Kale Quinoa Salad – Spend With Pennies

Kale quinoa salad is delightfully delicious and nutritious!

Hail to the kale – and quinoa! These two superfoods taste great mixed with other vegetables, nuts, and cheese and then tossed in a simple dressing!

Make it ahead of time for lunches or busy weeknight meals (this salad freezes beautifully too!).

Kale Quinoa Salad in a bowl

Hearty & Healthy Salad

  • Kale and quinoa salad is chock full of protein, antioxidants, and fiber, and even kids love the combination of colorful and crunchy ingredients!
  • This versatile recipe lets you switch out the fruits and veggies for whatever is in season making it a year-round favorite!
  • Make this ahead of time and enjoy for lunches. This salad freezes well too making it an easy make-ahead meal!
  • Keep it as a vegetarian entrée salad or add chicken or fish!
kale , quinoa , carrots , broth , oil , feta , dressing , pecans , cranberries and onions in bowls to make Kale Quinoa Salad with labels

Ingredients for Kale Quinoa Salad

Kale – Choose bunches of kale that are deep green and remove any torn or wilted leaves, as well as the stalks. While I most often use curly kale, try other varieties like baby, dinosaur kale/Tuscan kale. Bulk up the salad by adding chopped broccoli slaw, shredded brussels sprouts, or spinach.

Quinoa – Cooking quinoa in broth (instead of water) adds extra flavor. A powerhouse of protein, quinoa can be switched out for other grains or legumes. Try farro or even brown rice.

Vegetables – Shredded carrots and sliced red onions offer color and crunch and are available year-round. Seasonal veggies like chunks of roasted squash, corn, or beets can be added as well!

Other Flavorful Additions – Dried cranberries add sweetness and so will fresh apples or grapes. Feta is a dry cheese that adds a salty flavor while pecans add a nutty crunch.

Dressing – This sweet-tart vinaigrette has just the right amount of Dijon mustard and fresh garlic. If using a pre-made dressing, opt for something slightly sweet and tangy such as a light fruity or citrus-infused dressing. You can also try poppyseed or honey mustard dressing.


  • Add other veggies, almost anything goes. If you’re not freezing this salad try cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, or chopped cucumber.
  • Swap out pecans for pumpkin seeds or pepitas, sunflower seeds, or sliced almonds.
  • Cooked chicken or even chickpeas are great additions for extra protein.
Kale Quinoa Salad ingredients in a bowl before mixing and adding dressing

How to Make Kale Quinoa Salad

  1. Make dressing: Place the dressing in a mason jar and shake well to combine per the recipe below.
  2. Cook quinoa: Cook quinoa, fluff with a fork, and cool.
  3. Combine ingredients: Massage chopped kale in oil and salt in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients and drizzle the dressing overtop. Toss to combine and refrigerate before serving.

When making a kale salad, massaging the leaves may seem odd, but it really makes a big difference! This step makes the leaves more tender and removes bitterness.

Simply add a drop or two of oil and rub the kale with your hands. It will turn a darker green and the leaves will soften.

serving Kale Quinoa Salad in a bowl with spoons

Storing Kale and Quinoa Salad

  • Keep kale and quinoa salad in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Stir in fresh nuts, cheese, or dressing, if desired.
  • Believe it or not, you CAN freeze this kale quinoa salad recipe if it is made with the ingredients listed below. Once thawed, it tastes just as good as the day it was made!

More Hearty Grain Salads

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serving Kale Quinoa Salad in a bowl with spoons

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Kale Quinoa Salad

This kale and quinoa salad combine two healthy superfoods – kale and quinoa!

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Chill Time 1 hour

Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

  • Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and drain well.

  • Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan with vegetable broth or water.

  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Cool completely.

  • Once the quinoa has cooled completely, place it in a large bowl.

  • In a jar, combine all dressing ingredients and shake well.

  • Place the kale in the bottom of a medium bowl. Add olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt to the kale. Massage the chopped kale with your hands until the leaves become tender and dark green.

  • Add the cooled quinoa, pecans, carrots, feta cheese, red onion, and dried cranberries to the bowl.

  • Pour the dressing over the ingredients and toss well to combine.

  • Refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour before serving.

This recipe will keep in the fridge for a few days and it can be frozen.
To substitute store bought dressing, I would suggest a light citrusy vinaigrette.

Calories: 476 | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 900mg | Potassium: 491mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 7954IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 256mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
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close up of Kale Quinoa Salad in a bowl with writing
Kale Quinoa Salad before and after mixing together with writing

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