This Kale Quinoa Salad with Apple and Spiced Nuts is a perfect addition to any holiday-spread or family gathering you have this season. Hearty and healthy kale with protein-power quinoa, fresh apple slices, and crunchy, spiced almonds tossed with a creamy dressing make for a delicious and gluten-free fall salad.
This kale salad with quinoa is a perfect way to get into the fall mood🍂 and keep you going gluten-free strong.
The inspiration for this salad came from an event I attended in Toronto years ago where I got to cook with a chef, talk with a farmer, and learn from a dietitian researcher.
The event was sponsored by Canola Growers of Canada. It was awesome!
I added quinoa to the kale salad for the protein and healthy carbs.
To get a nice crunch, I added the nuts that are in my Spinach and Citrus Salad with Sweet and Spicy Almonds recipe. A couple more tweaks and this recipe was put over the TOP.
You must immediately drop everything and make it😉
And if you love delicious salads that make gluten-free eating a breeze, definitely check out this recipe for Lemony Brown Rice, Broccoli and Feta Salad, this Easy Butter Lettuce Salad with Pomegranates and Pistachios and this 🥗Simple Romaine Salad with Radish and Parmesan.
📝Ingredients for kale quinoa salad
Here's what you'll need to make this easy kale salad with quinoa:
- Kale - a large bunch
- Cooked quinoa
- Edamame - previously frozen and thawed
- Dried cranberries - unsweetened
- Apples, thinly sliced - tart ones like Granny Smith are great
For the dressing:
- Olive oil
- Dijon mustard
- Greek yogurt
- Lime or lemon for juice
And for the nuts:
- Almonds, whole and toasted
- Cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
- Make the dressing and massage on the washed and ripped up kale leaves. Let it sit on there for a few minutes.
- Make your quinoa (if you haven't already) and set aside to cool.
- Make the nuts while the quinoa is cooking - get the butter in a small pan over medium heat then add the sugar. Stir till it dissolves. Add the nuts and toast for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cayenne pepper and rosemary and stir everything for about 2 minutes and until you really smell everything. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and then take off the heat.
- Add the cooled down quinoa to the kale. Top this with the edamame, dried cranberries and apple slices. Toss everything together. Top with spiced nuts, warm. Serve the salad.
If you don't have the large kale, you can use the baby kale leaves. No kale to be found? Crisp romaine would be lovely as well or even spinach.
If you have a huge container of spinach to use up, make this Spinach and Citrus Salad with Sweet and Spicy Almonds too.
For the nuts, I love the almonds but walnuts would work fine as well.
Leftovers of this salad are good for about 2 days in the fridge.
Definitely pack up any leftovers and take them for your lunch the next day if you need.
Because the kale is so hardy, it won't go and wilt on you right away. Yes, the next day the nuts won't be as crunchy and hard.
Don't be freezing this salad🚫
To make this kale salad, you'll need a small pot or sauce pan with a lid for the quinoa, a small non-stick fry pan to toast the nuts and a big ol' bowl to toss everything together. A couple measuring spoons and measuring cups will be helpful too.
🍽️What to serve with this kale quinoa salad
This kale quinoa salad could paired with a protein for a balanced meal, without much fuss at all.
Try this salad with:
- 🐟Easy Baked Salmon with Mayo
- 😋Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Breast
- 🐖Cast Iron Skillet Boneless Pork Chops with Homemade Spice Rub
And what says "warm me up" more than a lovely bowl of soup with salad?
Try this salad with these delicious, gluten-free soups:
- ✅Easy Weeknight Hamburger Soup with Sweet Potatoes
- 🥣Chicken Tortilla Soup (no beans)
- 💛Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk
⏲️Make ahead tips
This kale salad comes together easily because as the quinoa is cooking, you can make the dressing to let it sit on the kale to soften things up. Plus, you can make the spiced nuts as the quinoa cooks.
You can even make the dressing, quinoa and the spiced nuts up to 1 day ahead of when you want to serve the salad.
Keep the dressing in an air-tight container (I use a small mason jar) in the fridge; keep the nuts in a small air-tight container on the counter and the cooked quinoa can be stored in the fridge. Let it cool down before you keep it covered in the fridge.
When you're ready to serve the salad, pour the dressing over the kale in a large bowl and massage it into the leaves. Top with the quinoa, edamame, cranberries, sliced apples and spiced nuts before serving.
I hope you love the kale quinoa salad like we do❣️
If you try it, please rate and comment below and let me know what you think!
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Post was originally published on December 10th, 2019. Recipe re-tested, edited and updated with new photos September 25th, 2022.
Kale Quinoa Salad with Apple and Spiced Nuts
- 1 large bunch kale about 8 cups, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- ⅓ cup quinoa, uncooked about 1 cup after cooking
- 1 cup edamame
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries unsweetened
- 2 apples, thinly sliced tart, such as Granny Smith
- ½ cup almonds chopped, walnuts are fine too
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ cup olive or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Greek Yogurt plain
- Make the quinoa. Cook according to package instructions.
- While the quinoa cooks, make the dressing. Combine oil, lime juice, dijon mustard and Greek yogurt in a small bowl and whisk together until combined.
- Place the torn kale in a large bowl. Pour dressing over top, massage into the leaves and let it sit for a few mins.
Make the spiced nuts
- Warm a small pan over medium heat. Add the butter and sugar and stir until the butter is melted. Add the walnuts and toss until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the rosemary and cayenne and continue to toss just a few seconds to release the aroma. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Once the nuts are done you can add to the salad on top if serving right away.
- Add the edamame, dried cranberries and sliced apples to the bowl of kale. Toss everything together. Top with warm nuts and serve.