Kale, Cranberry & Quinoa Salad

Kale Cranberry Salad

And so it begins. Planning gifts and holiday cards. Ending farewells with “See you next year!”. Emptying the fridge, freezing whatever can be frozen, giving away everything else that can’t. Shelving 2011’s planner, putting up the 2012 calendar. Closing bank accounts, paying bills, putting the mail on hold, sacrificing sleep to finish projects, whatever the cost. A hectic rush to the finish line where the (cramped) space of an airplane seat awaits, free of the shackles of the Internet.

We leave in four hours for our vacation in France, and while I’m really excited, the full prospect of the journey hasn’t had the time to sink in. That’s partly because I’m still sitting here, blogging, trying to delay the inevitable task of packing that awaits. Ah, packing. It’s a good thing that M’s a wonder packer. Can you imagine how horrifying trips would be if I had married someone who was as inept at packing a suitcase as I am?

I shudder at the thought.

Kale Cranberry Salad

So this salad. It’s easy and nutritious to boot. I started experimenting with different grains this year in an attempt to wean ourselves off an over-reliance on dried pasta for weeknight meals. Thanks to some excellent vegetarian cookbooks out there, it was easy to start incorporating a bit of quinoa, farro or cous cous in vegetable dishes for a delicious one-pan meal. Discovering these grains opened up a new universe of quick meals, and while we’re still reaching for the Barilla pack every so often, it’s a lot less frequent compared to our pre-quinoa period.

This salad is a derivation of the kale stuffing from last year’s Thanksgiving dinner. Apart from being a reliable accompaniment to beef or lamb, it’s also well-suited to be tossed with your favorite grain for a quick lunch. In this holiday season where it’s easy to forget why it is that we’re braving relentless crowds or baking up a storm for Christmas gifts, this salad will give you pause to breathe, recharge and empower you to go back out there and tackle the holidays head on.

Kale Cranberry Salad

Kale, Cranberry and Quinoa Salad

Inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Chard Stuffing recipe/ Serves 2 generously

This recipe features kale, but you could easily substitute any leafy winter green, like swiss chard for instance. Add a fried egg to dress things up, or, for your holiday feasts, leave out the grains and serve the kale to accompany your roasts.


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ounces/ 56 grams pine nuts
  • 1/2 pound/ 260 grams kale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot (about 2 ounces/50 grams) peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces/ 85 grams dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Stir the mixture about 10 minutes into cooking to prevent the quinoa from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Set aside.
  2. In an oven heated to 300F/ 150C, toast the pine nuts until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. Remove the stems of the kale, then stack the leaves and thinly slice. Finely chop the stems as well.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the kale and the cranberries, stir, then leave to cook, covered, for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the pine nuts, chili flakes (if using) and salt, stir and leave to cook again, covered, for another 5 minutes. If the kale starts to stick to the pan, add some water, a tablespoon at a time. You want just enough moisture to create steam in the skillet, but not too much to give you a sauce.
  6. Toss the kale mixture and quinoa in a medium bowl and serve immediately, or at room temperature.

Kale Cranberry Salad

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  • Safe travels and have fun!ReplyCancel

  • love quinoa. this dish would make a great side dish on my Christmas table. Love the addition of cranberries :)ReplyCancel

  • This looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Gorgeous photo of that kale leaf! This week at la domestique is dedicated to cooking with dried fruits, and I love your festive combo of kale and cranberries. We have the pasta situation at our house too. I could gladly eat pasta every night, but not the husband. I’m always looking for recipes with a variety of grains to keep things interesting. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • oh man, this is the kind of thing I would love a huge bowl full of in the fridge to eat all week. and that kale picture! Seriously amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Wow, that’s right up my alley! thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • yum, love thisReplyCancel

  • […] KALE, CRANBERRY & QUINOA SALAD <<What a beautiful idea for a healthy and seasonal dish. (Beyond the Plate) […]ReplyCancel

  • This is the time of year people can easily get stuck in a rut trying to come up with some creative dishes…. but this just reminds you that it’s all in just a few ingredients. Keep it simple, keep it natural… and you’ll have good food.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah

    Am I the only one that’s confused at the comment which lists couscous as a grain and a (departure from the dried pasta they’ve been eating)?ReplyCancel

  • This looks really lovely. I’m a new quinoa lover. I have found that I need the right spices or acidity to enjoy it though. Amaranth is a grain I’ve yet to try but have heard is very good too. Thanks for the lovely recipe!ReplyCancel

  • How fabulous does this look!?! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • This looks vibrant and delicious and just what I feel like this time of year!ReplyCancel

  • Love quinoa, kale and your beautiful photos. Can’t wait to try this salad. Hope you had a great time in Paris. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Skye @ Skye Loves...

    That looks absolutely exquisite… I don’t normally like kale (though I know that it is super healthy), but definitely think that I’m going to have to give this dish a try…ReplyCancel

  • I just love it when a recipe looks good, tastes great and is good for you. Perfect. :)ReplyCancel

  • I’ve made this twice and love it, love it, love it. Thanks for a great recipe!

    Lori (All That Splatters)ReplyCancel

  • […] yoga, photography and writing, and I haven’t even talked about food yet. Waxing lyrical about kale, strawberries and cauliflower nowadays earns you a spot in the universe of other food-obsessed […]ReplyCancel

  • Sally Mitchell

    I made thus tonight for the first time after discovering it on Pinterest and it was absolutely delicious. This will make repeated appearances at our table.ReplyCancel

    • Danielle

      That’s great to hear, and perfect for the season too!ReplyCancel

  • […] from Beyond the Plate, where it was inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Chard Stuffing. Quantities of each ingredient are up […]ReplyCancel

  • Lois DeRaadt Ackerman

    This was an amazing combination. Just loved it! Thanks for the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Lois DeRaadt Ackerman

    This was an amazing combination. Just loved it! Thanks for the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Lois DeRaadt Ackerman

    This was an amazing combination. Just loved it! Thanks for the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • […] Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad with Feta By: Lynne Adapted From: Beyond the Plate   […]ReplyCancel

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