Winter Kale & Quinoa Pomegranate Salad

Winter Kale and Quinoa Salad with Pomegranates

I love salads because you can put really anything in them and change them easily to your tastes. However, I’m not a huge fan dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc). I’ve been trying to do a better job of eating them, especially since they’re in season right now. It’s a perfect time for kale, in particular. But it’s hard to eat something you don’t truly enjoy. So I decided to combine kale with some of my other winter favorites for a tasty meal for one and was quite happy with my success!Kale, pomegranates, pumpkin seeds, and a pear

Pears and pomegranates go great together. They both have sour undertones, but the sweetness of pears compliments the lack of sugar in pomegranates. Mixing the kale with quinoa gives your salad some protein and good texture. The pumpkin seeds add an extra crunch to balance out the soft nature of the other ingredients.

As I do live by myself, I bought a bag of chopped kale because then I can freeze the extra for smoothies or other delicious meals later. If you have time and want to, buy un-chopped kale and prepare it yourself.

Steamed KaleYou’ll actually be preparing the kale two different ways – steamed and raw. I’ve discovered over many trials that I like cooked kale better because it reduces the bitterness that I dislike so much. When combined the two preparations work well in a salad.

You’ll also see that the ingredients for the dressing calls for a vague “pomegranate juice.” You can use a variety of things for this; if you buy already shelled pomegranate balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemonseeds, they’re usually kept in liquid you can use, or you can buy a bottle of POM, or try something radical like pomegranate molasses or pomegranate BBQ sauce (I’ve tried the later and really enjoyed it!). It’s whatever you have available. The key is to give your dressing the hint of pomegranate.

I think I ended up with a bit too much kale to quinoa ratio in the final salad, so I cut down the amount in the recipe below.

Winter Kale & Quinoa Pomegranate Salad

PREP TIME: 1 minute – collection of items
COOK TIME: 14 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes
MAKES: 1 serving

INGREDIENTS:

Salad
¼ cup of quinoa (measured dry)
3 large handfuls of chopped kale (bagged kale is fine)
1 pear, sliced
1/3 cup of pomegranate seeds
2 tbs. of pumpkin seeds (optional)
Salt to taste

Dressing
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. of pomegranate liquid
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook the quinoa in a small saucepan according to your package details. When you reach the point of reducing the heat and covering, add half of the kale so it steams. Add salt for taste. Remove the quinoa from the stove, stir in the kale, and place it in the fridge to cool. This small amount cools fine, but if you double the recipe, you may want to spread the quinoa on a plate to cool faster.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the quinoa and the rest of the chopped kale. Mix the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the kale quinoa mix. Gently toss until well coated.
  3. Add in the pears, pomegranates, and pumpkin seeds. Toss again (gentle – those pears will bruise). Enjoy!
  4. Optional: If you multiply the recipe to serve to guests, I suggested putting in half the pears, pomegranates, and seeds in step three, transferring the salad to a serving bowl, and topping the salad with the remaining pears, pomegranates, and seeds for visual appeal.
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