Quinoa and kale salad with avocado & strawberries
This salad is a combination of some of my favourite ingredients that just happen to marry together beautifully. There are lots of different textures and flavours that make it special - the burst of freshness and sweetness from the strawberries, the creaminess from the avocado and the crunch from the walnuts.
This salad also packs a serious punch in terms of nutrition:
- protein and dietary fibre from the quinoa
- healthy fats from the avocado, walnuts and extra virgin olive oil
- iron, calcium and a host of vitamins from the kale
- vitamin C from the strawberries
A salad that is both seriously good for you and delicious - winning!
Ingredients for the salad:
2 cups of white quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and then drained (you must rinse your quinoa well to remove the bitter taste which comes from the saponin, a naturally occurring chemical that coats every grain of quinoa)
1 small bunch of kale (I prefer to use the tuscan kale variety as I love the texture, taste and appearance of the super dark green leaves but you can also use the more common curly kale or even baby spinach leaves if you prefer)
500g strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
A large handful of continental parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted in a frying pan
I large avocado, sliced
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for the dressing:
1½ Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
3 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp rice malt syrup (optional)
⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Place your well-rinsed quinoa in a saucepan with 3 cups of water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 12-14 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to stand, covered, for another 10 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork and then transfer the quinoa into a large salad/serving bowl and allow it to cool.
To make the dressing, add all the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together until well combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
To prepare you kale, remove the leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Roughly chop the kale. Place it in a bowl and drizzle over 3 tsp of olive oil. Massage the oil into the kale with you hands. This helps soften the kale leaves and makes them more digestible.
Once the quinoa has cooled, add the kale and pour over the dressing. Toss gently to combine.
Add the strawberries, sliced avocado, parsley and walnuts and toss again gently to combine.
Serves 4-5 as a side salad (or 2-3 as a meal in itself)