This recipe was inspired by a kale salad served at The Plant Cafe in San Francisco (the holy land for organic foodies). The Plant's version has large torn pieces of kale with minimal quinoa and I always thought the flavors would be fantastic in a tabouleh-like style. Enter : the cuisinart. My version uses shaved curly kale, finely minced carrots and shallots, doubles or triples the quinoa, and adds the critical new flavor of cilantro. The cilantro adds a wonderfully fresh dimension and really compliments the lemon cumin vinaigrette (which I've also adjusted to include a kick of dijon.)
I love this salad for its versatility, acting as a side or a main. It is vegan, gluten-free, and all ingredients can be easily found organic throughout the year. It is chalk full of super foods - kale, quinoa, almonds, avocado, and carrots and packed with protein. It's the ultimate health food while still being lick-the-plate taste worthy.
Arguably the best part of this salad, however, is how it can make a kale lover out of the most adamant kale skeptics. I've found most people who avoid the leafy green cite it's toughness as their biggest turn-off. This version benefits from the toughness, as only kale can really hold it's own against shredding in a food processor. The resulting kale is both hearty and tender - the perfect yin yang of a dark leafy green.
You can also view this recipe on my blog : http://pinkbrandywine.tumblr.com/post/73025006163/kale-and-quinoa-salad —Casey Tunguz
Curly Green Kale, washed and ribs removed (or sub dino kale)
Dry Rainbow Quinoa, rinsed
Ripe Avocado, sliced
Mixed Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
Almonds, chopped and toasted for ~2 minutes over high heat in a skillet
Cook 1/2 cup dry quinoa in 1 cup water. If you have a rice cooker, use the 'quick' setting. Otherwise, bring quinoa and water to boil in a small pot, reduce heat, and cook for 15 minutes covered. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes before fluffing.
Using a food processor and working in batches (depending on the size of your processor), pulse your kale until shredded into small pieces. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
Again working in batches, pulse your carrots, shallot, cilantro, and garlic until finely minced. Transfer to your serving bowl.
Prepare your dressing by first whisking your olive oil and dijon until completely smooth. Then add your lemon juice, cumin, and salt to taste. (Start with 1/4 tsp of salt and increase from there.) Whisk until blended.
Add your sliced cherry tomatoes, toasted chopped almonds, and sliced avocado to your serving bowl. Set aside until your quinoa is ready.
Transfer your cooked quinoa (it's ok if it's hot) to your serving bowl and pour all of the dressing on top. Toss well and serve hot or cold.