Kale Quinoa Salad

bowl of kale quinoa salad with walnuts and chopped prunes

Chopped kale, warm quinoa, toasted walnuts, sweet prunes drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar = one of my favorite salads!

Easy ✅

Economical ✅

Leftovers ✅

Good for you ✅

Well, hello! A lunch salad or salad for dinner, this is a healthyish, feel good and good-to-eat salad. It’s economical, quick to fix, rich in fiber and makes enough for leftovers that keeps well plus delivers healthy dividends.

How to make Kale Quinoa Salad

Make once, eat more than that

I love recipes that are worth the cooking time. This one keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge. So it’s great to pack for lunch or grab from the fridge to catch your next Zoom meeting.

Quinoa cooks in about 15 minutes. While it’s cooking, toast the nuts for about 12 minutes at 350℉. Chop the kale. Roll the leaves up like a cigar and thinly slice the ‘cigar.’ Pour warm quinoa over kale. Drizzle with vinegar and oil. Toss in nuts and prunes (or your favorite dried fruit).

The ingredients

  • Quinoa and walnuts kale provide protein (helps you feel full).
  • Kale, prunes, and walnuts deliver fiber (aids digestion)
  • Walnuts add crunch and healthy fats
  • Prunes add naturally sweet chewy bites (makes it taste good)
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a quick and easy dressing

Make this work for what you have. Substitute a whole-grain you have on hand. Use dried cranberries, raisins, or apricots rather than prunes. No walnuts? Use pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds.

chopped fresh kale
roll kale like a cigar, chop
pan of cooked quinoa
fluff quinoa with fork
bowl of fresh chopped kale with quinoa on top
pour warm quinoa over kale
Bowl of kale, quinoa salad with fruit and nuts in background.
Kale Quinoa Salad topped with toasted walnuts and chopped prunes

Is kale good for you? Or the kale conundrum

Kale has a reputation. Kind of like homework. It’s good for you but tough to like. It’s true kale delivers multiple health benefits, with potassium, vitamins and minerals. But it’s chewy texture and bitter taste, often keeps it off your plate.

How to make kale better or less bitter?

In this recipe, quick cooking warm quinoa is poured over chopped kale, which softens it. Then a 3-ingredient vinaigrette mellows the kale even more. Stir in crunchy walnuts and sweet prunes for an upscale salad that keeps well. I mean, it almost hides the kale.

bowl of kale and quinoa salad with prunes and walnuts

High Five Fiber Challenge

I created a free, 5-day challenge you can join by clicking this link. You’ll get tips and tools, resources and recipes to create your own roadmap to meet your fiber goals toward high fiber meals. Don’t ya? Won’t ya? Seriously, it’s only 5 days 😉 Find it right here.

How to cook quinoa

Quinoa is a quick cooking grain. Like 15 minutes quick. It’s a good source of protein and fiber. And in this recipe the warm quinoa softens the kale. That’s a mouthful of benefits!

Considered an ancient grain, the Incas called it “the mother grain.” It cooks quickly, and the tiny seeds unfurl as they absorb liquid. When quinoa seeds uncurl and you see a little tail, it’s finished cooking. Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork to keep it from compacting.

cooked quinoa grains on a knife blade
How do you know when it’s cooked? Look for the quinoa to unfurl a tail. It’s done!

Find quinoa near the rice at the grocery store (or buy through the link). It’s technically a seed, which makes it gluten free. Bulgur or another cooked grain can be substituted in this recipe.

MORE lunch ideas

Bowl of kale, quinoa salad with fruit and nuts in background.

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Kale Quinoa Salad

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6 ingredients add up to an easy salad you’ll want for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Author: registered dietitian Judy Barbe
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 7 cups
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: stove
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean


  • 3-4 cups fresh kale, 10-16-ounce package or a bunch

  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa (see substitution list)

  • ¼ cup prunes (or dried cranberries, raisins, apricots) 

  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted, chopped (or pecans, hazelnuts or almonds)

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Walnuts Heat oven to 350℉. Place walnuts in single layer on baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Remover and allow to cool.

Quinoa Add 1 cup water to small saucepan, stir in 1/2 cup quinoa. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let sit for 5 minutes, stir lightly with a fork.

Kale Chop kale, include the stems.

Prunes chop each prune into 6-8 pieces.

Assemble combine quinoa, kale, prunes, walnuts. Drizzle vinegar and oil over and toss to combine.

Additions drained garbanzo or cannellini beans, goat cheese, cauliflower rice, roasted squash cubes



Bulgur can be substituted for the quinoa. So can wheat berries, farro, or spelt, but these are longer-cook grains


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