Before I give you this recipe, I must warn you: World Health Organisation Warns That Consumption Of Kale Leads To Arrogance
I can neither confirm nor deny these allegations; proceed at your own risk.
I “discovered” kale about a year ago, when going through a very public break up with salads. I couldn’t take anymore. I would sit at work dinners declaring that salads were a waste of chewing. I would bring one to work for lunch and leave it there for three days in the fridge to rot because there was always something slimy in the mix and I seemed to feel more hungry after eating it instead of less.
I started to think that there must be some alternative to eating healthy besides mass salad consumption. Both my husband and I have low tolerances for bread and pasta (pity us, please), so during the week, we try to eat super duper healthy/clean/hippie (weekends are fair game for unhealthy food). I am not a great cook, and don’t like to spend a ton of time prepping food during the week. This little beauty of a salad comes together in about 30 minutes, and is now on constant dinner rotation in our apartment. As an added bonus, it makes for a great portable lunch the next day.
Kale, Quinoa, & Bacon Salad
(adapted from many other forms of kale salad you can find on Pinterest)
1 Cup Quinoa, cooked
1/2 Bag of kale, shredded (I buy the pre-washed bagged stuff. You can be healthier than us and go for the leaves)
3-5 Strips of bacon, crumbled (we use the applegate farms organic no-nitrate blah blah blah)
1 Cup shaved carrots
1/2 Cup craisins
A heavy sprinkling of shaved almonds (I buy mine at Trader Jo’s because they are cheap and delicious)
For the Dressing (from Iowa Girl Eats):
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 TB Balsamic Vinegar
2 TB Honey
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt & Pepper
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil; add 1 cup of quinoa and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.
Grab a medium frying pan and turn heat to medium-low. Arrange your bacon strips on there. Move out of the way or you will be singed by flying grease. Use tongs to turn a few times, remove from heat before it burns. Do you know how to make bacon or is this overkill? I just want you to be well informed.
While the bacon is cooking, whisk all ingredients for the dressing together and set aside. This dressing is really stinkin’ good, so you might want to double the recipe and save the rest for later. Insider tip.
Once quinoa has cooled, start adding kale by the handfuls. I like to tear mine up as I go, tossing out the stem. Once I have filled the bowl with kale, I will add about half the dressing and start tossing with my salad hands, pulling up the quinoa from the bottom to coat the kale. You should be able to start adding more and more kale as it shrinks down somewhat with the dressing/quinoa. Add the rest of the dressing, the carrots, and the craisins. Just keep adding kale until you feel like there is an even ratio of quinoa to kale. This is not an exact science, just do what feels right. Crumble that gorgeous bacon and sprinkle in the shaved almonds (or roasted sunflower seeds). Keep tossing until it looks evenly mixed. Your arms may get tired. You have just worked out naturally, congratulations.
A final note on this salad: It is so versatile- I’ve used chicken instead of bacon, I’ve used chicken & bacon, I’ve made it without meat, I’ve subbed sunflower seeds for shaved almonds, strawberries for craisins, and I’ve added parmesan, cucumbers, red peppers (really any vegetable you would like to add would do just fine). Make it your own, you won’t hurt my feelings.
This recipe should be enough for two healthy sized dinner portions, plus leftovers for the next day.