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Mustard Quinoa, Cranberry, and Kale Salad

Mustard Quinoa, Cranberry, and Kale Salad

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  • 1 cup red or black quinoa
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • 2 tablespoons prepared English mustard
  • 4 large kale leaves, center ribs and stems removed, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, preferably unsweetened or sweetened with apple juice
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted pecans

Recipe Preparation

  • Rinse quinoa in water. Drain and place in a medium size heavy pot; add 2 cups water and season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until a curly string-like germ has separated from the circular part, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

  • Meanwhile, whisk oil, lemon zest and juice, and mustard in a bowl until smooth and creamy; season mustard dressing with salt.

  • Transfer quinoa to a bowl and drizzle with mustard dressing; toss to coat. Divide kale among serving plates; top with quinoa, cranberries, and pecans, dividing equally. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Recipe by David Tamarkin, David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl,Photos by Johanna FrenkelReviews Section

Quinoa Broccoli Slaw with Honey-Mustard Dressing

Confession: I wanted to include this tangy broccoli slaw recipe in my epic salads roundup (it deserves to be in it), but the photos were so green and unappetizing that I couldn’t do it. All I could think when I looked at the post was, “Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit!”

Today, I’m re-sharing it with better photos and pushing it to the top of the blog in case you have overlooked it the past couple of years. Ribbit!

Even with a pop of complementary color (the coral napkin), the slaw is undeniably very green as written. I’ve heard from some commenters who have added some color with dried cranberries or chopped apple, which sound like delicious additions to me.

This broccoli slaw was roughly inspired by an awesome mayo-free broccoli and potato salad that my friend Sarah brought to a spring potluck two years ago. It’s not too far off from my Greek broccoli salad and colorful beet and quinoa salad, but it was just too good to keep to myself.

Shredded broccoli florets form the foundation for this slaw, which you can easily make yourself in a food processor (or you can skip a step and buy pre-shredded broccoli slaw).

Cooked quinoa blends right in, thanks to its similar texture and complementary flavor. Add toasty almonds, a tangy honey-mustard dressing and chopped basil for little bursts of freshness flavor, and you have one fantastic mayo-free broccoli slaw.

Kale and Quinoa Salad from Love Real Food

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Many of you likely know Kathryn Taylor, author of the beautiful blog, Cookie and Kate, and the recently released Love Real Food, which, like her blog, is filled with vibrant photos and inspiring vegetarian recipes (not to mention adorable photos of her adorable pup, Cookie). I want to make everything, namely the make-your-own instant oatmeal mix (I love oats!), the best-ever guacamole with toasted pepitas, every cocktail, and the sweet potato, poblano, and black bean enchiladas.

So far I’ve made two: a kale caesar salad with a tahini dressing (yum!) and the kale and quinoa salad featured here — no such thing as too many kale salad recipes, right?

This one has a lemony-mustard dressing, dried cranberries that plump with the cooked quinoa, crisp celery, toasted almonds, and goat cheese. It comes together in a snap and has been a welcomed addition to the summer salad rotation — a great use for so many of my CSA greens, too: Swiss chard, arugula, lettuce. What’s more? It keeps well in the fridge for days, making it perfect for lunch-on-the-go or a picnic at the beach. I find it irresistible, and while it’s a great side salad, it’s nearly a meal in itself.

I’m so looking forward to exploring Love Real Food more. As always, I’ll keep you posted.

Quinoa, Kale, Cranberry and Pecan Salad

This quinoa kale salad with cranberries and pecans is a light, healthy salad that comes together quickly and is easy to make. A great choice for lunch or a healthy side for dinner.

  • Author: Geraldine
  • Prep Time: 12 mins
  • Cook Time: 14 mins
  • Total Time: 26 minutes
  • Yield: 2 to 4 1 x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American


  • 4 cups baby kale
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa – cook quinoa as per the package instructions
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove minced or put through a press
  • 8 twists of black pepper from a pepper mill
  • 1 squeeze of honey – about 1 tsp
  • 2 tbs red onion – minced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 ounces of feta – cubed


  1. Roughly chop the baby kale and place in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, minced garlic, black pepper and honey. Pour half of the dressing over the chopped kale.
  3. Cook dry quinoa according to package instructions. Add 1 veggie bouillon cube to the water.
  4. Add minced red onion, cranberries, chopped pecans and feta to the kale and toss gently.
  5. When the quinoa is done and cooled slightly, add it to the bowl with the kale, red onion, cranberries, pecans and feta.
  6. Toss with remaining dressing and serve.


If you make and enjoy this recipe, please leave a message and rating letting me know what you think.


  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 12 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 / 4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cup kale, chopped
  • 2 cup baby spinach, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Spread cranberries and garlic flat over parchment paper. Brush lightly with olive oil.
  3. Roast garlic and cranberries together for 20 to 25 minutes or until cranberries are wrinkled. Let cool. Peel and chop garlic.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to package directions. Let cool.

Autumn Kale Salad with Fennel, Honeycrisp and Goat Cheese

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 large salads or 4 side salads 1 x
  • Category: Salad

Healthy kale salad featuring shaved fennel, chopped honeycrisp apple, toasted pepitas, dried cranberries and goat cheese, tossed in a lemony dressing. This recipe yields 2 large, full-meal salads or 4 side salads.



