Saturday, April 8, 2017

Kale Pear Quinoa Salad

This quinoa salad is your new best friend. Once you learn the ways of quinoa and buy the bulk bag at Costco- you and quinoa will be BFF's for life. You can make a quinoa salad in a variety of ways, but I always come back to adding fresh greens, herbs, and sneaking in a fresh fruit and finishing it off with a little crunch of seeds, nuts or maybe even some crispy chickpeas. These are my quinoa salad guides- learn it's ways and you will be forever be inspired by how to mix it up.

It's true- a great earthy, spring salad like this will carry you through till summer. Also once you make a quinoa dish like this, it is easy to see how you can make this same salad a hundred times with mixing in and out whatever fresh or dried ingredients you have on hand. I do this throughout the whole summer with whatever lovely and fresh produce and veg I can scrounge up at the market that week.  Let this recipe be your teacher and before long you will be the master of the quinoa salad.
Kale Pear Quinoa Salad Recipe
{gluten, egg, and soy-free, can be made without nuts, seeds and dairy as well}
1/2 cup of minced red onion
3 grated cloves of garlic
2 TB of olive oil
2 cups of dry quinoa
1 ts. of sea salt
pinch of fresh ground black pepper
4 cups of water

In a medium pot saute 1/2 cup of red onion with 3 grated garlic cloves in olive oil until they get soft and then mix in the dry quinoa and stir around for a minute or two, then add in the water and let it cook until it boils. Then turn down the heat, half cover the pot and let it cook until the water is cooked in. Then when you see no more water, turn off the heat, and cover the pot to let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then add in the following...

1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley
(more or less of the above according to your taste...)

The warm quinoa will help wilt the herbs and cooked quinoa will soak in it's flavor. Let it sit for another few minutes and then pour into your serving bowl and mix in the following...

1 heaping cup of finely chopped lacinato kale
1/4 cup of finely minced fresh red onion
1 fresh bartlet pear cubed, about 1 cup's worth
handful of dried cranberries (or cherries)
handful of crushed pecan (or pumpkin seeds)
diced ripe avocado

Toss all ove the above together and then the following you can add as much or as little as you want...

Sweet Lemon Dressing
1 fresh lemon squeezed
1/3 cup of California olive oil
1/4 cup of pure honey or maple syrup
1-2 TB of apple cider vinegar
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch or dried Italian blend herbs

Put all of the above in a small 1/2 pint jar and shake up until it is all well mixed and emolsified. Then you can pour over the salad or just have available to drizzling over as an option for your guests. 

Also, it is also a great touch to rub the dressing into the fresh chopped kale leaves before mixing as well- it helps the leaves soften and even taste less bitter too.

Also, if you are going to serve and eat right away, finely dice up a ripe avocado to top with as well. Or if you are going to chill and then serve, cover with fresh avocado when you are ready to serve so that avocado stays green and fresh.

optional addition of goat cheese sprinkles over top is a great touch if you can tolerate dairy

Serve warm just like this or if you want this salad can be easily stored in the fridge to pull out as a chilled salad for any gathering. It is a great side dish or could also be the main course- especially if you add some nuts, or you could even add some garbanzo beans for more protein and substance. It is also a great salad to make ahead of time for lunches on the go or for a picnic dinner at the park. It truly is a versitle protein packed delicious meal. 

Much love to you friends, xoxo

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