Kale and Quinoa Rainbow Salad

It’s time to eat the rainbow!!!

Errr, well, some of the rainbow. Because it’s kinda sorta hard to find blue veggies.

Kale and quinoa rainbow salad! This vibrant & healthy salad is packed with roasted veggies, almond quinoa pilaf and massaged kale! With a creamy lemon dressing!

I mean, I guess blue or purple potatoes could have worked … butttt of course I just thought of that. Even so! Today’s kale and quinoa rainbow salad is still packed with alllll the colors!

We have orange sweet potatoes! Red / purple-y beets! Plenty of green in the form of kale and avocado! And last, but certainly not least, a creamy lemon dressing (hello yellow!).

It’s colorful, it’s healthy, it’s delicious! And a most excellent way to balance out that cheesy tortilla and black bean pie that we chatted about last week. Yes. Yes.

So, this salad is 100% inspired by my FAVORITE local lunch place. Well, it’s more like a health food store with a cafe attached. But still. Their menu is my jam. Oooo and their coffee! So anyway, the last time I was there I ordered their version of this salad and pretty much immediately decided I needed to recreate it at home. And today’s recipe is pretty darn close – with one minor exception – the addition of my beloved orange veggie, the sweet potato!

It had to be done. Had to.

SO. Let’s discuss how this dish goes down, yes? We roast up the sweet potatoes and some beets until caramelized and fantastic. Meanwhile, we make a flavorful almond quinoa pilaf and whisk together that aforementioned lemon-y dressing. It all gets tossed together in a bowl with some massaged kale and served with dreamy avocado on the side. It’s great warm, it’s great cold AND it keeps well fully assembled for several days!

{Side note – don’t like beets? No worries! Just use more sweet potatoes or even carrots in their place! The salad won’t be quite so colorful that way but I think we’ll all survive.}

This gorgeous kale and quinoa rainbow salad is healthy and delicious! With roasted veggies, massaged kale and a creamy lemon dressing!

Now, let’s move on along to a few tips & tricks for the recipe:

  1. First up – let’s chat about how to prep this dish. Get the veggies in the oven. Once you have them going THEN prep everything else. The overall recipe time will be less if you do this (like always, I included all hands-on time as part of the prep time).
  2. When chopping up the sweet potatoes and beets, try to get them to about ½ inch cubes in size. This will ensure that they roast in the time listed down in the recipe.
  3. The kale! I know this seems like a lot of kale for one dish but it really reduces down in size after massaging / as it sits. So trust me on it and use the full amount!
  4. Along those lines, let’s talk massaging the kale. Don’t skip this step! Not only does this improve the taste and texture, but it also helps you digest it better. Win win win.
  5. And finally, this salad keeps well fully assembled for several days thanks to the kale – making it a great meal prep recipe. The only thing you’ll want to keep separate is the avocado – add that right before enjoying!

So here’s my logic – eat plenty of this nutritious salad this fall sooooo that you can then enjoy plenty of pumpkin baked goodies. Stay tuned!

{On a completely unrelated note – a very heartfelt prayer for everyone affected by the massive tragedy in Vegas (as well as all the destruction by recent hurricanes). Sending so much love your way ♡ }

This kale and quinoa rainbow salad is an excellent make ahead recipe! With massaged kale, roasted veggies and a creamy lemon dressing!

Yield: about 4 to 6 servings

Kale and Quinoa Rainbow Salad

Prep Time:35 minutes

Cook Time:35 minutes

Total Time:1 hour 10 minutes

Kale and quinoa rainbow salad! This vibrant & healthy salad is packed with roasted veggies, almond quinoa pilaf and massaged kale! With a creamy lemon dressing!

Ingredients:

For the roasted veggies:

  • 3 cups chopped sweet potato (about 2 small / medium potatoes)
  • 1 ½ cups peeled and chopped red beets (about 3 small beets)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

For the quinoa:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1 cup uncooked tri-colored (or regular!) quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

For the salad:

  • 8 cups stemmed and thinly sliced lacinato kale (about 2 medium-large bunches)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 large avocado, pitted and sliced

Directions:

For the roasted veggies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes to two thirds of a large rimmed baking sheet and the beets to the other third. Drizzle all the veggies with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper, then toss to combine and spread evenly, keeping the veggies on their respective sides (this will prevent the beets from bleeding into the potatoes while baking – but if you don’t care about that then you can just combine it all!).
  3. Bake for about 35 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 to 10 minutes.

For the quinoa:

  1. Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. When hot, add in the shallot and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, until softened. Add in the garlic and almonds and cook for another 1 minute, stirring frequently, until toasted and fragrant. Add in the quinoa, broth and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the broth is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

For the salad:

  1. Add the sliced kale to a large bowl then sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Use your hands to massage the kale – grab handfuls and gently scrunch –  sort of similar to how you would knead dough. Continue massaging until the kale is darker in color and has reduced a bit in volume (this takes about 2 to 4 minutes).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, tahini, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth. Pour into the pour with the kale and toss to combine. Let the kale sit while the veggies / quinoa finish cooking and cool down.
  3. To the bowl, add the cooled quinoa and the veggies and toss again to combine. Taste and season with additional salt / pepper as desired (I usually add a bit more salt). To serve, spoon some of the mixture into a bowl and top with some sliced avocado!

Cook Nourish Bliss

Looking for more fantastic dinner ideas? Be sure to check out the recipe I created for Oh My Veggies!

Grab it here! —> Curry with Apples, Kale, Chickpeas and Cashews

Curry with Apples, Kale, Chickpeas and Cashews