Serve this Kale Cranberry Quinoa Salad this holiday season. This kale quinoa salad is loaded with flavor and sure to delight guests!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Perfect fall side salad – This kale quinoa salad is one of my favorite side salads. It is made with just a few ingredients, but still has a complex flavor. It is healthy, filling, and delicious.
- Easily make it a full meal – This quinoa salad with cranberries rounds out a meal as a side dish, but it can also be an entree. It pairs well with many proteins. I like to top it with chicken, fish or shrimp for a simple meal prep.
- Customize to fit your needs – Change up this kale quinoa salad recipe to use whatever ingredients you have on hand. Instead of using cranberries and almonds, top your kale and quinoa with quartered cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumbers, and feta. Have fun and really put your own spin on it!
This is the perfect side salad to serve with your favorite protein. It is fantastic with this Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin. I also like to serve it with some of the following recipes:
This kale and quinoa salad with cranberries would also be a great addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas meals. Add it to this simpleThanksgiving dinner menu for a balanced meal!
It pairs well with all the traditional holiday meal staples like turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole or sweet potatoes! A robust salad with your holiday feast sounds pretty great to me.
Kale and Quinoa Salad Ingredients
- Sliced almonds
- Curly kale
- Dried cranberries
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Maple syrup
- Black pepper
Additional topping ideas
This kale and quinoa salad is completely vegan, but if you like dairy I recommend adding a crumbly cheese. Goat cheese and feta cheese would both make really great additions to this salad.
I chose toasted sliced almonds to accompany this salad, but sunflower seeds, walnuts or pecans would be delicious additions.
You could also add a drizzle of balsamic reduction on top to enhance the taste of this salad.
I used curly kale for this kale salad recipe, but you could also use lacinato kale (sometimes called dinosaur kale or tuscan kale) or baby kale instead. If you use baby kale you do not need to spend time massaging the kale with the dressing.
I used white quiona, but you can certainly use red quinoa or tri-color quinoa instead. If you don’t like quinoa, you can use the same amount of brown rice or wild rice.
To add a little more flavor you can mix a finely diced red onion or some minced garlic into the dressing. Use lemon juice or another type of vinegar in place of the apple cider vinegar.
How to make this Kale Cranberry Quinoa Salad
Step 1: prepare the Quinoa
To begin, bring water and quinoa to a boil in a small sauce pot. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot (Image 1).
Step 2: Toast the Almonds
Next, heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the almonds in the skillet until they are golden brown (Image 2).
Be sure to toss frequently and watch closely so they don’t burn. Remove the almonds from the pan and set them to the side to cool.
Step 3: Chop kale and combine ingredients
Devein and chop the kale into thin shreds. Add the cooked quinoa, toasted almonds, and dried cranberries to the bowl with kale.
Step 4: prepare vinaigrette, toss and serve
Combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl (Image 3). Toss everything with the dressing and serve (Image 4).
You can also take time to massage the kale in the dressing before mixing in the other ingredients. This is not necessary, but will result in a softer kale salad.
Store this kale and quinoa salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can prepare this salad ahead of time although it is best when eaten immediately after tossing in the dressing. If you want to make it ahead of time, prepare all of the ingredients. Then, toss it in the dressing until just before you serve it.
Check out these other simple salad recipes
You can find the full recipe below. If you make this recipe, please rate and review it in the comments, or share it with me on Instagram!
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 16oz curly kale with the stems removed
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil in a small sauce pot. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer until all of the water is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork.
- While the quinoa cooks, heat a nonstick skillet over med-low heats. Toast almonds in the skillet until golden brown. Toss frequently and watch them so they don’t burn.
- Chop kale into thin shreds. Pour cooked quinoa, toasted almonds and dried cranberries into the bowl with the kale.
- In a small bowl combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and dijon mustard. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine fully and serve!
** You can also take time to massage the kale in the dressing before mixing in the other ingredients. This is not necessary, but will result in a softer kale salad.
- Best if enjoyed immediately. Can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Substitute dried cranberries with raisins
- Substitute almonds with any toasted and chopped nuts that you like
- You can use cooked and cooled wild rice in place of cooked quinoa