For lunch, I am all about convenience. Ideally, I can cook once and feed myself for a few days. Salads are easy to load up with lots of antioxidant and fiber filled ingredients, but they just don’t always keep fresh when prepared in advance. I am super bougie about leftovers – if there is the tiniest hint that it’s not fresh I just can’t do it. Enter: dino kale. This is the leafy green to choose if you’re making a salad ahead of time. Not only does it last, but it actually thrives when it’s been marinating for a while. This Mediterranean inspired quinoa and kale salad is still good four to five days later, so I like to make a big batch Sunday, and just serve up a scoop with a bit of protein for lunch (usually I make extra protein at dinner time so this is easy to do as a quick grab-and-go). I like to add a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil right before eating it if it’s been a few days!
Every ingredient in this dish is nutritious, but there are a few stars:
Kale: I honestly think leafy greens are the holy grain of health. Get them wherever, whenever you can. Even on those nights where you want a giant bowl of pasta for dinner – eat some damn leafy greens first! Kale, specifically, is loaded with antioxidants which help fight inflammation, is high in potassium which is beneficial for heart health, and is loaded with fiber to keep things moving.
Quinoa: One note here is that I always eat sprouted quinoa. I buy it this way, but you can also soak it yourself if you prefer (‘aint nobody got time for that tho). Just simply look for “sprouted” on the packaging. It makes me super bloated if I don’t get sprouted but check it out for yourself. Quinoa is an amazing grain for anyone, but particularly for vegetarians/vegans since it is one of the only complete proteins that’s plant-based (meaning it has all of the essential amino acids we need for good health).
Olives/olive oil: There are a few reasons why the Mediterranean diet is regularly touted for its impact on longevity. Olive oil being one. Its particularly high in oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat that helps reduce inflammation and is thought to positively impact genes related to developing cancer
Okay, okay I know you’re here for the recipe:
Servings: 5 // Calories per serving: 266*
4 cups kale, destemed and sliced into thin ribbons
2 cups cooked quinoa (about 2/3 cup uncooked)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 small cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup pitted olives, sliced in half
1/4 cup pinenuts
1/4 cup mint, minced
1 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt + pepper to taste
Step 1: Cook quinoa according to package directions. Strain any excess water and set aside to cool.
Step 2: Wash and prep vegetables as stated in the ingredient list. Be sure to cut the kale thinly, big chunks of kale is overpowering.
Step 3: Once cool, combine quinoa with kale, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, olives, pine nuts, mint, and garlic. Pour over olive oil and lemon juice then toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*I’m not the biggest fan of calorie counting, but I get requests for nutritional information so I am going to start including these in my recipes.