One of the best ways to help with weight loss or weight prevention is to plan ahead. Leaving your meals up to chance results in fast food stops, trips to the vending machine, and a lot of excess calories. If you can pile up on the weekends with fresh fruits and veggies, you’ll keep yourself eating in the right direction. I wanted to create this salad for the working girl in mind- someone who needs to make things ahead of time and bring lunch to work with them for later in the day. Making food that will sit is tricky. You don’t want things to get soggy or the flavors to become flat.
This salad stays fresh and light even after sitting for hours in the refrigerator. You can make it the night before as well, just be sure to toss the dressing in right before you eat it.
The base of this salad is a mix of kale and quinoa, two of the best foods you can eat throughout the day. Kale is a great source of vitamins and fiber, while quinoa is full of protein, which keeps you full long after you eat it. It’s a great combination to get your through your long work day. I’ve made another salad like this, my sister’s Kale and Quinoa Winter Salad, which has a sweet kick of cranberries and raisins. This is a salty and savory salad with bell peppers, red onion, and avocado. I’ve tossed it in a simple lemon and garlic vinaigrette, which is the poor man’s version of a caesar salad. This is very filling if you wish to eat it by itself, but would go great with a few grilled shrimp or a chicken breast.
Kale and Quinoa Summer Salad
½ cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
3 cups packed kale, stems removed
1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
⅓ cup red onion, small dice
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
For the Dressing:
1 large lemon, zest and juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
3 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring the 1 cup of water to a boil in a small sauce pot. Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to low, so that the quinoa cooks on a very slow simmer. Cook for about 12 minutes, or until the quinoa has puffed and is cooked through.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, slice the vegetable and make the dressing. I prefer to cut the kale very fine, so that is resembles confetti. It tosses in with the other ingredients well this way. Chop the bell pepper, avocado, and red onion to a small dice.
3. Make the dressing by whisking the ingredients together, whisking the olive oil in last to create an emulsion. Note that this is not a lot of dressing! The salad has a lot of flavors already, so this really is to just boost them, not fully coat it. You can 1½ the recipe to achieve a coated texture.
4. When the quinoa has finished cooking, pour it into a medium sized bowl. Stir the quinoa to release as much of the heat as you can. Add the kale (this helps to wilt it nicely and soften it up) and toss well to combine. Add the remaining ingredients to the salad and toss well.
5. If you are serving the salad immediately, add the dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. If you are reserving the salad for later in the day or week, season with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate. Only toss the dressing right before you are going to eat the salad.