Please do not stop reading based on the title of this wonderful salad. For this dish inspiration came from an incredibly strange place, a gas station, so it only seemed fitting that is what I should call this dish.
I am a creature of habit. Due to this, I bring the same thing to work for lunch almost every single day. That may seem shocking to some considering I love trying new things but it is just easier to shop once w week and be done with it.
For the past couple of weeks I have made the same sandwich which features a sandwich thin, four ounces of ham and a scant serving of mayonnaise. I also bring along some sugar snap peas and a fruit so I am not scraping the bottom of the candy bowl at work at three in the afternoon in hopes of stopping hunger pains.
One Monday morning I was on my way to work and realized all I had to eat for lunch was my pitiful little sandwich and nothing to accompany it. I work in the middle of nowhere so my options are limited. I decided to stop at the gas station near my house to grab a serving of vegetables, fruit or anything that was healthier than a bag of chips or candy. I knew this particular chain had some decent options and was intrigued when I saw a kale and quinoa salad. I thought I may as well give it a try and at lunchtime I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
My entire drive home I thought about that salad and was mentally jotting down what I remembered was in it. It definitely should have been called “Apple Salad with Some Quinoa and a Splash of Kale” because the proportions were backwards for sure. Not that I had high expectations from a gas station salad but I digress.
I then thought about what type of vinegar that would be best to use for the dressing and I remembered I had purchased an amazing bottle of Quince Pomegranate White Balsamic Vinegar (which I will refer to as QPWBV because the length of that name is crazy). I had been waiting for the perfect dish to use it in and this was it.
I have been spoiled by a wonderful oil and vinegar emporium in my area called L.O.V.E. where I am able to buy this incredible vinegar. If you do not have any specialty stores around you can still get this amazing QPWBV from them because they ship. Honestly, this salad is great with a drizzle of champagne vinaigrette dressing which is easily available in most grocery stores, but if you can get QPWBV it is truly worth it. So, go check out their site and drool over the dozens of vinegar and oils and order as many as you want.
This salad is definitely on the adventurous side but it a wonderful mix of textures, colors and flavors. You can even leave out the goat cheese for a vegan friendly dish.
Disclosure Statement: While it seems like this was a sponsored post in fact, it is not. I just adore L.O.V.E. and the quality of products they carry….because I am in love…get it? Okay I will stop with the awesome jokes now and give you the recipe.
Kale & Quinoa Salad
with Quince Pomegranate White Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
Note: Rinse quinoa thoroughly in cold water before cooking to ensure it does not have a bitter taste. I do this even if the package states it is pre-rinsed.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 cups kale
1 yellow pepper
1 granny smith apple
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup pomegranate seeds
4 oz. goat cheese
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup quince pomegranate white balsamic vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
3 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
- Rinse quinoa and drain.
- Bring water to a boil, add quinoa and reduce heat to low.
- Cover and set timer for 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa is cooking chop kale, yellow pepper and apple into small pieces (slightly larger than the dried cranberries) and set aside in large bowl.
- The quinoa will be finished when the water is absorbed (15-17 minutes typically). Gently “fluff” with a fork and spread on a plate to cool.
- Make the dressing my combining the olive oil, vinegar, honey and salt in a bullet-style blender for a few seconds. Alternately, you may whisk the vinegar, honey and salt in a separate bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking.
- Once the quinoa is room temperature add it to the large bowl and mix in the dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds and dressing.
- Crumble the goat cheese on top and combine into salad.
- Serve at room temperature or cold.