Red Quinoa and Kale Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts and Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

This hearty, healthy salad is loaded with crunchy hazelnuts, whole grain quinoa, and tender kale. The combination of sweet dried cherries and a tangy honey balsamic dressing complements the nutty, savory flavors of the grains and greens to create a delicious side dish for any occasion.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dry red quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cups thinly sliced kale leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup toasted Oregon hazelnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

 

Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

To cook the quinoa, add it to a medium saucepot and pour in the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Add the kale to a medium bowl and pour in the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with the ¼ teaspoon salt. Use clean or gloved hands to squeeze the kale, massaging the oil and salt into the greens. Massage for about 30 seconds. The kale will look slightly wilted. Set aside.

Transfer the cooled quinoa to the bowl with the kale. Add the hazelnuts, cherries, and feta.

To make the dressing, whisk together the shallot, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey in a small bowl until all ingredients are combined into a dark dressing. Stir the salt and the pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat all ingredients well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.