Kale Quinoa Apple Salad with Maple Almond Vinaigrette

If you had told me I would love a salad without cheese I would have told you, uh you're crazy.

Also, if you had told me I would take to stuffing my face with raw kale I would have told you, uh no way Jose.

I love cheese....(thus no vegan recipes around these parts)

I like kale cooked (see here and here) but the thought of ingesting large amounts of the raw version doesn't exactly pervade my food dreams.

Yet, of all the things I'm excited about stuffing my face with at the moment, THIS SALAD tops the list.

This salad, made of lots of ribboned raw kale, sweet apples, and protein-packed quinoa.

Okay, okay, I did toast the almonds in butter, but one's got to have a little indulgence, right?

This salad is all about texture.

Crisp apples. Crunchy almonds. Chewy quinoa. Nutritious Kale. All brought together in harmony with creamy maple almond vinaigrette. (made with almond butter, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar)

If you need more reasons to try this salad, here are two:

1. Kale is good for your brain.

2. Kale is hearty enough to withstand the dressing without becoming wilted and soggy. Thus, you can make this salad a few hours before you're ready to eat it, and the leftovers are still good the next day.

The secret to loving all this raw kale is that it's chopped up into really small pieces and coated in yummy dressing.

I've also realized that chopped salads are my favorite. There's something immensely satisfying about having all the salad ingredients chopped up into similarly bite-sized pieces. Perhaps it's the ease and rapidity with which you can get your fork to your mouth and back again? Or the fact that each bite is likely to contain a morsel of each one of the different ingredients?

Anyway, if you're ever not stoked about eating a salad, try chopping everything into uniform pieces and then see how you feel.

Right now, I'm feeling like I need another bowl of this.

Kale Quinoa Apple Salad with Maple Almond Vinaigrette

6 cups shredded kale (Lacinato Kale, if you can find it)
1 large Honeycrisp apple, chopped into small pieces
1 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup quinoa (I used red quinoa for color)
1 cup water
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Combine quinoa, water, and onion in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Refrigerate until ready to assemble salad.
*Make a few hours, or up to a day before eating the salad.

In a small skillet, melt butter and add sliced almonds. Stirring frequently, cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned.

In a large bowl, toss together kale, apples, almonds and quinoa.

In a small bowl, whisk together almond butter, maple syrup, vinegars, olive oil, and spices. Pour over salad and toss to coat.

Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

*This recipe makes a ton and could be easily halved.

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.


  1. I must learn to love raw kale. I will write this on the whiteboard 500 times. :)

    This salad looks fantastic and I love the crunch.

  2. Ha, I felt that way before making this salad. It's pretty tasty though.

    Thanks, Maureen!

  3. I love raw kale! And all the crunchy crispy sweet bits in this salad. Though...I might just throw some goat cheese in. Old habits die hard.

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