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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!
Fall Quinoa Salad with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets
- 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!
Creamy Raw Kale Slaw
- 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!
Glorious, glorious kale salad.
I know, it’s been a “thing” for years now, but I honestly can’t get enough!
This is the… fourth… kale salad recipe on the blog, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
The twist on this kale salad is the way the tender leaves are cut.
Rather than just tearing them up into pieces, the leaves are sliced cross-wise into thin strips, kind of like a thick chiffonade.
This makes the salad ultra tender and easy to eat.
You know what’s even easier?
You don’t have to whisk a dressing for this salad!
Simply drizzle with fresh lemon juice & olive oil, and call it a day.
The extra pops of flavor come from sweet-tart dried cranberries, salty pepitas, savory Parmesan cheese, and homemade buttery garlic breadcrumbs.
The flavor combos are amazing.
This kale salad with cranberries and pepitas is definitely going on my Thanksgiving menu this year!
Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pepitas
- 2 bunches lacinato kale, washed, stems removed, leaves cut crosswise into thin strips
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups freshly ground sourdough breadcrumbs made by pulsing sourdough sandwich bread in a mini food processor
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries (without sulfites)
- 3/4 cup roasted salted pepitas
- juice of 1 lemon
- generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Add the thinly sliced kale to a large salad bowl and set aside.
Next, add the butter to a small nonstick skillet and warm over medium heat until melted. Add the fresh breadcrumbs, and cook, stirring frequently with a spatula, until the breadcrumbs are nice and golden brown and starting to crisp up. When fully golden and crisp, turn off the heat and stir in the garlic powder and salt. Then remove from the pan to a large plate to cool in one flat layer.
While the breadcrumbs cool, add the cheese, cranberries, and pepitas to the kale. Pour the juice of 1 lemon over the top, and drizzle the salad liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Toss well to combine.
When the breadcrumbs are cooled, sprinkle them over the salad and toss again to combine. Serve right away.