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Perfect Dinner Salad: Kale, Quinoa, and Toasted Chickpeas

Perfect Dinner Salad

Perfect Dinner Salad: Kale, Quinoa, and Toasted Chickpeas

Serves 4 to 6

Warmer weather often means eating lighter. When you need a salad that feels more like a meal, try this recipe for the perfect dinner salad: Kale, quinoa, and toasted chickpeas!

Why is it perfect? First, it's beautiful and is gorgeous enough to take center stage on the table! Second, you'll cover all your nutritional bases by including vegetables, beans, grains, and fruit. And will deliciously satisfy your appetite with bold flavors, gentle warmth from the quinoa and chickpeas, and lots of texture to delight you in every bite!

Tired of kale? Spring is the perfect season to try farm-fresh greens like arugula or spinach. Adding spices and pan-toasting the chickpeas yields a more complex taste and delightfully chewy texture that leans more toward dinner than lunch. Make the oil-free dressing to keep things light but still bright and flavorful.


For the Salad

¾ cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas

1 tablespoon tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos

1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon cumin

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 bunch of curly kale

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 apple, chopped or thinly sliced

1/3 cup nuts or seeds (sliced almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower, pumpkin)

⅓ cup dried cranberries, currants, or raisins

For the Dressing

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon or regular mustard

2 teaspoons maple syrup or agave

1 tablespoon tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos

1 large clove garlic, minced/grated/pressed (or use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)

Ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking tray with parchment.

  2. To make the quinoa, first rinse it. Put it in a small pot and cover with water. Swirl it around then drain it, using a wire mesh strainer, or carefully tip the water out of the pot. Cover the quinoa with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the water is evaporated about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it steam with the lid on then fluff with a fork.

  3. To make the chickpeas, drain the liquid from the can, reserving ½ cup. Put the chickpeas in a bowl and stir in the tamari, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and cayenne. Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Transfer the chickpeas to the pan and cook while stirring occasionally until the chickpeas are lightly browned. You can also use a toaster oven to get a crispy finish. Arrange the chickpeas on a foil-lined baking tray and bake at 400ºF for about 15 minutes or until dry and light brown.

  4. Tear the kale from the stems and chop it into small pieces. Put the chopped kale in a large bowl and add the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt. Using your hands, massage the kale to soften. Save the kale stems for making stock or using in smoothies.

  5. To make the dressing, add the reserved chickpea liquid to a small bowl and stir in the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, syrup, tamari, garlic, and black pepper.

  6. To assemble the salad, add the warm quinoa and chickpeas to the bowl with the kale. Add the apple. Pour the dressing over and toss to blend. Garnish with nuts, seeds, and dried cranberries. Serve immediately.

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