing it with all of you! It is such a crowd-pleaser and I know you are going to LOVE IT!
One of the best things about this kale and quinoa salad is that it contains 2 filling superfoods – kale and quinoa, PLUS chickpeas. All plant-based ingredients are loaded with protein and fiber and go so well together. Not to mention the irresistible kale salad dressing that tops it all off!
Which makes this salad a tasty, hearty meal all on its own. It is just so fresh and bright with a nice herby-tangy flavor that is hard to resist.
The magic secret to delicious kale
Ever wonder what makes kale salads in restaurants so good? The secret is the way they prepare the kale before they even assemble the salad. It’s pretty simple and easy to do, even at home.
Just wash, dry and chop the kale and add it to a large bowl. Drizzle it with olive oil (just a little bit), you can also use a squeeze of lemon or vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white vinegar) combined with a pinch of salt. Then use your hands to crunch and massage the kale for 1-2 minutes to break it down and tenderize it. This allows it to get nice and soft. Then let it sit for about 10 minutes before you assemble the salad.
Expert tip: wait to massage the kale right before you are going to make the salad for the best results.
Ingredients You Will Need
Even massaged kale can have a strong flavor that may become slightly bitter when eaten on its own. That’s why you want to combine it with other ingredients that are flavorful and have a texture for a fun and satisfying salad everyone will crave! Here is what is in this amazing salad!
- Kale – I used dark leafy kale (aka Lacinato kale, Dinosaur kale, or Tuscan kale) but curly kale also works.
- Quinoa – golden quinoa or tri-color quinoa will work, just make sure to cook it and let it cool before adding it to the salad. I like to do this a day or so in advance.
- Chickpeas – Canned chickpeas that have been drained and rinsed work best in this recipe but if you have your own homemade, cooked chickpeas then those will also work.
- Cucumber – seedless English cucumber is the best for salads since it contains fewer seeds and dices up nicely but any type of cucumber will work!
- Red onion – diced nice and small. You can also use scallions or shallots.
- Pepitas – for a nice fun crunchy element to this salad. You can also use chopped pecans or almonds.
- Golden raisins – for a little hint of sweetness. You can also use dried cranberries or black raisins.
- Fresh herbs – the fresh dill and parsley add so much flavor to this salad. You can also use chopped basil or cilantro.
- Feta cheese – for a tasty, salty flavor that brings this salad to a whole new level. Crumbled goat cheese will also work.
- Kale salad dressing – the best dressing for any kale salad!
How to make a kale salad with quinoa
You can make this incredible salad in minutes and enjoy it for days! Here is how to make it!
- Prepare the kale. Rinse the kale then dry it and chop it. Drizzle it with oil and add a pinch of salt then use your hands to massage it really well. Then let it rest for a few minutes.
- Assemble the salad. Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl with the kale.
- Make the dressing. Mix up the dressing and pour it over the salad and toss.
- Serve. You can serve this salad all on its own as a main meal or as a healthy side dish.
Recipe tips for making the best kale salads
- Wash and chop the kale in advance so you have it ready to go! You can store kale easily for days prepped and ready to use.
- Massage the kale before you combine it with the rest of the ingredients. This is so important for that nice soft, dark green kale that we all love to enjoy! It also makes it easier to digest.
- Slice the kale into ribbons. You can do this by laying a few large leaves of kale on top of one another, then rolling them up like a cigar, and slicing them thinly using a sharp kitchen knife.
- Combine the kale with complimentary ingredients like nuts, onion, lemon, and cheeses like parmesan goat cheese or feta cheese.
We also love to serve this salad with meatless sides like these crispy smashed potatoes, and air fryer fries since eating a salad with fries is totally acceptable and a fun meal even the kids will love!
Make Ahead and Storing Tips
You can make this kale salad for your meal prep and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can take it on the go for a quick go-to lunch or serve it as a side with dinner!
If you are making it in advance, the very best way to store it is to store the salad ingredients and dressing separately then assemble and dress it when you are ready to serve it.
More kale salad recipes!
Other Kale Recipes!
- Kale and Squash Quinoa Patties
- Sausage and Kale Soup
- Kale Sweet Potaot Frittata
- Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl
Did you make this kale quinoa salad recipe? If you did, then please leave a rating and comment below. You can also tag me on Instagram @pinchmegoodfood so I can see your creation.Print