Kale, quinoa and apple salad

This salad works great as a potluck offering: sturdy kale holds up well over several hours, the light nuttiness of quinoa complements the dark earthiness of the greens, and a fresh fall apple adds a sweet crunch to balance kale’s slight bitterness. And unlike most salads, leftovers will still be good the next day.


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch kale (ideally the dark green Tuscan/lacinato/dinosaur type)
  • 1 crisp apple
  • 1 shallot, minced (optional)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)
  • Balsamic vinaigrette


  1. Most quinoa sold these days is pre-rinsed to get rid of the bitter saponin coating. But to be safe, you can rinse quinoa in a mesh colander for a minute or two under running water. Place drained quinoa in medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to boil and turn to a very low simmer. Cook 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for five minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. While quinoa cooks, wash, dry and slice kale thinly crosswise. You can cut off the stems from the leaves if you don’t mind the extra step. Put kale in a large salad bowl.
  3. Dress kale with balsamic vinaigrette, a little more generously than you would normally. Kale softens nicely with a little workout, so use tongs or salad servers to mix kale well, tossing and turning the leaves.
  4. You may mix the quinoa with the kale while warm, which will further wilt the kale. Or wait for the quinoa to cool and then mix in. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and vinaigrette as needed.
  5. Slice apple thinly (peeling optional), cutting slices in half or thirds if you prefer smaller pieces.
  6. Add apples, feta and nuts (if using) to the kale and quinoa. Mix gently and serve.


  • Vegan option: omit feta. Nuts would be nice addition.
  • Bacon option: of course.
  • To make ahead of time: cook quinoa, wash and slice kale, make balsamic vinaigrette. Then before serving you can just toss with dressing, apple, feta and nuts, if using.
  • This is a sturdy salad; leftovers are good for the next couple of days.
  • Another option to soften kale: use clean hands to squeeze and toss chopped kale before dressing it.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.

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