Kale, Parmesan and Quinoa salad with Mustardy Vinaigrette


Kale, Parmesan and Quinoa salad with Mustardy Vinaigrette

This is a great salad, packed with protein from the quinoa and tons of good-for-you stuff from the kale and other veggies.

Smoky and Mustardy Vinaigrette
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard (whole grain is great in this)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp ground cumin (to taste)
1/2 -1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
Dash of ground cayenne or other HOT pepper (optional, but awesome)
1/4 cup good olive oil
Mix all ingredients in a dressing shaker until well combined.

Salad:
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 cup water
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
3 shallots, finely diced (or 1/2 of a red onion)
1 bunch (largeish) kale, leaves cut from ribs and sliced thinly into strips
1 red pepper, diced
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (optional, or sub other beans)
2-3 ozs parmesan, shredded
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted in a dry frying pan

Cook the onion or shallot in 1 Tbs olive oil just until slightly softened and set aside.  In a saucepan, mix the other Tbs olive oil and the quinoa over medium high heat and toast the quinoa until fragrant.  You CAN skip this step, but it is so much better to take the time.  Add the water to the toasted quinoa, and cover.  Cook for approximately 12 minutes, until the quinoa is fluffy.

While the quinoa is cooking, mix the sliced kale with approximately half the dressing and toss thoroughly with tongs.  Add the red pepper, shallots and garbanzo beans to the kale, and toss.  When the quinoa is cooked, put it into the same bowl and toss until well combined.  The kale will brighten in color and soften slightly.  Add more dressing as needed, or just dump it all in.  Add the parmesan last, reserving some for a garnish.  Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the finished salad and serve immediately, or chill.

This one is good warm OR cold and gets more flavorful after a few hours or overnight. 

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