This time of year I feel like I am eating treats and sweets just about non stop. Everywhere I turn there is a new peppermint candy that I just must try, or a coffee shop selling eggnog lattes, and buffet tables full of goodies. In the midst of all that I find myself equally craving sweets and fresh foods. That said, I have a line up including eggnog, marshmallows and cookies for you in the next week. I know—I have a problem! But back to the kale!
This Cranberry Kale (Quinoa) Crunch salad is a winter update to my Big Chickie kale salad. I’ve loaded it up with dried cranberries, quinoa and pumpkin seeds. If your family can have nuts I think toasted pecans would also be delicious. For the dressing I blend up fresh cranberries with orange juice and a few other simple ingredients to make a beautiful vibrant pink color!
My simple trick to make a kale salad more easily chewed and digested is to massage the kale first. Simply drizzle half of the dressing over the cut washed kale and massage it with both hands for about two minutes. This helps to break down the kale—you’ll see a visible difference. The kale reduces in size by about a third. Then add the other ingredients in, along with the rest of the dressing, and toss. The beauty of a kale salad is that leftovers keep in the fridge for several days and it doesn’t lose it’s crunch! That is, if you have any leftovers!
This salad would be perfect for your Christmas Day dinner, served along side of my Seitan Marbella. Or follow the vegan stereotype and bring this salad to your next party—I brought mine to brunch at my church this morning and the bowl was completely wiped clean! It’s a great dish to serve to a crowd because it is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and paleo! Just about anyone could enjoy it! Whenever you make it, be sure to take a picture, post it on Instagram, and tag it with #frieddandelions! I would LOVE to see your pictures!!!
Cranberry Kale Crunch, serves 8
1/2 c quinoa cooked in 1/2 c water (see below)
2 bundles kale
1/2 c dried cranberries, chopped
1 c carrot (about 3-4 big ones)
small shallot, finely sliced
1/4 c pumpkin seeds (I use allergen free Gerb’s Seeds)
4 T olive oil
3 T apple cider vinegar
3 T orange juice (I just squeeze 3 clementines)
2 T maple syrup
1/2 c fresh cranberries (if frozen, be sure to thaw before blending)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t garlic powder
Rinse your quinoa. Place quinoa in a pot with 1/2 c of water and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and reduce to low and allow it to cook for about 20 minutes while you prep the rest of the salad.
Destem the kale (my favorite way is shown in this video), and cut into small bite size pieces. Wash well and place in your serving bowl. Set aside.
Place all dressing ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth. Pour half onto the kale and set the rest of the dressing aside. With clean hands—there are no better tools!—dig into the kale and massage for about 2 minutes. Once the kale has broken down slightly (you will actually see it get a bit darker and wilt slightly), set it aside and finish prepping the rest of your salad.
Grate your carrots (I use my julienne peeler) and add them to the salad. Add finely sliced shallots, chopped dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and remaining dressing. Remove cooked quinoa from the pot and add it to the salad bowl and mix everything well. Serve right away! Enjoy!