19 February 2014

kale with quinoa in the heart of winter

The heart of winter has settled in like a thick wool blanket of snow tucking us down for the season. Ohio winters can be long, a stretch of time that is pulled and tugged until only a thin sheer layer exists, but it still exists. I don’t dislike winter, in fact I long for the excitement of wearing over-sized sweaters, warm fitted hats and tall fleece lined boots. The early days of winter always put a smile on my face and make me giddy and giggly like a child. I look forward to layering myself on winter white mornings, to the first snowfalls, family ski trips, the comfort of warm stew and hot cocoas made from scratch. But there comes a point when I look forward to letting go of the frigid air that whips around, I look forward to releasing winter and the bitter harshness that accompanies it. It’s on these days I seek comfort in the kitchen.

The earthy scent of kale reminds me of summer when our garden grows wild and my hands are always tinted with dirt. In the far corner of our yard a garden grows next to a wooded forest. The ritual of digging and planting, weeding and trimming, picking and nurturing brings a sense of peace and calm to the summer hours. Somehow, kale finds its way into our meals nearly daily: smoothie drinks, chips, salads, pastas and more. One of my favorite kale dishes to make is kale with quinoa. It is simply one of the easiest dishes, can be doubled (or even tripled), prepared for lunch or dinner, be topped with roasted vegetables, chicken or salmon and is ideal for packing in school lunches.


Kale with Quinoa and red wine vinaigrette
Serves about 6

1 large bunch of kale (I prefer Lacinato)
2 ½ cups cooked quinoa
2 medium carrots, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 English cucumber, diced
1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3 medium golden beets, roasted or steamed, peeled and diced

Prep all vegetables by thoroughly cleaning, peeling if necessary and dicing. Thoroughly rinse the kale and cut into small pieces with kitchen sheers, set aside. Cook quinoa by adding one cup uncooked quinoa to two cups water or broth, bring to a boil then turn heat to medium and cover for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes. You can also cook according to the package.

Mix vegetables and quinoa together in a large bowl, toss in the cut kale and add the red wine vinaigrette dressing. You may not need all of the dressing, use the appropriate amount to your desired taste.

Red wine vinaigrette

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients briskly with a whisk until smooth. Season to taste, if necessary.

I paired the kale and quinoa salad with seared salmon and a glass of Ferrari Carano 2012 Chardonnay. This full-bodied wine “Delivers a refreshingly clean burst of ripe, citrus-laced fruit, with tangerine, nectarine and green apple notes and a mouthwatering finish" quoted Wine Spectator. In my opinion, this wine never fails.

This post was originally published over on my lovely friend Meghan's site The Free Bird Sings.


  1. Oh wow this meal looks so good and healthy too, thanks for sharing your recipe!

    1. thanks jennifier ;) if you ever make it let me know how it turns out. I always wing my recipes so I would love feedback!


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