Kale Quinoa Autumn Salad

Comfort food is the epitome of fall. When the air is chilled and I'm lounging in layers, I want to eat like a King, not like a rabbit.  But when I shed those layers off in the Spring, I don't want a pudgy soft frame to accompany my new pair of shorts and sandals. Ain't no one got time for that.

Most comfort food is choke full of unnecessary calories and carbs. You know...pastas, casseroles, cream sauces...all full of cheese, sodium, and likely some hidden crop oils and preservatives. This Kale & Quinoa Autumn Salad embodies everything I want out of my comfort food, including exceptional nutrition.

I know what you're thinking. A kale salad? Comfort food? Are you kidding me Laurenda? Okay, you're right, maybe I have lost it. I did just label a Kale Salad "comfort food"...

But no, seriously, the chopped kale mixed with hearty quinoa, roasted sweet potato, caramelized onions, and toasty pecans all smothered in an apple cider dressing screams comfort, to me anyways! My taste buds and belly agree wholeheartedly. Maybe I'm a weird breed, but I truly enjoy the flavors of food in their natural form. I am happy that's what I am accustom to liking and craving. Real food for the win!

Kale Quinoa Autumn Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • For the Salad

  • 6 cups kale, rinsed and chopped small

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked)

  • 1 medium white onion

  • 1 medium sweet potato

  • 1/3 cup pecans

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

  • dash of cinnamon

  • salt to taste

  • For the Apple Cider Dressing

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tsp honey

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.

  2. Thoroughly rinse the kale and pat dry. Peel leaves away from tough stems and chop into small pieces, about 6 cups worth.

  3. Place kale in a large bowl, pour dressing over top, and message into kale with hands until thoroughly coated. Set in fridge for at least 2 hours. The dressing will help to soften up the thick kale leaves.

  4. Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside to cool.

  5. Preheat the oven to 375*. Dice the onion, and peel the sweet potato and chop into small pieces (about 1/2 inch cubes).

  6. Coat the sweet potato with the 1 tbsp olive oil, a dash of cinnamon, and salt to taste. Place in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, until potatoes begin to turn brown.

  7. Meanwhile, warm the coconut oil in a fry pan over medium heat, and add the onion, sauteing until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

  8. Finally, toast the pecans over medium heat until they begin to brown. Chop into small pieces when cooled.

  9. Add the cooked quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, and sauteed onion to the kale and mix well. Add salt to taste. Top with the toasted chopped pecans before serving.

  10. Salad can be served chilled from fridge, or part warm if using the quinoa, sweet potato, and onion straight from heat.