This kale quinoa salad is bright, refreshing and much needed in the dead of winter. It's packed with quinoa, juicy oranges, toasty hazelnuts and a super creamy and fresh lemon tahini dressing.
It's surprisingly filling with the hearty greens, grains and nuts. And it's one of my favorite ways to balance the weeks of gingerbread, cinnamon rolls and rich roasted meats of the holiday season.
Honestly, the best part of this whole recipe is the lemon tahini dressing. It’s so creamy, zesty and simple. I love how it highlights the nuttiness of quinoa and tames kale’s bitter edge-- and when it’s combined with juicy oranges? So, so delicious.
If you’re sensitive to bitter greens, read on to learn a few ways to manage kale’s bitterness so you can truly love kale salads once and for all!
quinoa kale salad ingredients:
- flat-leaf kale
- white wine vinegar
- lemon juice
- olive oil
how to make kale quinoa salad:
- Make lemon tahini dressing.
- Cook the quinoa; let cool.
- Slice kale into ribbons and massage with salt.
- Toss kale and quinoa with half the dressing; transfer to platter.
- Top with orange segments and chopped hazelnuts.
- Serve, passing extra dressing on the side.
how to prepare quinoa for kale salad:
I don’t know about you, but I used to really struggle with quinoa. It was either soggy and waterlogged, or still crunchy. Until I learned a fantastic technique from Cook’s Illustrated.
We deeply toast the quinoa in a dry pot, then add a smaller amount of water than you’re probably used to. And then the craziest part: we stir once while cooking. This approach produces perfectly fluffy and nutty quinoa that’s ideal for salads.
See the recipe below for more details!
Love quinoa salads? Try out southwest quinoa salad recipe!
what meats go with kale quinoa salad?
I love to serve this kale and quinoa salad with grilled and sliced chicken. It’s simple and really makes this salad a complete meal.
It’s also great with a crusty grilled steak, buttery lemon shrimp, or citrus-glazed salmon. Pick your favorite meat, add an element of citrus to mirror the tahini lemon dressing and oranges, and you can’t go wrong!
how do you make kale less bitter for salad?
The best way to remove some of the bitterness in kale is to massage it with salt, then pair it with an acidic ingredient to balance out the bitter flavor.
The salt massage will soften the texture of the kale and pull out some of the bitter compounds. If you’re really sensitive to bitterness, rinse the kale and spin it dry after you’ve massaged it with salt. This will wash away even more of that unpleasant bitterness.
Acid (and fat) will lessen the perception of bitterness. That’s why I especially love the oranges, nuts, and creamy tahini dressing here! The acidity and fat soften the kale.
Finally, if you’re just super sensitive to bitterness, my best advice is this: don’t eat raw kale. Try it sautéed, where you can blanch it and incorporate cream, olive oil, or cheese to mellow the flavor.
how do you segment oranges for salad?
- Cut the top and bottom off the orange.
- Stand the orange on one flat end, then use a chef’s knife to cut the peel and pith away from the fruit, following the curve of the orange.
- Hold the orange over a bowl to collect juice, then slice both sides of the orange segment to release it from the membranes. Remove segment and repeat until all of the orange segments have been cut out.
how long will this quinoa kale salad last?
This quinoa kale salad will last for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. The sturdiness of both the kale and quinoa help the salad stand up to the dressing for several days.
If you prefer it fresh and less marinated, you can also prepare all of the ingredients a day ahead of time and combine them with the dressing when you’re ready to eat.
how long will the lemon tahini dressing last?
The lemon tahini dressing will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated in an airtight container.
more kale salads to try!Print
kale quinoa salad with oranges
An invigorating kale quinoa salad to brighten up your winter meals. Deeply toasted quinoa, wilted kale, orange wedges and hazelnuts are tossed with a creamy, fresh lemon tahini dressing.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6
- Category: Salad
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
lemon tahini dressing:
- kosher salt
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
kale quinoa salad:
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa, washed, drained and patted dry (or 1 ½ cups cooked)
- ⅔ cup water
- 1 bunch flat-leaf kale, washed and patted dry
- 3 oranges, peeled and segmented
- ½ cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
lemon tahini dressing:
To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, tahini, white wine vinegar, honey and olive oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. For best results, use an immersion blender to mix until it’s thick and creamy.
kale quinoa salad:
- Toast quinoa in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until quinoa starts to pop continuously, turn golden brown and smell nutty, 5- 7 minutes.
- Stir in the water and ½ tsp salt, bring to a simmer, and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer until grains are just tender and liquid is absorbed, 18- 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
- Remove pan from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff quinoa with fork then set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, remove and discard stalks from the kale. Stack 6 to 8 leaves, roll them into a tight cigar and slice ½ inch thick. Place in a large bowl and continue rolling and slicing remaining kale leaves. Massage a pinch of salt into the kale until leaves soften and darken.
- Toss with half the dressing. Add the quinoa and toss to combine. Add more dressing if desired then transfer to a large serving platter. Top with orange segments and toasted hazelnuts. Serve, passing extra dressing on the side.
serves 4- 6 | recipe inspired by jamie oliver
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 285
- Sugar: 9.9g
- Sodium: 13mg
- Fat: 19g
- Saturated Fat: 2.2g
- Unsaturated Fat: 16.5g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 26g
- Fiber: 4.5g
- Protein: 5.8g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: kale quinoa salad