Kale Salad with Toasted Quinoa, Cranberries and Toasted Almonds

Kale Salad with Toasted Quinoa, Cranberries and Toasted Almonds

1 bunch dinosaur or lacinato kale, ribs removed and chopped
1 Tbs Olive Oil 
1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
For the dressing:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp extra fine (baking) sugar or a drizzle of good honey (optional)
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh Ground Pepper

  1. Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a dressing shaker or small bowl.
  2. Make sure the kale is chopped finely.  The idea of this salad is to make sure that the kale softens and the bitterness is overcome by the acids in the dressing.  
  3. Pour the dressing over the kale in a medium-large bowl and mix thoroughly with tongs. Note: Return to the bowl and continue mixing/tossing the dressing and the kale as you prepare the other ingredients. 
  4. In a skillet, mix the uncooked quinoa and the olive oil.  Toast the quinoa over medium heat for several minutes.  When the quinoa has begun to brown and smells toasty, add the water and mix.  Cook the quinoa for 12 minutes or so, or until all the water is absorbed.  Remove the quinoa from heat (I put it in another bowl, or the bowl I used to make the dressing) and allow to cool.  
  5. Wipe out the skillet and toast the sliced almonds in the now-dry skillet for 3-4 minutes. Watch them closely!
  6. The kale should be very wilted by now.  Mix the quinoa with the kale mixture, tossing well. The heat from the quinoa may brighten the kale  - this is a good thing!  
  7. Now mix in half the almonds, the grated parmesan and the cranberries.  

Serve- top servings with shaved or grated parmesan and the reserved toasted almonds.  

This salad makes excellent leftovers!

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