Kale & Quinoa Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette by SeasonWithSpice.com

An earthy, yet elegant dish, this versatile, wintery inspired Kale & Quinoa Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette is home on the holiday table as a beautiful accompaniment to roast meat, or simply a weekly dish you can enjoy as a side to white fish like pan-seared halibut or breaded baked cod.

Kale & Quinoa Salad recipe with Lemony Vinaigrette by SeasonWithSpice.com

I love this salad for Christmas because it has this holly-like appearance from the combination of lacinato kale and cranberries or pomegranates.  Then I mix in red & white quinoa that look as if they are little, round ornaments on a tree.  Next, pine nuts or sunflower seeds to give the dish that woodsy, nutty aroma.  Then I shave in wide slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as if branches from a spruce are carefully holding pockets of snow.

For a final, festive touch, I sprinkle in red Aleppo chili flakes and sumac berry powder to add a savory, citrusy zing to this holiday salad.

Sumac Berry Powder & Aleppo Chili Flakes available at SeasonWithSpice.com

Make the prep of this Kale & Quinoa Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette easy and quick on the day it will be served, by cooking the quinoa and slicing the kale ahead of time.  Both can be stored in the fridge a few days beforehand. 

When the kale and quinoa are ready in the refrigerator, you can whip this salad up right before the meal (or on site at your holiday party) by mixing in a few more ingredients, and tossing it in a simple lemony vinaigrette. 

Wising everyone a wonderful holiday season of safe travels, good eats, quality time with loved ones, and some well deserved time off to rest up for the New Year!

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette 
by Season with Spice
Serves 4-6 as a side salad

1 small bunch of lacinato kale – ribs removed, and thinly sliced or shredded
1.5 cups cooked & cooled quinoa
1/3 cup golden raisins – soaked in hot water for 10 minutes*
2 tbsp cranberries or pomegranates
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 tsp of Season with Spice’s Sweet Ginger Sea Salt, or to taste
2 tsp of Season with Spice’s Sumac Berry Powder 
1.5 tsp of Season with Spice’s Aleppo Chili Flakes 

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tsp honey

1. In a large salad bowl, add in the thinly shredded kale, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Lightly coat your hands with about a teaspoon of oil and ‘massage’ the leaves by lightly kneading them for about 3-5 minutes, or until the leaves are softened and turn a vibrant green. By massaging the kale, it gives them a tender texture and a sweeter flavor.
2.  Add in raisins, cranberries, pine nuts or sunflower seeds, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and honey. Toss the mixture well to combine.
3. Sprinkle in Sweet Ginger Sea Salt, sumac berry powder and Aleppo chili flakes. Toss again to combine. Have a taste and add in more lemon juice & seasonings if desired. Shave in more cheese as a garnish. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

- To make prep easier, cook the quinoa in advance. It keeps well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, or longer in the freezer. You can also clean and shred the kale up to 2-3 days before preparing the salad (just keep it in the refrigerator).
* You can add the raisins straight into the salad. But for a softer, juicier flavor, I like to plump the dried fruits first. To plump the raisins, place them in a small bowl and cover with hot boiling water. Let steep for 10 minutes, then strain out the water.