Quinoa is such a versatile food, so we often have it for dinner. The question becomes, “what are we adding to it?” You can take it any direction you want…Mexican, Mediterranean, Thai, dry, soupy, bland, spicy, etc. And when you keep the basics on hand, you can easily rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to decide.
Meals are easier and easier to make the more we make them, so when we find something we like, we don’t mind eating it often. I do, however, like adding recipes to our repertoire, and it was time for another quick and easy dish to add to the mix! This quinoa salad was PERFECTION!
With almost every dish you’ll find here on Fueling with Real Food, you can tweak it so it works for you and your family – what they like, dislike, what you keep in stock, what you don’t, etc. I provide measurements for those who like clear cut instructions, but the measurements are usually based on personal preference and/or the recipes that inspired the version I’m sharing. Don’t feel bound to the ingredient list.
While I’ll always encourage you to make it your own dish, I might also nudge you to try it like it’s written first. I truly loved this one just the way it turned out. The next time we make it, I’m sure we’ll add another vegetable or two just to mix it up, but I don’t know that it’ll get any better! It’ll just keep it from getting repetitive.
ON MY SCALE, THIS DISH IS A 10 OUT OF 10!
- Real Food – YES
- Gluten-free – YES
- Vegan – YES
- Quick – YES
- Easy – YES
- Accessible Ingredients – YES
- Modifiable – YES
- Healthy Fats – YES
- Plant-based Protein – YES
- Full of fiber – YES
ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS:
- Quinoa. We used quinoa (because I love it and think it’s the best and healthiest), but feel free to use brown rice if that’s what you have on hand.
- Kale. I used bagged organic kale, so I discarded only a couple small stems. I still chopped he hell out of it though (see pic). I LOVED the kale (and think you should try it whether you like kale or not), but if you can’t get your family to eat it, I suggest lying to them 😉 or simply replacing it with spinach in order to keep those added nutrients.
- Kidney Beans. Kidney beans have a tiny bit more protein than black beans, but that’s not why I picked them. I went with kidney beans because I feel like they get overlooked…at least in our house.
- Bell Pepper. All bell peppers are nutritional, and each has their claim to fame, so you could use any color and keep the salad nutrient dense. If you’re going for presentation, I would go with red, orange, or yellow; you have green covered with kale, jalapeno, cilantro.
- Onions. While you could use any onion, the red onion is the prettiest of all of them, and they’re great in salads.
- Cilantro. I love this salad because of the freshness, and a lot of that comes from the cilantro and lime juice. I suppose you could add less if you’re not a cilantro cheerleader. 😊
- Lime Juice. Again, I love the freshness, and the lime juice completes it. If you want to add a little less, or even a little more, go for it.
SELECTING THE EQUIPMENT:
- Large mixing or serving bowl (for salad)
- Medium sauce pan (for quinoa)
- Measuring cup & spoons
- Cutting board & knife
- Strainer to drain & rinse beans (if you have one handy)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups kale, finely chopped, stems removed
- 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used red)
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, chopped (keep seeds to add spice)
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- Fresh lime juice, 3-4 limes (I used 4)
- 1/3 cup avocado or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of pink salt
- Cook quinoa according to package. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Once completely cooled, combine all the ingredients in a large mixing/salad bowl and toss.
*If you want it chilled, just place in the fridge until ready to serve.
HAPPY & HEALTHY