Harvest Kale Quinoa Salad! Don’t mind us, we are just hunkering down with this comforting and flavorful fall salad. A sweet, savory, and tangy kale salad that just makes all other salads jealous.
We are bring all the refreshing, healthy, and utterly delicious harvest salad must-haves like: nourishing kale, hearty quinoa, toasty walnuts, sweet apples, juicy red grapes, and zesty onions. Then we coated this wholesome goodness in an amazing bold Maple Mustard Dressing packed with zing and flavor. Fantastic for pot lucks, school and work lunches. It’s sure to get rave reviews with the very first bite.
Whole Food Plant Based, vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, gluten free and no highly processed ingredients.
Hi there, Ameera here!
I love a refreshing salad. This salad is brimming with all those must have salad goodness: hearty, sweet, tangy, fresh, and healthy. The flavors scream bright and comforting all at the same time.
Mom and I focused on those yummy “harvest” flavors like kale, walnuts, apples, grapes as a base, then topped it with a Bold Maple Mustard Dressing that is packed with zip and zing! We loved it!
The Key to Quinoa
The key to this tasty recipe is to have perfectly cooked quinoa. You know what I am talking about, that beautifully fluffy, chewy quinoa and not the soggy, water-logged kind.
We have a special way of cooking quinoa, see our recipe here. However, if you have a fool proof way of cooking quinoa to achieve that perfectly fluffy consistency, by all means use that method. I know some people love to use their rice cookers and Instant Pot to get fluffy quinoa, we’ve never tried as we love our method. Perhaps one day, we’ll test out these methods, and we’ll report back. 😉
The sweet apple chunks and sliced seedless red grapes really adds a loveliness to this salad that screams fall and harvest. We paired them with a delicious, nutty crunch from toasted walnuts. A perfect combination in the salad. You could also use toasted pecans or sunflower seeds, as well.
We love hearty, earthy kale, but it can get a little unwieldy, so we like to tear it into very small pieces. This extra effort makes all the difference as it also kind of massages the kale so it isn’t so “tough” to chew.
Dad devoured this salad and proclaimed it “perfection.” He loves a great salad. I’ll let Mom tell you more.
Hi! Robin here.
This salad is right up my alley because I love fruit in my salads. I love the play of the tangy maple mustard vinaigrette with the sweetness of the fruit! Very tasty! We all devoured it!
We hope you give this deliciousness a try! We just know you are going to love it!
We hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as we do!
If you try this refreshing fall salad, we would love to know if you enjoy it as much as we do! Please leave us a review! Post a picture on Facebook or Instagram and tag us! We would love to hear from you.
Harvest Kale Quinoa Salad
- Prep Time: 20 Minutes
- Total Time: 20 Minutes
- Yield: 4 Servings 1x
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
Sweet, savory, and tangy, this comforting Harvest Kale Quinoa Salad is brimming with wholsome veggies, hearty grains, and bold dressing.
- 2 ½ to 3 cups cooked quinoa *
- 10 oz. bunch kale, small chop *
- ½ to 1 cup toasted walnuts, rough chop
- 1 sweet apple, cored and diced
- 2 cups red seedless grapes, sliced in half *
- ¼ to ½ cup red onion, fine dice
Maple Mustard Dressing Ingredients:
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons tahini *
- 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup (+/-) *
- 1 Tablespoon white miso *
- 2 teaspoons dried ground mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried minced onions
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (+/-)
- Place all the Maple Mustard Dressing Ingredients into a bowl, whisk well to combine, set aside.
- Place all the Salad Ingredients into a large bowl, drizzle with the Maple Mustard Dressing over the salad and gently toss, allow to set for 10 minutes, then toss again and serve.
