The PERFECT heart-healthy salad for picnics, BBQs, or travel! Quinoa, kale, toasted walnuts, juicy apples, and cranberries are tossed in a cider vinaigrette for a super tasty main dish or a delicious side dish. Naturally gluten-free and vegetarian. Only 20 minutes from start to finish!
The dog days of summer are finally here and all the fidget spinners are out of school! All the teachers be like "YEEAHHH!!!" and all the parents be like "yeeah...which camps are you signing your kiddo up for?"
But everyone...teachers, parents, and fidget spinners alike are definitely ready for picnics, outdoor shindigs, and BBQs! Especially since the last 9.578693 months was like the bad weather song that never ends. Some people started singing it not knowing what it was and...(sorry, are you now singing it?)
So let's talk about summer...cuz they'll continue singing it forever just because this is the song that never...Sorry again. Couldn't help it. I must need a fidget spinner. Wait...I have two already. Ages 7 and 4.
Anyways, about summa. Now that it's officially here, you and I need some
good (<- nope, scratch that), we need some amaayeeezingly tasty outdoor food. Food that not only travels well but something tasty that can hang outside for a while without serving up a huge side dish of bacteria that will lay us and our stomachs flat out on the hot pavement for a week. All heads are nodding up and down in agreement.
Think picnic perfect food. Here's a picture of it. Yum yum.
🛒 Recipe ingredients
Let's break this salad down. 5 simple ingredients. We like simple, right? Heads nodding up and down again.
- Purple kale - Nutrient dense superfood vegetable. Think Iron, Calcium, vitamins A, C, & K just to name a few. Basically kale is the Wonder Woman of all the leafy greens. (Disclaimer: Eating kale does not mean you will become Wonder Woman, but that would be awesome if it did).
- Quinoa - A gluten-free superfood grain. Pronounced "keen-wah." For all my vegetarian peeps out there, quinoa is an excellent source of protein.
- Dried Cranberries - A super source of dietary fiber and antioxidants. Here's the deal with buying dried cranberries though. (Watch out...food snobbery about to unfold.) Buy dried cranberries that are sweetened with apple juice versus refined sugar. Refined sugar has it's time and place but that time and place is not in my cranberries. These are my favorite, they're cultivated in my home state, and I can find them in my local grocery store. If you can't find them where you live just move to Portland, Oregon or buy them on Amazon.
- Toasted Walnuts - Nutritious nut that contains a heaping portion of healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Toasting your walnuts takes them next level. Do it. Please and thank you.
- Sweet, Juicy Apples (such as Honeycrisp or Pink Lady) - Apples are a great source of fiber and vitamin C. An apple a day keeps the doc away. There's actually some truth to that. And they help keep you regular, but we don't need to go into details on that. Just eat your apple.
👩🍳 Let's make a simple homemade dressing
Okay, I lied. There's another component to this picnic perfect salad...the cider vinaigrette.
You could buy cider vinaigrette OR YOU COULD MAKE IT. It's super simple and it satisfies that control freak part of me that enjoys having complete control over what goes in my food.
Just add apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey (or agave for a vegan option), garlic, salt, and pepper to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake it like a polaroid picture for about 10 seconds (or before you throw out your back) and done. Simple, simple...simple.
Then head outside, find a picnic perfect spot, let your fidget spinners run loose, and enjoy this amaayeeezingly tasty salad that could stand as a meal on its own or would make for a lovely side dish.
Oooh...and definitely take this to your upcoming 4th of July events. Have a fantastic holiday weekend friends! ♡
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Picnic Perfect Kale Quinoa Salad + Cider Vinaigrette
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
The PERFECT heart-healthy salad for picnics, BBQs, or travel! Quinoa, kale, toasted walnuts, juicy apples, and cranberries are tossed in a cider vinaigrette for a super tasty main dish or a delicious side dish. Naturally gluten-free and vegetarian.
Kale Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup chopped kale (I used Redbor Kale, just look for the frilly kale with reddish-purple veins and stem)
- 1 apple, chopped (I like the sweetness of Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples)
- ¾ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
- ½ cup dried cranberries (preferably cranberries sweetened with apple juice versus refined sugar)
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey (or agave for vegan option)
- 1 medium-sized garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit with the lid on for 5 more minutes. Then remove the lid, fluff the quinoa with a fork, and allow the quinoa to cool to room temperature.
- While quinoa is cooking, prepare the cider vinaigrette by placing all the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until combined.
- Once quinoa has cooled to room temperature, in a large bowl combine quinoa with the chopped kale, chopped apple, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, and cider vinaigrette.
- Marvel at how simple this recipe is.
- Category: Salads
- Method: Toss
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Keywords: salad, quinoa, gluten free, kale, summer salad, picnic food
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This is a delicious salad! We added some leftover chicken for a complete meal.
Thank you Emily! So happy to hear you enjoyed it!
My anti-kale hubby even ate some!
OK seriously. If you haven't made this yet. DO IT. Perfect summer salad. SO SO SO easy and SO good!