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Kale and Quinoa 'Pasta' Salad


Trying to cook seasonally in the winter is a lot more difficult than the summer, obviously. My backyard kitchen garden is still sleeping, except for a few brave green kale and swiss chard plants that have continued to put out new leaves all winter through snow and frost.

I'm trying not to pick too many, as I know the plants will start exploding in a month or so when it warms up again, but I still sneak out and steal a basketful of kale leaves from time to time. I carefully harvested some yesterday for this colourful, healthy and very flavourful salad recipe using Quinoa in place of pasta. There's usually a pretty good supply of fresh kale at local markets and grocery stores as well.

Notes on ingredients: Using whatever fresh vegetables and herbs you have on hand to suit your own taste personalizes the flavour and keeps this salad recipe interesting each time you make it. I've provided two different vinaigrette choices, and recommend adding some crumbled feta cheese too, if you're into to that.

This is also a good time to use your favourite high-quality extra virgin olive oil as it will enhance the taste of your pasta salad. I picked my new favourite  - Arbequina from California Olive Ranch - discovered at our recent DIY Olive Oil Tasting Party.


Kale & Quinoa 'Pasta' Salad


3 cups of quinoa, cooked and cooled

1/2 an English cucumber, chopped

1 cup of Grape or Cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cups of kale leaves, chopped

1/4 of a red onion, fine chopped or sliced

1/2 cup kalamata olives (optional)

fresh herbs of your choice - oregano, basil, chives and cilantro are all great options

Red Wine Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 tablespoon grainy dijon mustard

salt & pepper to taste

Greek Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

juice of one fresh lemon

1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, very finely chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

salt & pepper to taste

Cook your quinoa according to instructions on the packaging. I use 1 cup of dry quinoa to 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt in an automatic rice cooker and it comes out great every time. When your quinoa is cooked but not mushy, remove from the heat, take off lid and let cool (spread out on a large plate to cool faster).

While your quinoa is cooking, wash and dry the kale and remove the stems. Chop into bite-sized pieces and place in a medium-sized salad bowl. Chop your cucumber and tomatoes into bite sized pieces and add. Fine chop or slice your red onion and rough chop the kalamata olives and fresh herbs, adding everything to the bowl.

Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients well in a small bowl with a fork, then pour over the veggies. The salad can marinate while the quinoa cools, which will also tenderize the kale leaves. Add the cooled quinoa and gently mix everything together, being sure to coat the entire salad in dressing.

Top with a little extra fresh herb, perhaps an extra drizzle of olive oil and devour.

Tastes great on Day 2 as well, the veggies will soften slightly but soak up more flavour from the vinaigrette. Keep refrigerated.


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This look so good, I will for sure give it a try :)