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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
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
- 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
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
- 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!
Summertime produce is HERE, in all its glory.
Juicy, sweet, bright red tomatoes.
An ABUNDANCE of summer squash – the gift that keeps on giving.
Stone fruit everywhere, so ripe and succulent, the juices dribble down your chin with every bite.
Bundles of fragrant herbs, growing like weeds, ready to be tossed into salads, soups, and pestos.
Can you tell I LOVE summer??
One of the easiest ways to use up a TON of summer tomatoes and squash is with a gratin.
Simply slice all the veggies nice and thin, arrange in pretty layers, and top with olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, fresh herbs, and cheese.
Bake for about 30 minutes, then serve!
It’s an impressive side dish that lets the flavors of the vegetables take center stage.
If you really want this dish to wow you, take the extra time to pick up some produce from your local farmers market. You won’t regret it!
Tomato, Zucchini, and Yellow Squash Gratin
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
- 1 pound cocktail tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 pound zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 pound yellow summer squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2/3 cup shredded Romano cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Get out a large 4.5 quart pyrex baking dish. Working in rows, alternately layer the slices of zucchini, yellow squash, and tomato. Prop the slices up a little bit so that the start of each row is leaning against the edge of the pyrex dish at an angle (this makes it easier to layer the slices).
Once you have filled the baking dish, drizzle each row with a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil (this will help prevent the gratin from drying out).
Next, sprinkle the whole dish with the minced garlic and thyme. Season generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper, then sprinkle the Romano cheese over the top.
Place the whole dish in the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is just starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.