Autumn Kale and Quinoa Salad With Hazelnuts and Cranberries

Autumn Kale and Quinoa Salad With Hazelnuts and Cranberries

Could you ever think of salad as comfort food? With this cozy kale and quinoa salad, you will be in a heaven of nourishment. I made it for a Thanksgiving feast and it's become a staple in my home.  

Autumn Kale and Quinoa Salad

1 cup uncooked quinoa, washed and patted dry
1 ¼ c. water 
½ t. salt
1-2 oranges, cut into segments or wedges, reserving any juice
1 bunch organic kale, washed, de-stemmed, and chopped or torn into bite sized pieces
A few handfuls of whole baby kale leaves, stems removed if desired
½ c. roasted hazelnuts (If you can find them at your local grocer, do not substitute these. They really add  lusciousness!)
2-4 T. dried unsweetened or less-sweet cranberries, plus additional for garnish


½ c. Lemon juice
3 T. Sunflower seed butter
3 T. Tahini
2 T. Honey 
2 T. White wine vinegar
¼ c. Olive oil
Salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Water for a thinner consistency, if desired

To make:

In a dry medium saucepan, add the quinoa grains and cook, stirring, until fragrant and toasted. Grains will make a popping sound when ready. Add the water and salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Stir once, then cook for an additional 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Set aside, lid slightly removed to release steam, until cool.

Remove any skins from the roasted hazelnuts; chop roughly and set aside. 

Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients except water, salt & pepper. Dressing will be thick. Add seasonings to taste and adjust as needed. Add water a tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency.

To assemble the salad, toss kale, quinoa, hazelnuts, and cranberries in a large salad bowl. Pour half or more of the dressing over the salad and blend well. Add orange wedges and toss lightly. Sprinkle with any reserved orange juice and garnish with extra cranberries. Serve additional dressing on the side if you wish.

TIP: Double the recipe for quick & simple lunches for the week.

Dressing alternative:

Spicy Sunflower Dressing (sugar free)

3 T. Lemon juice
3 T. Sunflower seed butter
1 T. Apple cider vinegar
1 t. Chili garlic paste
Salt to taste

Whisk all ingredients. This dressing is strong and flavorful, so adjust everything to taste. Use for kale salad or for dipping raw sliced veggies.

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