Warm Kale & Quinoa Salad

mains recipes Mar 01, 2023

If you're not a fan big of kale salads, let me introduce you to your new favorite hack. This Warm Kale & Quinoa Salad will make just about anyone a kale believer. It's so dang nutritious and a tasty, balanced meal to add to your rotation.

Sautéing the kale with other veggies like carrots and bell pepper makes all the difference, as it breaks down the tough plant fibers that can make kale difficult to digest for some.

And while we're on the topic, why don't you check out some of these other tasty, nourishing recipes to get you to hop on the kale bandwagon:

In addition to all of the veggies, quinoa is another star in this recipe, and it's a staple in much of my cooking as well. Quinoa is a seed rather than a grain, like many believe it to be.

Not only is it super versatile, but it's also one of the few plant-based sources of "complete protein" meaning it provides all of the essential amino acids. It's one of my favorite complex carbohydrates to incorporate into balanced meals like salads, grains bowls and more.

Now onto the fun stuff - the flavor factor. I talk about this in my Ultimate Meal Prep Guide, but intentionally adding flavor into your meals is truly the KEY to making healthy eating fun and enjoyable.

In this case, the tahini dressing and the spices used on the crispy chickpeas bring so much more depth of flavor to this salad than you're likely used to with a boring old iceberg monstrosity...

Add all of these components together, and you have an incredibly nourishing, balanced meal that might change your mind on kale and quinoa forever!

Yields 4 servings


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of kale, de-ribbed and de-stemmed, torn into pieces
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa (from about 3/4 cup uncooked) - you could also sub for farro if preferred
  • 1 bell pepper, de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 carrots (depending on size), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • Sliced avocado and grilled chicken to serve (optional)

Tahini Dressing

  • ¼ cup runny tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • tablespoons water, more to thin if needed
  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed or grated (or sub for 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Crispy Chickpeas

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin


  1. Make the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste. Store any extras in a jar in the fridge.
  2. To make the crispy chickpeas, rinse and drain chickpeas, then dry them completely. Place chickpeas on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until golden and crispy. While warm, toss in paprika and cumin.
  3. To make the salad, add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add kale, carrots, peppers, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for ~5 minutes, until veggies are beginning to soften.
  5. Add cooked quinoa, slivered almonds and cilantro. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until quinoa is warmed through.
  6. Toss the salad in the tahini dressing.
  7. Top with your crispy chickpeas, cilantro, sliced avocado, and additional protein like grilled chicken if desired. Enjoy!


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