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*Please note: This post is sponsored by TruRoots. I have received compensation for this post, but all content and opinions are my own.
It’s official. As of last Friday, FALL IS HERE!!!
So let’s waste no time jumping right into delectable fall goodies.
Like this Kale and Quinoa Salad with Cranberries, and Golden Beets.
Whole grain salads are one of my favorite things to make each fall.
They’re so easy to throw together and can be customized to feature whatever vegetables look the best at the market that day.
Since they can make a HUGE batch, they’re perfect for when you have family and friends over for pumpkin carving, or even just to cook up on Sunday and feed yourself for lunch all week!
Plus, since the weather is cooling down, you don’t have to worry so much about turning on the oven, so you can incorporate some deliciously roasted vegetables into your dish. (Not gunna lie, I look forward to those all summer!)
While you can certainly throw together a pilaf with any whole grain, I really like to use TruRoots Organic Quinoa.
It’s organic, pre-washed, and ready in just 15 minutes. Plus you can stock up and buy the gigantic 2lb package that will last you forever.
I’m dropping some nutrition nerdiness right now.
Did you know that quinoa is one of the few complete protein sources for vegetarians?
This means that quinoa has all the essential amino acids (the ones you have to get in your diet since your body can’t make them) in each and every grain, just like animal products!
This also means it’s nice and filling and will keep you satisfied for hours.
Want to whip up this delicious kale and quinoa salad?
It’s ready in about an hour, and is pretty freaking easy!
How to make kale and quinoa salad:
- Cook the quinoa in a rice cooker or on the stove.
- Roast some cauliflower and golden beets.
- Toss the two together with kale, almonds, pepitas, cranberries, and cheese.
- Drizzle with a homemade lemon-honey dressing and you’re done!
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 4 golden beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 10 oz bag of pre-chopped curly kale
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup roasted salted pepitas
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 7 oz Gruyere cheese, diced
- 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
First, cook the quinoa in 3 cups of water until tender and the water is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes). I used a rice cooker so I could set it and forget it, but you can also cook it on the stovetop. To do so, place the quinoa and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover the saucepan, and cook until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed. When the quinoa is done cooking, fluff it with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chopped cauliflower and beets on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the veggies to coat evenly, then shake to redistribute across the baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and golden. When they are done, add the vegetables to the large serving bowl with the quinoa.
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the kale and sliced garlic. Saute, stirring often to prevent the garlic from burning, until the kale is bright green and just tender (about 5 minutes). Add the kale and garlic to the bowl with the quinoa and roasted vegetables.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, and honey. Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt and ground black pepper.
Add the almonds, pepitas, cranberries, gruyere, and Parmesan cheese to the serving bowl and pour the dressing on top. Toss until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve right away!
Believe it or not, this kale slaw recipe was one of my first forays into the world of kale.
It’s a recipe I created way back in 2011, when kale was just starting to become a “thing”.
At first, I was totally weirded out about eating kale raw. I had previously only used it in soups or sautes, where it cooked down and became nice and tender.
But raw?? In a salad? My 2011 mind was blown.
So, instead of going full bore into the world of kale salad, I dipped my toe in.
First issue – texture.
I was really worried that curly raw kale would be tough & unpleasant to chew.
Thinly slicing it so it was easy to chew, and mixing it with spinach, to keep the salad light and tender.
Second issue – flavor.
I used to think raw kale was a little in-your-face with its cruciferous flavor, so again, I mellowed it out with spinach and a bunch of veggies like zucchini and tomato and slathered it in a creamy lemon-garlic dressing.
So basically, I made a raw kale slaw, more than a salad.
Chock full of shredded veggies and heavy on the dressing.
But mmmm, it’s good! I still had the recipe saved from back in the day, so today I decided to shoot it for the blog. This would be a great simple side to a backyard pool party, to serve alongside some grilled meats and ice cold watermelon.
Hope you love it!
- 1/2 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced cross-wise
- 3 cups thinly sliced spinach
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
- 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 small zucchini)
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons water
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Add the kale, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, and cheese to a large bowl.
Whisk the olive oil, sour cream, red wine vinegar, and water in a small bowl. Stir in the lemon zest, garlic, and salt and pepper until completely combined.
Add the dressing to the slaw, toss until evenly coated, and serve!
It takes a lot for me to turn on my oven in the middle of the summer…
But I’ll do it for this delicious soba noodle dish with oven roasted tomatoes and quick pan seared shrimp 😛
I’m obsessed with light summer meals like this one.
Quick cooking buckwheat noodles are tossed with a gingery miso dressing, oven roasted tomatoes, green onion, and sesame, and topped off with buttery pan-seared shrimp.
The result is a light meal that tastes out of this world but doesn’t leave you feeling uncomfortably full like richer pasta dishes sometimes can.
Plus, I love that this recipe includes miso.
If you’re not familiar with this fermented soy paste, it’s time to get acquainted.
Miso is probably most well known from the complimentary miso soup often served at sushi restaurants, but it can be used in so many more ways.
There are 3 common types of miso:
- White miso – This is the lightest tasting of all the varieties & commonly used raw, like in quick sauces or dressings. It is typically fermented with rice, so it has a light yellow color & tends to be naturally gluten free (but read the labels just in case).
- Yellow miso – This is probably the most popular variety. Despite the name, it actually has a light brown coloring. It still has a nice salty umami taste, but is subtle enough to not overtake a dish. This is the type of miso usually used in miso soup, and my favorite variety to have on hand in the fridge. It is usually fermented with barley, so read labels carefully if you are gluten-free.
- Red miso – This darker reddish brown paste is the strongest of the 3 common varieties. It isn’t used as much in soup, since it would turn the broth a darker color, but is often used in glazes or braised dishes where you want a nice punch of flavor.
For this recipe, you just want a light hit of miso flavor, so I recommend using a white or yellow variety.
And just to make sure the flavor is infused in the dish, it’s used both in the dressing AND on the roasted tomatoes. Yum!
Top this quick salad with buttery pan seared shrimp (they literally cook in 6 minutes flat) and you’re good to go.
Looking for other fun ways to use miso? You’ll love these recipes:
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons yellow or white miso (gluten-free variety if needed)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 8 ounces soba noodles (100% buckwheat preferred)
- 5 green onions, sliced
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 24 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Juice of 1 large lemon
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, miso, garlic, ginger, lime zest, and lime juice. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper.
Spread the cherry tomatoes out on a large rimmed baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup of the dressing onto the tomatoes and toss to coat. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender and just starting to burst.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook according to package directions (usually no more than 5 minutes). Drain well and place in a large bowl. Pour the remaining dressing over the noodles and toss to combine. Set aside until everything else is done.
When the tomatoes are done roasting, add them & any accumulated pan juices to the bowl with the soba noodles. Add the green onion and sesame seeds, then toss again to combine.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with kosher salt and ground black pepper, then add to the skillet, taking care to spread them out evenly. Avoid over crowding the pan. You can cook them in 2 batches if they do not fit in your pan in one layer.
Let the shrimp cook for about 3 minutes on each side, then immediately remove from the pan and onto a plate. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice.
Scoop portions of the soba noodles into individual serving bowls, and top each portion with 6 shrimp. Sprinkle with extra sesame seeds if desired, and serve right away.