Two food posts in a row! I'm on a roll! Ha. So today I'm showing and telling you about a recipe that has been THE most popular recipe in my house for quite some time now. I make variations of this salad almost every Sunday to eat for lunch or dinner the following week, so it's about time I tell you about it! I always layer this salad in a bowl and this particular quinoa salad is by far my favorite "bowl" - especially for lunch since it's so portable. I usually start my bowls with quinoa, but sometimes I use brown rice. Neither of those have much flavor, so I like to layer it with massaged kale. Raw kale is really bitter, but when you massage it with a good vinaigrette, all of the bitterness goes away and you are left with a super flavorful tender green and a great dressing for the salad. I promise it's easy to make, too! I top the quinoa and kale with cinnamon-seasoned roasted sweet potatoes (my favorite), roasted butternut squash, and/or black beans. Then I top off the salad with raw walnuts, feta cheese, dried cranberries, and avocado. I know that's a lot, but it all goes so well together. It's just one big bowl of amazing flavor - and protein, fiber, and vitamins I might add - that leaves you feeling totally full and satisfied. Can't beat that... :)
Here is what you need and what to do:
Quinoa (see recipe below)
Massaged kale (see recipe below)
Roasted sweet potatoes (see recipe below)
Walnuts or your favorite nut
Quinoa (makes about 4 cups) - This is the BEST way to make it (via Goop)!
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cup water
Pinch of sea salt (I use Malden salt)
1. Add the quinoa to a fine mesh strainer and rinse it for about a minute. Add the quinoa, water, and salt to a medium pot that is set over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 12-13 minutes, or until the water has completely evaporated.
2. Turn off the heat. Remove the lid to the pot and place a dry paper towel over the pot. Cover (i.e. place the lid over the paper towel) and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then fluff the quinoa lightly with a fork. The paper towel method makes the texture of the quinoa really tender and moist. Don't skip that part!
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3-4 cups kale, finely chopped (both lacinato and curly kale work here)
1. Add the chopped kale to a large bowl and set aside. Add the olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients until they are completely combined.
2. Pour a little over half of the dressing over the kale and massage the kale until it has wilted. To massage the kale, simply grab a handful of the kale in one hand and squeeze and move it around in your hand. Keep doing this until all of the kale has wilted. Use the remaining dressing for the salad if desired.
3. Place the bowl of kale in the refrigerator and let it marinate for about 15 minutes or so.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of nutmeg
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add all of the ingredients to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or to a 10in cast iron skillet (my preferred method). I love the crust that the iron skillet creates on the sweet potatoes! Toss the sweet potatoes around to make sure everything is evenly coated.
2. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. If you use a sheet pan, toss them around after about 15 minutes for even cooking. If using a cast iron skillet, I toss them around a few times to make sure they don't cook too fast on one side.
Images by me