This toasted quinoa kale salad is bright, refreshing and much needed in the dead of winter. It’s a fresh, beautiful and healthy way to offset the weeks of gingerbread, cinnamon rolls and rich roasted meats that have come before it.
Though most salads conjure up an image of hunger an hour after eating, this quinoa kale salad is surprisingly filling with the hearty greens, grains and nuts.
The lemon tahini dressing is part of what makes this quinoa kale salad so great. I love how it highlights the nuttiness of quinoa and tames kale’s bitter edge, but it could be used with all types of salads.
Especially if you’re not the biggest fan of kale salads. If you’re sensitive to bitter greens, read on to learn a few ways to manage that bitterness and enjoy these raw kale and quinoa salads once and for all!
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 love the oranges and nuts in this kale grain salad! The acidity and fat make the bitterness less noticeable.
Finally, if you’re just super sensitive to bitterness, my best advice is this: don’t eat raw kale. Try it cooked, where you can blanch it and incorporate cream or cheese to soften 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
- Discard peels
- 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.
what is this tahini dressing made of?
This fresh and creamy tahini dressing is made with the following ingredients. It’s simple, delicious and super versatile!
- lemon juice
- white wine vinegar
- olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
how long will the lemon tahini dressing last?
The lemon tahini dressing will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated in an airtight container.
what’s the best way to cook quinoa?
I don’t know about you, but half the time I make quinoa it’s soggy and the other half it’s still crunchy. Until I read about an amazing new technique, that is.
For the quinoa, I used my favorite technique of deeply toasting the quinoa and stirring while cooking (I know!), that I learned from Cook’s Illustrated. This approach, combined with slightly less water, produces a perfectly fluffy and nutty quinoa. See the recipe below for more details!
how long will this quinoa kale salad last?
This kale grain salad will last for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. It’s best to consume it within the first few hours of tossing, but the sturdiness of both the kale and quinoa allow it to stand up to the dressing for several days.
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.
toasted quinoa kale salad with oranges and lemon tahini dressing
An invigorating quinoa kale 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
- Cuisine: American
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, washed, drained and patted dry (or 3 cups cooked)
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 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
- 1 bunch flat leaf tuscan kale, washed and patted dry
- 3 oranges
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
- In a medium saucepan, toast washed and dried quinoa over medium high heat for 5- 7 minutes, stirring frequently. It’s done when the quinoa makes a continuous popping noise and smells very fragrant.
- Add the water and 1/2 tsp salt, stir and bring to a simmer. 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, set aside to cool.
- 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.
- Remove and discard stalks from the kale, stack 6 to 8 leaves, roll them into a tight cigar and slice 1/2 inch thick. Place in a large bowl and continue rolling and slicing remaining kale leaves. With your hands, massage a pinch of salt into the kale for 1 minute, until leaves soften and wilt.
- Mix in half the dressing. Add the quinoa and toss together. If needed, add a little more dressing to the salad, toss again, then arrange on a large serving platter.
- Peel the oranges, slice into wedges and arrange over the salad. Scatter chopped toasted hazelnuts on top and serve with any remaining dressing on the side.
serves 4- 6 | recipe inspired by jamie oliver
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 341
- Sugar: 11g
- Sodium: 212mg
- Fat: 20g
- Saturated Fat: 2.3g
- Unsaturated Fat: 17.1g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 36g
- Fiber: 5.9g
- Protein: 7.6g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: quinoa kale salad