Fresh Kale and Quinoa Salad Recipe | Easy & Healthy

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This Kale and Quinoa Salad is a powerhouse of nutrition and flavor, perfect for anyone looking to eat healthier without sacrificing taste. With healthy kale, fluffy quinoa, and sweet raisins all tossed in a tangy balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is as delicious as it is easy to make. Ideal for meal prep, this salad can be made ahead and stored for up to five days, making it a convenient option for busy weeks.

healthy kale quinoa salad

Why You’ll Love Kale And Quinoa Salad

  • Nutritious and Delicious: This salad is packed with superfoods like kale and quinoa, providing a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and protein. The addition of raisins adds a natural sweetness that perfectly complements the tangy balsamic dressing.
  • Easy to Make: With simple ingredients and straightforward steps, this salad comes together in no time. Massaging the kale might seem like an extra step, but it’s quick and makes a big difference in texture and flavor.
  • Perfect for Meal Prep: This salad holds up well in the refrigerator for up to five days, making it a great option for meal prep. Prepare a big batch, and you’ll have a healthy lunch ready to go for the entire week.
  • Versatile: You can easily customize this salad by adding your favorite proteins. Whether you prefer rotisserie chicken, chickpeas, or tofu, this salad serves as a versatile base for various add-ins.
  • Healthy and Filling: The combination of kale and quinoa makes this salad both hearty and satisfying. It’s a great option for a light but filling lunch or dinner that keeps you energized throughout the day.

easy kale quinoa salad recipe

Ingredients For Kale And Quinoa Salad

  • Kale: A nutrient-dense leafy green that provides a base for the salad. It’s rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and becomes tender and flavorful when massaged with dressing.
  • Quinoa: A protein-packed grain that adds texture and heartiness to the salad. It’s gluten-free and full of essential amino acids.
  • Olive Oil: Used in the dressing, it adds a healthy fat component that helps to soften the kale and blend the flavors together.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: This adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to the dressing, balancing the earthiness of the kale and the sweetness of the raisins.
  • Raisins: These provide a natural sweetness and chewy texture, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the salad.

For the exact measurements of the ingredients, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this article.

kale and quinoa bowl

Kitchen Tools You Need To Make Kale And Quinoa Salad

  • Large Bowl: For mixing and massaging the kale with the dressing.
  • Measuring Cups: To measure the olive oil and quinoa accurately.
  • Measuring Spoons: To measure the balsamic vinegar precisely.
  • Whisk: To combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a smooth dressing.
  • Fork: For whisking the dressing and for tossing the salad.

quinoa and kale salad

How To Make Kale And Quinoa Salad

  • Prepare the Kale: Place the chopped kale in a large bowl.
  • Make the Dressing: In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar until well combined.
  • Massage the Kale: Pour the dressing over the kale. Massage the kale with your hands for about 5 minutes until it softens and reduces in volume.
  • Add Quinoa and Raisins: Mix in the cooked quinoa and raisins to the massaged kale.
  • Combine Everything: Toss all the ingredients together until evenly distributed and coated with the dressing.

