quinoa, kale, & cranberry salad

I made this salad for our dinner last night. We had the rest for lunch today. Just two of us. Supposedly it serves 6. I am not sure what that says about how much we ate but I have chosen to think that it simply says very plainly that this is one very good salad. It is super-healthy  as well as yummy  - so you enjoy the food not simply the virtuous feeling of making a healthy food choice.

The original recipe calls for wheat berries but since I am migrating ever closer to the gluten-free line (for simple health reasons - no motivating health 'issues') I chose to substitute super-healthy quinoa. The wheat berries would be very good although chewier. Another good substitution for the wheat would be brown rice or even barley - but both of those might want a little more dressing since the grains tend to soak it up quite well, leaving things sometimes a little on the dry side. If you have some cooked (possibly frozen leftovers from your holiday bird) turkey or chicken, it would be a yummy addition. I liked it perfectly well as a meat-free meal. The quinoa is a complete protein so the turkey or chicken would simply be ... more.

This is fast, super easy, inexpensive, delicious, and healthy. As a post-holiday meal I think it hits every single virtue. 

quinoa, kale, & cranberry salad
(adapted from Chatelaine)

3/4 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup dried cranberries
5 cups finely chopped* kale (one small bunch)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 yellow pepper, diced
1/3 cup  extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt

Cook quinoa in 2 1/4 cups water. Combine quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover pot. Cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, add the dried cranberries and recover pot quickly. Leave the pot on the burner - covered - for a further 5 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork. Let cool.

In a large bowl combine the chopped kale, yellow pepper, onion, and cranberry quinoa mixture. In a separate bowl whisk together the olive oil, sea salt and balsamic vinegar. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to combine. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste. 

*I find I prefer kale quite finely chopped when used raw in a salad. Fine chopping will yield about 5 cups of the green from a smallish bunch - if you simply roughly chop it the same bunch will yield a greater volume. (duh) Smaller pieces = more greens = better


Eden Lang said...

this looks amazing! can't wait to try it. thanks so much for taking the time to share these:)

p.s. great pic!

Cheri said...

Ha HA!!! You made my day! I SO love your photography.

Jonathon said...

This looks so great! Your salads always make what they sell at Whole Foods and the other high end healthy stores look sadly lacking - like a fair effort but never quite hitting the mark that you do. I would pay good money for this kind of thing for lunch! (I guess I'll just have to suck it up and make it).

Cheri said...

Well ... thanks Jonathon:) Lucky for you this is probably faster and easier (to make) than a trip to Whole Foods.

Allie said...

I made this tonight and it was FAN-tastic! I had planned on making it to last for a couple of days in the fridge, but Graeme and I wolfed it all down for dinner in 1 sitting. I guess I'll need to make double if I expect it to last! Thanks for sharing : )

Cheri said...

SO glad you liked it! And no Litchcraft needed :) Thanks for the comment.

Alex said...

Loved this! SOOO yummy. Love your blog!!!

Cheri said...

Why thank you Alex!

Allie said...

a quick note to say i made this again and added toasted pine nuts and it was FAN-tastic. i think any toasted nuts would do, but it really added that extra something! just thought i'd share : )

Cheri said...

Great idea Allie. Thanks for sharing it. I'll try it next time I make this.