Tips for Success:
- Cooked Quinoa: It is important to have fluffy quinoa, not soggy wet quinoa. You can achieve this by cooking the quinoa in a rice cooker or instant pot. Or see our Perfectly Cooked Quinoa 1 ½ cups dry quinoa makes approximately 3 cups (+/-) cooked quinoa. If using freshly made quinoa, fluff and allow to slightly cool before adding to the salad. Do not use hot quinoa in this salad. Ours was just slightly warm.
- Refrigerated Quinoa: If using left-over quinoa, heat or microwave until warm, then set aside to slightly cool (warm, not hot) before adding to the salad.
- Dressing: This Maple Mustard Dressing has some zip and zing to it. We suggest making it as indicated in the recipe, then taste testing it in a small bowl with some kale and quinoa in it to determine if it has too much zing to it. If it does, then simply add more water and/or maple syrup to the dressing – a teaspoon at a time. Remember the grapes and apple chunks temper the zing with their fresh sweetness so don’t go overboard with the water and maple syrup. We loved the dressing as is, but keep in mind that we love a salad with a punch of flavor like this one.
- Kale: Remove the kale from the thick center vein; discard the vein. Slightly massage the kale to break down the extra fibrousness, if desired. Chop into or tear it into small bite-size pieces. We purchased 10 oz. of kale, stripped out the veins and ended up with 5 ¾ oz. (163g) which is about 8 cups slightly packed.
- Apple: You can use your favorite apple in this recipe. We suggest using a sweet, crisp apple for best results, like a Gala apple.
- Toasted Walnuts (or pecans): Place the walnuts into a dry skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high and gently swirl the walnuts in the hot skillet, flipping around occasionally for approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Watch them carefully as they burn easily. 1 cup of walnuts is approximately 3 7/8 oz. or 115g. Feel free to use as much or as little as you like. You can also leave them out if you wish. They do add a nice element to the salad.
- Red Onions: Red onions can sometimes have a sharp taste. If you enjoy the taste of red onions, but wish to remove some of the sharpness, soak the diced red onions in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain off the water before placing in the salad. We did not do this but have done so in the past if we believe the red onion is too sharp for the dish we are making.
*Miso: We used Miso Master Organic Mellow White Premium Lite Miso, Certified Gluten Free. Miso really lends itself to balancing flavors when you don’t use oil. You can also use chickpea miso for a soy free version. The miso helps balance out the flavors.
*Red Seedless Grapes: You can also substitute the red grapes for dried cranberries.
*Tahini: The tahini helps balance the acidity of the apple cider vinegar. You can leave it out, but the salad will be exceptionally tart. We do not recommend leaving it out.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Serving: Makes 8 cups or about 4 servings
*Storage: Refrigerate and use within 5 days.
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I made this tonight as a test run for Thanksgiving Dinner. Since it was a test run I was being super critical … is there enough quinoa? … too much kale? …. is the onion too strong? In the end my husband and I decided it was perfection for Thanksgiving. I’m not changing a thing. I think everyone — even the omni’s — will love it. When I make it in the future for just my husband and I, I will tone down the sweetness a bit. But for a mixed Thanksgiving crowd, it is perfect as written. Thank you,… Read more »
Hi there Brenda 🙂
We know exactly what you mean when critiquing recipes for special events like Thanksgiving dinner. We like to do test runs too. Yaaaayyy! We are so thrilled that you enjoyed this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome review with us. We appreciate you taking the time to write.
-Ameera and Robin 🙂
I had a bumper crop of kale in the garden and a church potluck to prepare for, so I decided to give this a try. When I was chopping the kale it had a strong scent, so i was worried about the finished salad. I decided to taste test it just in case I had to throw it all out. To my surprise and delight the kale was mild (it had had a couple of frosts) and the dressing was absolutely perfect. I gave my husband a taste and he declared it delicious also. At the dinner, several people commented… Read more »
Hi there Teri,
YAYYYYYY!!! We are thrilled that your salad turned out great and everyone enjoyed it! Love the substitutions. Grapes taste amazing in this salad. Thank you so much for taking time to write us an awesome review.
-Ameera and Robin