kale quinoa raisin salad

Serving Suggestions

Tips For Success

  1. Massage the Kale Properly: Massaging the kale with the dressing is key to breaking down its tough fibers, making it more tender and palatable. Spend about 5 minutes massaging the kale until it becomes softer and reduces in volume.
  2. Cook the Quinoa Perfectly: To get fluffy quinoa, rinse it thoroughly under cold water before cooking to remove the natural saponin coating. Use a 2:1 water-to-quinoa ratio and bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  3. Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh kale and high-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar will enhance the flavors of the salad. Triple-washed, pre-chopped kale can save you time and effort.
  4. Adjust the Dressing: Taste the dressing before adding it to the kale. If it’s too tangy, add a bit more olive oil. If it’s too oily, add a splash more balsamic vinegar. Personalizing the dressing ensures it suits your taste preferences.
  5. Customize to Your Liking: Feel free to add other ingredients like cherry tomatoes, cucumber, or bell peppers for added crunch and color. Nuts and seeds can also add extra texture and nutritional benefits.
  6. Prep Ahead: This salad is perfect for meal prep. Make a big batch and store it in the fridge. It actually tastes better the next day as the flavors meld together. It can last up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  7. Serving Temperature: This salad can be enjoyed cold or at room temperature. Let it sit out for a few minutes if it’s too cold from the fridge to allow the flavors to come through.
  8. Storing Leftovers: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The salad will keep well, and the kale won’t wilt, making it a perfect make-ahead dish.
  9. Portion Control: If you’re watching your portions, consider dividing the salad into individual servings as soon as it’s made. This helps with portion control and ensures you have ready-to-go meals.
  10. Nutritional Boost: To increase the nutritional value, consider adding superfoods like chia seeds or hemp hearts. They blend well with the other ingredients and add an extra health boost.

Variations And Substitutions

  1. Add Different Proteins: For a more filling meal, add proteins like grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Plant-based options like chickpeas, black beans, or lentils work wonderfully too, providing an extra boost of protein and making the salad more substantial.
  2. Change Up the Dressing: If you’re not a fan of balsamic vinegar, try using lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead. You can also add a bit of Dijon mustard or honey to the dressing for added depth and sweetness.
  3. Include More Vegetables: Enhance the salad by adding a variety of colorful vegetables. Cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, shredded carrots, and cucumbers not only add a crunch but also a burst of vitamins and minerals.
  4. Incorporate Fruits: Fresh fruits like apples, pears, or pomegranate seeds can add a refreshing sweetness and a contrasting texture. Dried fruits like cranberries or chopped apricots can also be delightful additions.
  5. Add Nuts and Seeds: For extra crunch and nutrition, sprinkle in some nuts and seeds. Sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds are excellent choices that pair well with the flavors of the salad.
  6. Use Different Greens: If kale isn’t your favorite, you can substitute it with other hearty greens like spinach, arugula, or Swiss chard. These greens also hold up well to the dressing and provide a different flavor profile.
  7. Make It Spicy: If you enjoy a bit of heat, add some red pepper flakes or finely chopped jalapenos to the salad. This can give it a spicy kick that enhances the overall flavor.
  8. Cheesy Addition: Adding a bit of cheese can take this salad to the next level. Crumbled feta, goat cheese, or parmesan shavings work particularly well with the ingredients and add a creamy texture.
  9. Grain Substitutions: If you prefer a different grain, feel free to substitute quinoa with couscous, farro, or bulgur. Each of these grains will provide a unique texture and taste while maintaining the salad’s hearty quality.
  10. Make It a Wrap: For a different way to enjoy this salad, use it as a filling for wraps. Spread some hummus or avocado on a whole grain tortilla, add the salad, and roll it up for a delicious and portable meal.

Storage and Reheating

  1. Storing Leftovers: Place any leftover kale and quinoa salad in an airtight container. It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavors will continue to meld, making it even more delicious as it sits.
  2. Meal Prep Tips: If you’re preparing the salad for meal prep, divide it into individual portions as soon as it’s made. This ensures you have ready-to-go meals throughout the week. Store each portion in separate airtight containers.
  3. Reheating: This salad is best enjoyed cold or at room temperature, so there’s no need for reheating. If it’s been stored in the fridge, you might want to let it sit out for a few minutes before eating to bring it to room temperature and allow the flavors to shine.
  4. Refreshing the Salad: If you find that the salad has absorbed too much dressing and is a bit dry, you can refresh it by adding a small drizzle of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Toss it well to recoat the ingredients before serving.
  5. Freezing: This salad is not suitable for freezing. The texture of the kale and quinoa will be compromised, and the overall quality will decrease. It’s best to enjoy it fresh within the recommended storage period.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can I store the kale and quinoa salad in the refrigerator?

You can store the kale and quinoa salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The kale holds up well and doesn’t wilt like other greens, making it perfect for meal prep.