  • 1 very large bunch of kale
  • 1 medium Honeycrisp apple
  • 1 medium bulb of fennel
  • 3 ounces chilled goat cheese, crumbled (to yield about ⅓ cup crumbled goat cheese)
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or chopped pecans


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Several twists of freshly ground black pepper


  1. To prepare the kale: Use a chef’s knife to remove the tough ribs from the kale, then discard the ribs. Chop the kale leaves into small, bite-sized pieces. Transfer the chopped kale to a big salad bowl. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands by lightly scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color and fragrant.
  2. To prepare the remaining salad ingredients: Chop the apple into small, bite-sized pieces. Use a chef’s knife or mandoline to slice the fennel as thin as possible. Transfer the prepared apple and fennel to the salad bowl. Use a fork to crumble the goat cheese over the salad. Roughly chop the cranberries and add them to the bowl.
  3. To toast the pepitas: In a skillet over medium-low heat, toast the nuts, tossing frequently, until fragrant and starting to make little popping noises, about 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer the pepitas to a bowl to cool.
  4. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until emulsified.
  5. To prepare the salad: Add the cooled pepitas to the salad bowl. Drizzle dressing over the salad, just enough to lightly coat the kale once tossed (you might have some leftover dressing). Toss the salad well. For best flavor, let the salad rest for 10 minutes before serving.


Make it dairy free/vegan: Skip the goat cheese. Diced avocado is nice with this salad if you want to make up for lost creaminess.
Storage suggestions: This salad keeps well in the fridge, covered, for a couple of days. It’s a great pack-for-lunch option.
Change it up: Trade other fall/winter produce for the fennel and apple. I think cubed and roasted butternut squash would be delicious.

▸ Nutrition Information

By Kathryne Taylor

Vegetable enthusiast. Dog lover. I'm probably making a big mess in my Kansas City kitchen right now.
More about Cookie and Kate »

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Kale Cranberry and Almond Quinoa Salad

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings as a side 1 x


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups chopped kale

For the Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Pepper


  1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Let cool and fluff.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, make your lemon vinaigrette. In a small jar, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and mustard. Cover jar and shake well to combine.
  3. Add in olive oil and vigorously shake until incorporated. Add in a dash of pepper.
  4. Once quinoa is cool, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, cover with the lemon vinaigrette and toss.

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Recipe Summary

  • ⅔ cup quinoa
  • 1 ⅓ cups water
  • 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ avocado - peeled, pitted, and diced
  • ½ cup chopped cucumber
  • ⅓ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring the quinoa and 1 1/3 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Place kale in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water in a saucepan. Cover saucepan with a lid and steam kale until hot, about 45 seconds transfer to a large plate. Top kale with quinoa, avocado, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, and feta cheese.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sea salt, and black pepper together in a bowl until the oil emulsifies into the dressing pour over the salad.

Massaged Kale and Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Feta

This massaged kale salad is inspired by a dish I recently shared with two of my closest friends, on a mini friend reunion out in San Francisco, California.

We drove down to half moon bay one afternoon and got comfortable sitting by the fire pits, overlooking the gorgeous coastline at the Moss Beach Distillery. With beers on hand we sat there for hours soaking up the warmth from both the fire and the sun shining overhead.

Eventually we decided to order lunch. And this is where I first came face to face with this delicious massaged kalesalad with cranberries and feta . I love quinoa salads but have always made them very quinoa heavy, as in the salad is more grains than greens.

This salad though is the exact opposite. It is mostly kale with the quinoa grains lightly hugging the bright green leaves. You can spot the quinoa and even taste it, but ever so slightly. It doesn’t overpower the dish. The kale is the star here.

The dried cranberries, feta were easy to distinguish but the nuts were a bit mysterious. The three of us couldn’t quite figure out what they were. They didn’t taste like walnuts, cashews, pistachios or pecans. Hazelnuts? Also no.

Macadamias, that’s the nut here. Macadamias are seriously under-rated and I never see them used in recipes. The only recipe I can think of off the top of my head with macadamias are white chocolate macadamia cookies.

These nuts need to be used more frequently in savory dishes. They’re delicious. Hearty, and dense and even lightly smoky when toasted. Hmmm just the perfect crunch in the salad.

After snapping a photo of the salad listed on the menu I knew I would have to re-create this myself. Not too difficult to throw together either.

Though I did need to learn about “massaging kale” first. Sounds strange right? When my friend asked if I massage my kale before making salads I simply shrugged, making a mental note to investigate this further.

Well as it turns out if you add a bit of salt or oil to the kale and gently knead it in your hands after 2-3 minutes you will actually see the kale turning a more vibrant green color. What’s happening under the surface is you are breaking down the kale, in turn making it easier to digest, therefore better for you and makes the kale pop more while having a softer texture.

Overall this massaged kale salad with quinoa, cranberries and feta is one of my new favorite meals. With the dried cranberries, toasted macadamias and crumbled feta this salad is full of flavor that just pop in your mouth. The lemony mustard oil dressing is ever so slightly sweet and blends all the ingredients together.

If you make this massaged kale salad please let me know what you think in the comments below! I know you’re going to love it, as much as I do!

To make this salad vegan feel free to use a vegan cheese instead of feta.

Hey Nutrition Lady, is kale healthy?

Yes my friends, it sure is. When you make a delicious massaged kale salad with cranberries you&rsquore not only getting a tasty meal, but a big serving of a nutrition powerhouse!

Kale is extraordinarily rich in micronutrients, dietary fiber, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and cancer fighting glucosinolates. Kale is a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, and contains nearly twice the vitamin K (essential for blood clotting and also an important anti-inflammatory agent) than any other cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, cabbage, etc). Recent research has shown that cabbages (including kale) are now seen as more effective than tomatoes at preventing most forms of prostate cancer.

The dietary fiber in kale is known to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Iron, magnesium, vitamin E, folate, and phosphorous are among the complement of vital minerals found in kale.