It’s no secret I love quinoa salads. They’re sturdy-yet-light, nourishing — delivering protein, fiber and other essential nutrients — and there are so many variations to choose from. Quinoa goes well with chickpeas, greens, beans, and other substantial salad fixins’, but my most recent favorite is a kale salad studded with chewy-sweet dried cranberries, crunchy almonds, and salty feta. It makes a perfect side, or light meal all on its own. If you have leftover roast chicken or salmon, chop some and toss it in.
Quinoa Salad with Kale and Feta
Adapted from Beyond the Plate, where it was inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Chard Stuffing. Quantities of each ingredient are up to you; adjust each according to your taste.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup dried cranberries
olive oil, for cooking
a small chunk of purple onion, thinly sliced
1 small bunch of kale, thinly sliced (discard the tough ribs)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
a squeeze of lemon (optional)
In a medium pot of boiling salted water, cook the quinoa for 12-14 minutes, until just tender and the germ separates, making a little curly Q. Drain well in a fine sieve, then return to the pot (off the heat, but still warm), add the cranberries, cover with a tea towel and the lid, and set aside to cool.
In a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, heat a drizzle of oil and sauté the onion for a couple minutes, until soft. Add the kale the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until wilted. If you like, add a small splash of water to the pan to create steam, and cover for a few minutes. Season with salt. If you added water, remove the lid and cook until the moisture has cooked off.
Add the kale to the quinoa, along with the feta and almonds. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of lemon, if you like. Toss again and serve immediately. Serves 4.