Can I use a different type of grain instead of quinoa?

Yes, you can substitute quinoa with other grains like couscous, farro, or bulgur. Each will bring a different texture and flavor to the salad while maintaining its hearty quality.

Is it necessary to massage the kale?

Massaging the kale is an important step as it helps to break down the tough fibers, making it softer and more palatable. It also reduces the volume of the kale, making it easier to mix with other ingredients and enjoy.

What proteins can I add to this salad to make it more filling?

You can add a variety of proteins such as grilled chicken, shrimp, tofu, chickpeas, black beans, or lentils. These additions make the salad more substantial and suitable as a main course.

Can I make the salad dressing ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the dressing ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Just give it a good shake or whisk before using it to ensure the ingredients are well combined.

How can I adjust the flavor of the dressing?

If the dressing is too tangy for your taste, add a bit more olive oil. If you prefer a stronger flavor, you can add a splash more balsamic vinegar. Adjusting the dressing to your preference will enhance the overall taste of the salad.

Can I add fruits to this salad?

Absolutely! Fresh fruits like apples, pears, or pomegranate seeds can add a refreshing sweetness and contrasting texture. Dried fruits like cranberries or chopped apricots are also delightful additions.

What nuts and seeds go well with this salad?

Nuts and seeds such as sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds add a great crunch and nutritional boost. They pair well with the flavors of the kale and quinoa.

Is this salad suitable for a vegan diet?

Yes, this salad is suitable for a vegan diet. It contains no animal products and is packed with plant-based ingredients. Ensure that any additional proteins or toppings you add are also vegan-friendly if you follow a vegan diet.

How can I make this salad more kid-friendly?

To make the salad more kid-friendly, consider chopping the kale into smaller pieces and adding some sweet elements like more raisins or a drizzle of honey in the dressing. You can also serve it with kid-approved toppings like croutons or a sprinkle of cheese.

Try Other Healthy Kale And Quinoa Recipe

Crispy Air Fryer Kale Chips: Crispy, healthy air fryer kale chips that make the perfect guilt-free snack.

Kale Salad with Raisins and Seeds: A refreshing kale salad with sweet raisins and crunchy sunflower seeds for a delightful mix of flavors and textures.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad: A Mediterranean-inspired quinoa salad loaded with fresh vegetables, olives, and feta cheese.

Vegan Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Beans: Flavorful vegetarian stuffed peppers filled with a hearty mix of quinoa and black beans.

Pesto Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Tomatoes: A vibrant quinoa salad tossed with pesto, chickpeas, and juicy cherry tomatoes.

Mason Jar Quinoa Chickpea Salad: A convenient, layered quinoa and chickpea salad perfect for meal prep and on-the-go lunches.

Bacon Kale Stir-Fry: Savory sauteed kale with crispy bacon for a deliciously satisfying side dish.

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Kale And Quinoa Salad

This kale and quinoa salad is a super healthy, easy-to-make dish that's perfect for meal prep. The combination of massaged kale, cooked quinoa, and sweet raisins dressed in a tangy balsamic vinaigrette makes for a delicious and nutritious meal. It's ideal for healthy lunches and can be made ahead to save time during the week.
Prep Time10 minutes
Massage Time5 minutes
Course: Main Dish, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy salad, Greek Quinoa Salad, healthy salad, kale salad, meal prep
Cooking Method: No-Cook
Diet: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 376kcal


Recommended Kitchen Tools (click the links below to see the items used to make this recipe)


  • Place the chopped kale in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Pour the dressing over the kale.
  • Massage the kale for about 5 minutes until it becomes softer and reduces in volume.
  • Add the cooked quinoa and raisins to the massaged kale.
  • Mix everything together until well combined.


  • You can make this salad ahead of time; it will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Add proteins like chopped rotisserie chicken or chickpeas for a more complete meal.
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Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Sodium: 51mg | Potassium: 615mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 8502IU | Vitamin C: 80mg | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 4mg
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