Quinoa and kale have really come into their own. Being the amateur foodie I am, I set off to find a way to incorporate the subtle flavor profiles and nuances of each ingredient into one delicious, cohesive dish.
Actually I’m lying to you. I developed this recipe on a time crunch with 2 hours to spare before a potluck. I had quinoa, kale, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes and onions. It was like an episode of Chopped. I was psyched. And the results? Good enough to share with you, and approved by ProMedica Wellness Dietitian Kinsy McNamee.
This is the kind of salad you can make a large batch of and keep in your fridge for a few days, so it’s great for lunch and dinner side dishes. I love it because of all the great Mediterranean flavors it pulls together, not to mention how easy it is.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup of dry quinoa
1 cup feta cheese
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped kale
¼ cup fresh basil or 1/8 cup dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper
I tend to be loosey goosey with my measuring, so approximation is fine. If you like more of one ingredient, just add it until it tastes right. There are no mistakes here.
Add both the dry quinoa and the water together and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to medium heat. You’ll know when it’s done because the water will have cooked away and the grains have become fluffy.
Just chill! This is perhaps the most important part of the whole recipe: Let the quinoa cool completely before adding the other ingredients. Otherwise the hot quinoa will melt the cheese and make your veggies wilty. You want a nice, cool, crisp texture to this salad when it’s all done. It’s meant to be served cold.
While you’re waiting for your quinoa to cool, chop half of your onion. I like the flavor red onion brings to this, but it’s also great with a plain old white or sweet onion. Chop your kale coarsely and dice your tomato. Add fresh chopped basil, but dried is also fine. You’ll want less if you’re using dried.
Dump everything in your bowl. One cup of dried quinoa makes three cups of cooked quinoa, so make sure your bowl is big enough to accommodate all of that plus your add-ins. Add the feta, oil, vinegar and black pepper and mix it all together.
Spoon the mixture in a bowl with a strategically placed basil leaf garnish and take an impressive Instagram photo. You made that!
Katie Warchol is a senior social media specialist at ProMedica. She earned her bachelor of science in journalism from Bowling Green State University.