I’m the sort of person who collects grains, seeds and nuts in the cupboards like they’re going out of fashion. It’s not that I buy them all the time, more that I use half a packet of one thing and then move onto something completely different, and then I’ll go off grains (and pseudo-grains) for a good long while and nothing will get used at all.
And so the Healthy Kale and Quinoa Salad was born! The base was an easy decision – I wanted to use quinoa because I had both black and pearl quinoa that needed using, and I thought that the combination of colours would be really pretty. The leafy green vegetable was also an easy choice – I had both kale and spinach to choose from, but I’d much rather put spinach in my smoothies than kale. I also really like the texture, I think the curls in the kale really work well for picking up the dressing and capturing the quinoa and everything else. I don’t think they’d stick as well to spinach.
Asparagus were chosen because they were starting to look a little sad, and it was easy to chop up a few stalks and throw them in with the cooking quinoa, edamame to add some protein and to keep the green theme going, and finally hemp seeds because I had an open pot in the fridge and they’ll also add some protein. The toasted almonds add a wonderful nuttiness and an extra texture, keeping things exciting, and also because I was amazed that the packet of them was still fresh after discovering the container at the back of the cupboard!
The dressing was a fairly simple one – extra virgin olive oil, tahini, toasted sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, tiny splash of soy sauce. A small amount of dressing goes a long way and once it was thoroughly stirred through it added just the right amount of flavour and not too much liquid – we don’t go crazy with the dressings here.
I ended up making enough for 3 good-sized portions, so lunch is sorted for the next few days! And whilst this is going to be delicious and edible whether hot or cold, I actually ate this warm – quinoa, asparagus and edamame had only recently finished cooking and started cooling, so I have a suspicion I’ll stick the rest in the microwave for a minute before eating too!
- 1 cup dry quinoa (mix of black and pearl)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups kale, stalks removed
- 3 stalks asparagus
- 1 cup frozen edamame beans
- 15 whole almonds
- 2 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp tahini
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- small splash soy sauce (to taste)
- Add 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for 15 minutes.
- Cut the asparagus into 1-inch segments, and after about 5 minutes add them to the cooking quinoa.
- Rinse the kale and remove all the stalks. Add to your salad bowl and massage for a couple of minutes until the leaves start to darken. There are various suggestions of how to do this, but I just kept scrunching it with one hand. Don't worry about doing this for more than 2 minutes or so.
- When the quinoa has 5 minutes left to cook, add the frozen edamame beans and stir thoroughly.
- Once cooked, all of the stock should have been absorbed and the quinoa should be light and fluffy. Spread out on a plate to speed the cooling process and allow the steam to escape quicker.
- Meanwhile, heat a dry frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once it's hot add the almonds to the pan. Move them around by shaking the pan or with a wooden spatula - be careful not to burn, they can go very quickly. They should turn a darker brown in colour. Remove from the heat and add to the salad bowl.
- Next add the hemp seeds, quinoa, asparagus and edamame to the salad bowl and stir to combine thoroughly. The quinoa, asparagus and edamame are still going to be warm. This is fine (and actually, really tasty)!
- To make the dressing, combine the extra virgin olive oil, tahini, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil and soy sauce. This can easily be done with a small spoon, just mix it up until it's thoroughly blended.
- Pour the dressing onto the salad and again mix thoroughly to make sure everything gets coated.
- Serve immediately, and enjoy!