This kale and quinoa salad is a healthy, protein packed-vegan recipe with tons of garlicky flavor. It’s oil-free and gluten-free, plus, you can make it in advance!

kale and quinoa

Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. Calorie for calorie, kale has tons of good-for-you vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This recipe also uses quinoa, a complete source of protein that contains all nine essential amino acids that your body needs. Great, right? Now we just have to make these things taste good.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

I started with a basic garlicky kale recipe but pumped it up so it could round out as a main dish. Give this one a try!

Tips for the perfect kale salad

  • Remove the kale stems. Bagged kale often has the stems thrown in and the stems are really tough and bitter. Take them out of your salad- you’ll be glad you did!
  • Massage the leaves! You can do this before or after you add the dressing. (I like to do it after because it helps spread the dressing around, but it’s less messy if you do it before!) Literally just squeeze the leaves with your hands. This breaksdown the leaves and makes them softer and easier to chew.
  • Try an acidic dressing. Kale can be a tough green and a dressing with a lot of acid (think: lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, like the recipe below) can help breakdown the kale making it more tender.

Substitution Ideas

  • Try lacinato kale (also called dinosaur kale) in place of curly kale. But make sure you still remove the stems!
  • Use liquid aminos, soy sauce, or tamari. All of them will add a salty, umami flavor.
  • Feel free to use any nuts in place of the almonds. Walnuts and pine nuts are two of my favorites!
  • You can also substitute meat or other grains in place of the quinoa. The goal is to add some protein!
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Kale and Quinoa Salad

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  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Salad


This kale and quinoa salad is a healthy, protein packed-vegan recipe with tons of garlicky flavor. It’s oil-free and gluten-free, plus, you can make it in advance!


  •    1 cup dried quinoa
  •    2 cups vegetable broth
  •    2 bunches of kale (about 8 cups)
  •    2 tablespoons tahini
  •    1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  •    1/4 cup liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
  •    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  •    juice from 1 lemon
  •    1/4 tsp minced garlic
  •    1/4 cup sliced almonds


  1. Rinse the quinoa in cold water. Then drain, and add to a large pot.
  2. Toast the quinoa over medium heat, just until it begins to dry. You’ll have to stir it a lot so it doesn’t burn!
  3. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer for about 12 minutes, or until most of the water has been absorbed.
  5. Set aside to cool and fluff with a fork.
  6. Wash the kale and pat dry.
  7. Tear the kale into pieces, removing the stems.
  8. In a small bowl, or salad dressing shaker, combine the tahini, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and garlic.
  9. Shake until combined.
  10. Pour it over the kale and massage the dressing over the leaves.
  11. Let sit for 30 minutes, to let the kale soften.
  12. Add in the quinoa and almonds, and mix thoroughly. Serve!


kale salad with quinoa

This kale and quinoa salad recipe is super filling. I had some leftovers for lunch yesterday, and it kept me full until the evening. Not to mention this recipe is full of good ingredients! I know some of these things aren’t your standard pantry items, but I promise it’s worth it! (You can also pick up a bottle of Garlic Tahini dressing from Whole Foods if you don’t want to make your own!)

This garlickly kale and quinoa salad is vegan, gluten free, healthy, and delicious! It's loaded with protein and healthy fats with no oil!

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