Kale Quinoa Salad

While in Aspen, CO last week for our family trip, I found myself ordering kale salad after kale salad. Our dinners where indulgent, as they should be, so I tried to counteract them with a salad here and there for lunch. And I’d be lying if I said every time I ordered, said kale salad, it wasn’t also followed by a handful of french fries. The amount of kale salads and fries eaten on that trip…

Anyway, the kale salad hoopla was a must recreate situation the second I got home. 1. because I love some good travel inspiration for my meals and 2. because how better to slide back into healthy eating post vacay than with a kale salad? It has me being healthy and reminiscent!

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Kale Quinoa Salad
serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

1 large bunch of lacinito kale
1 medium sweet potato
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup dried cranberries
olive oil
cinnamon

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. grainy mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Chop your sweet potato into 1/2 inch cubes. Place on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and cinnamon. I love love love roasting sweet potatoes with cinnamon, but you can omit. Toss together and roast for 25 minutes. Check halfway through and toss around if needed. *When 5 minutes are left on the sweet potatoes, place the pecans on a roasting sheet and roast for 5 minutes making sure to watch that they don’t burn. Take out at the same time as the sweet potatoes. Roughly chop the pecans and set aside.

Now to de-rib your kale. Rinse and pat dry your kale. To de-rib, run a knife alongside the stem to detach the leaves. You can get a visual here. Layer all the kale leaves on top of each other and chop the kale into small pieces. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

In a mason jar or small bowl, add all dressing ingredients. Shake or whisk to combine.

To the bowl of kale add the cooked quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, cranberries, and pecans. Drizzle with a good portion of the dressing. Using a pair of tongs, give everything a really good toss until everything is coated in dressing. Kale is not a lettuce you can just pour dressing over the top. Your have to mix and toss and coat it with dressing.

Plate and serve with a bit of salt and pepper on top.

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Another favorite fall kale salad is my Fall Panzanella with Cornbread Croutons!

Annie

Bites of My Life

This post combines the past two weeks into one big bite. I got home from vacation late last Wednesday and quickly had to jump right back in to work and social life as I knew it. A big work event, busy playing catch up, a besties birthday and a personal to-go list that is becoming miles long has me typing as fast as I can to get through this post to continue tackling the others. A full round up of our trip to Aspen is in the works! It was too good of a trip not to devote a post to. Catch a glimpse in the snapshots below and stay tuned for the whole shebang!

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-Channeling “back to school” vibes with my new work bag/backpack - that I can’t get enough of!
-Aunts do Aspen! And Elle does Aspen really well. #gimmethosemoccasins
-We were lucky to get to stay in a big house on our trip. We played to our strengths and cooked a few meals at home. After some delicious nights out, we all agreed our dinners at home were the best!
-The reason that brought us to Aspen, Pop’s 60th birthday! His birthday was actually in June, but there are many reasons to celebrate 3 months later!
-The whole fam damily! Not often does the whole crew get to be together, but I sure love when we do!
-I went on a kale salad kick while in Aspen. It seemed that just about every menu had their own rendition, so I took it upon myself to test them out. Like this kale caesar from Ajax Tavern
-I’ll follow up my kale salad note by mentioning that I washed down my healthy salad with fries at pretty much every meal. It’s called vacation! The infamous truffle fries from Ajax Tavern could not go without ordering.
-Just like one of the beautiful trees around me! We had a successful hike through the Maroon Bells.
-Book 12 out of my 12 in a year goal. Went out with a bang with this one. Can’t recommend it enough.
-The best breakfast casserole returns. Might I add, this is always a crowd pleaser. I brought it to a morning tailgate were it was aside donuts and bagels and many people reached for the casserole over the other options.
-Played cowgirl for the day to celebrate our favorite OSU Cowboy’s birthday in Stillwater!
-After a the kale salad craze on vacation, I knew I was inspired to recreate one at home. This kale quinoa goodness is coming your way later this week.

Annie