Brainy Kale and Quinoa Salad with Red Grapes

"Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants." - Michael Pollan

Most of us have read this quote from Michael Pollan before, but have we really read it?

In a time where diets change at the drop of a hat from Keto, to Vegan, to Paleo, to Weight Watchers, to... Pegan (yes, I swear it's a thing)? It's a wonder that we can even make it through the grocery store, let alone the week, trying to figure out what to put in our shopping carts and mouths.

And, while this blog is full of all different types of dishes for all different types of diets, my favorite ones these days are the simplest ones with real food and lots of plants.

The healthy rustic recipes. 

This recipe has many elements of health- kale, quinoa. Yes, quinoa is so good for you. And yes, my almost 80-year-old parents gave it a chance and cleaned their plates. Which, to me, means it's a keeper. But, it also has a ton of flavor. And it's a quick salad that can be made up ahead and kept for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. I love those sturdy little kale leaves that help promote brain health.

Perfect as a side to a sandwich, in a pita, or on its own with some slices of fresh tomatoes and sprinkles of blue cheese. And a perfect way to get in your daily dose of greens.

Brainy Kale and Quinoa Salad with Red Grapes
Serves 4-6

1 c. quinoa, rinsed and cooked per package directions
1/3 c. juice from a lemon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. coriander
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 c. olive oil
2 c. stemmed and finely chopped kale
1/4 c. lightly packed, chopped fresh mint (optional)
1/4 c. lightly packed, chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 small shallot, minced
1 c. halved red seedless grapes

Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, zest, shallot, seasonings, and olive oil. Add in kale and massage for a few minutes to tenderize. Add quinoa, mint, parsley, and grapes. Toss lightly to combine. 

Served at room temperature or chilled (I like it better cold). Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes: Make sure and rinse the quinoa well before cooking, to remove any bitter taste. Cut up the greens well for easy chewing. And, for picky eaters, I've found a sprinkle of blue cheese adds a ton of flavor.