Dark, leafy greens, protein-rich quinoa, juicy pomegranate arils, and vibrant butternut squash makes this vegan Quinoa, Kale & Squash Salad a nutrient powerhouse!
You guys...salad is amazing!
And if you don't agree, you probably are making your salads wrong.
When it comes to making a good salad it's all about the toppings and dressing. Yes, a good base of crunchy, fresh lettuce is also essential, but adding lots of texture and flavor on top is what will take a boring salad to the next level.
Some of my favorite salad recipes include:
- Simple Black Bean and Corn Salad;
- My Cilantro Lemon Quinoa Salad;
- And this Trader Joe's Spicy Peanut Cruciferous Salad
However, when it comes to the cooler, fall months, this Quinoa, Kale and Squash Salad is my go-to recipe! It's one of a number of excellent vegan recipes for the fall season.
It's the perfect side-dish for any holiday meal and I always get compliments when I serve it to my friends and family.
Ingredients for Quinoa, Kale and Squash Salad
Made up of fluffy quinoa, crunchy walnuts, juicy pomegranate arils and roasted squash, this salad will quickly become a family favorite. Below I'll list out all the ingredients you'll need to make it!
- Vegetable broth
- Curly kale (about 5 large handfuls chopped)
- Pomegranate arils
- Walnuts (or other nut)
- Craisins (or other chopped, dried fruit)
- Olive oil
- Orange juice
- Dijon mustard
- Apple cider vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Salt and pepper
Can you eat kale raw?
Yes, you can eat kale raw!
While sautéed kale and baked kale chips are amazing, eating kale raw is another great way to enjoy the many nutritional benefits of kale.
Raw kale makes a great addition to smoothies and is the base of this amazing salad.
However, below I'll share with you my favorite way to prepare raw kale!
How to prepare kale
If you're new to kale, then this is a great recipe to start with. The trick is to massage your kale!
Sounds weird, I know.
But it's really simple to do!
First, wash your kale and remove the woody stems. Then place the kale leaves into a large bowl and drizzle over some olive oil or an acid such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Next, use your hands to squeeze the kale, tearing it up and massaging it between your fingers until tender and limp.
This process of massaging your kale in an oil or acid (or both!) breaks down the woodiness of the leaves and makes kale easier to digest and more flavorful
How to prepare this Quinoa, Kale and Squash Salad
While this salad requires multiple steps, it's really simple to prepare.
I first like to get the squash roasting in the oven. Chop up your squash, drizzle it with a little olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Pour it onto a lined baking dish and bake it at 400F degrees for about 20-30 minutes, flipping the squash over half way through. You'll want to remove it from the oven when it becomes fork tender and is starting to brown.
While the squash is roasting, you can prepare the remaining ingredients.
Cook the quinoa in vegetable broth.
Wash, de-stem and massage the kale in a little olive oil.
In a small bowl or jar, mix together the dressing ingredients.
Chop up the nuts and set aside the craisins and pomegranate arils.
Once the squash and quinoa have finished cooking, you can assemble the salad. Pour ½ of the dressing over top of the quinoa. Combined the quinoa, kale, roasted squash, walnuts, craisins and pomegranate arils together in a bowl. Finish everything off with the remaining salad dressing.
Serve and enjoy!
How to store kale salad
Good news guys!
Kale salad gets better, at least in my opinion, the longer it sits in the fridge. For that reason, it's makes for a great meal to prepare in bulk at the start of the week!
Simply massage your kale in a little oil, acid or salad dressing and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. If you want to include any crunchy toppings on your salad, simply add them right before serving so that they don't get soggy. Otherwise, the kale salad will become more tender and flavorful the longer it soaks in the dressing in the fridge.
Quinoa, Kale and Squash Salad
- 3 cups cubed butternut squash*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 5 large leaves curly kale about 5 large handfuls chopped
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- ½ cup walnuts chopped
- ¼ cup craisins
- Preheat your oven to 400 °F and place the cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle the squash with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the butternut squash for about 30 minutes until fork tender, flipping the cubes over half way through. Remove from the oven when cooked and set aside.
- While the butternut squash roasts cook the the quinoa by placing 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of vegetable broth in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to a low and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, still covered, and let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes. Then fluff the quinoa with a fork and let cool.
- While the butternut squash roasts and the quinoa simmers, prepare the salad and dressing. Place the chopped kale into a large bowl, drizzle on 1 tablespoon olive oil, and massage the kale** with your hands until it softens.
- Pour all of the dressing ingredients into a small jar and shake to combine.
- To assemble the salad, pour ½ of the dressing onto the quinoa and stir well. Add in the pomegranate arils, walnuts and craisins and stir to combine.
- Pour the quinoa mixture over the kale and top everything off with the roasted butternut squash.
- Serve with another drizzle of dressing.