As I get closer and closer to departing for a long vacation, I always feel the pull to use every last bit of fresh food in my refrigerator. Usually, I plan well and avoid over-buying produce during the week ahead of travel. I just find it painful to throw away good food! Did you know that Americans throw away 30-40% of the food supply? It’s a sad state of affairs, and while I know that I personally cannot make a dent in the overall amount of wasted food, the least I can do is make my best effort!
This week’s recipe was born out of a need to eat a lot of Lacinato kale and also to create a recipe that could easily be packed for travel. Plus, I wanted to give you a delicious recipe to incorporate my Garlic Scape Pesto, which I shared a few weeks back. Whenever we travel, we carry our own food for the flight. While I do enjoy eating a wide variety of foods, I want to have a meal on the flight that I know will sit well in my tummy, so I can’t leave things to chance. Supposedly airplane food has improved greatly - I wouldn’t know. This salad will be our dinner on the flight to Paris this week.
Quinoa is my favorite pseudo-grain for salads, it cooks easily and can be used in so many different recipes. I like to slightly under-cook quinoa so that it retains a bit more of a nutty texture and crunch. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and is grain-free, too, making it perfect to share with anyone - regardless of their dietary preference. This Lemony-Dill Quinoa Salad was a delicious addition my quinoa recipes last summer. Save my Quinoa Chili for next Winter…it’s hearty and wonderful when the weather turns cold!
This salad comes together so easily, it’s a breeze to make anytime for a picnic or camping trip, or as an accompaniment to a dinner at home. Since there are no perishable ingredients, it doesn’t need to stay chilled. I actually prefer this salad at room temperature, I think the garlic flavor is more pronounced when it’s not too cold. I like to add a sweet and crunchy element to more savory recipes - the sliced dates were a natural fit, as were the pepitas. If you like another dried fruit and seed, make your substitutions and make this salad your own!
As I mentioned last week, I will be taking a break from this newsletter for the month of July. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be cooking and creating new recipes, but I will be taking a pause from my website for the month while I enjoy some travel time. I hope you enjoy July and all that the hot month has to offer!
Wishing you a relaxing weekend, full of delicious food, health & wellness.
Garlicky Kale & Quinoa Salad
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
1 C quinoa
2 C thinly sliced kale leaves (Lacinato or Tuscan Kale)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T water
1/2 t sea salt, plus more, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 C pitted dates, sliced (5-6 dates)
1/4 C pepitas, toasted (if desired)
Prepare the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under cool running water until the water is clear. Drain and place in a medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat but keep the cover on the pan and allow the quinoa to continue to steam for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and pour into a large mixing bowl.
Add the kale to the bowl with the warm quinoa and toss to combine. The warm quinoa will help to soften the kale leaves.
In a small bowl, combine the Garlic Scape Pesto, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, water, and 1/2 t sea salt. Stir to blend. Taste and adjust flavors if necessary. Pour sauce over quinoa-kale mixture and toss to mix the ingredients together. Add the sliced dates.
Pour the salad into a serving bowl and top with pepitas. Serve at room temperature.
recipe yields 5 generous servings
leftovers keep well in a covered container for 3-4 days; drizzle some additional extra-virgin olive oil over the salad when serving
replace the kale with another leafy green or add roasted diced beets to the salad
top the salad with some crumbled feta or goat cheese, if desired