Organic Kale and Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Avocado, Carrots and Dried Cranberries

This salad screams Whole Foods, and for good reason.  Organic, gluten free (not that that’s a selling point

for me), low carb, high protein, high fiber, and full of those ‘super foods’ we love so much.  I love them.  Super foods are not only healthy, but they leave you satisfied and somehow refreshed after your meal.  You feel good.  You feel energized.  Quinoa and kale might as well be the poster children for super foods.

The trick to super foods, or health foods, is preparing them to be delicious.  Kale on its own isn’t very good.  Quinoa on its own is bland.  Put two bland things together, and you have a recipe for a boring and bland dinner.  So we add things.  Classic pairings that have stood the test of time.  Perhaps a Middle East Tabouleh combination of cucumbers, tomatoes, mint, parsley, and almonds with the quinoa and kale.  Perhaps an Indian combination of mango, coconut, curry, chili peppers, and fried chick peas.  I like to simply things and use dried cranberries, avocados, almonds and feta cheese.  It’s a great combination of flavors, and along with a little lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings, creates a great salad.  The combination works well with the quinoa and kale.  They absorb the flavors, while lending their own unique texture and flavor to the dish.  It works, and it’s one of the reasons that places like Whole Foods feature dishes like this.

The production itself is easy.  The most complicated part is cooking the chicken and quinoa.  Otherwise, it’s a simple salad.  Extraordinary and unique, completely satisfying, and delicious.

Organic Kale and Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Avocado, Carrots and Dried Cranberries

Prep time:  5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield:  3-4 portions

Ingredients:

3 cups organic black kale, leaves only, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup dry cranberries
1/4 cup toasted almond slivers
1 cup organic red quinoa
juice of 2 lemons
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 moderately ripe avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 chicken breasts, herb marinated and fully cooked and cooled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup shredded carrots
cracked back pepper
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method:

Cook the quinoa following the manufacturer’s instructions (or cook exactly as you would rice).  Let the quinoa cool completely.

Mix everything except the chicken in a large mixing bowl.  Taste it and make sure you like the flavor.  If it needs to be brighter, add a little more vinegar or lemon juice.  Add a pinch of salt if necessary.  When you are happy with the flavor, add the chicken.

Serve right away.

Enjoy.

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