Blood Orange Avocado Quinoa & Kale Salad
Healthy eating is anything but bland. I love this flavorful salad!
Happy Wednesday to you! I’m back home from Boston already– a suuuuper quick trip. But during our 36 hour stay, we took Jude around the city (some readers even recognized him!) and to cat rock park out in Weston for some off-leash adventuring. Jude is absolutely NOT a city dog, but he loved people watching from our hotel. Clearly my dog; people watching is my favorite activity.
I also met even more Boston readers at the cooking demo on Monday night– the signing was at Trident Booksellers and I’d love to go back at some point because it was a unique, casual, and cozy environment for a signing. Readers could order food, wine, beer, coffee, etc and watch me cook up front. I made chewy creamy caramels from Sally’s Candy Addiction cookbook and despite me totally missing a step in the caramel making (umm, whoops. Clearly can’t talk about my love for Taylor’s 1989 album AND cook caramel at the same time) — we all had a blast. Thanks to everyone who came, laughed, ate, took the time to chat with me, took pictures, etc.
Boston, I need to come back ASAP.
Before I left for Boston, I made a handful of new recipes to share on Sally’s Baking Addiction. The weather was going bonkers last week in Philly– bright sunshine each day which means I had 4 days in a row to bake and photograph. Between all the sweets, I made a savory and super healthy kale salad to eat during the week for lunch. What? Don’t YOU fuel your baking marathons with kale salads and cookie taste testing for dessert?!
I don’t post many salads on my blog, but had to share this one. Something that completely transformed my usual quinoa/kale/avocado bowl was the addition of intensely-flavored Moro blood oranges. Have you ever had a blood orange before? You’ll be surprised how naturally sweet they are. I love them for that very reason, but blood oranges also have this incredible berry flavor as well. Yes, berry! Sort of an undertone of raspberry or strawberry. So dang good.
And have I mentioned how drop dead gorgeous they are? Dramatic bright maroon interior with a sun-kissed peel. And the juice is hot pink. ♥ Beauty contest winners right here.
I use blood oranges a lot in smoothies and salads, but my favorite is to juice them for mimosas. Seriously, try it. But today we’re sticking to salad. Geez, it’s only Wednesday after all. (Check back with me on the weekend.)
This salad is a smorgasbord of flavor. Kale and protein-packed quinoa are the base, soaking up the creamy avocado and homemade blood orange vinaigrette. So it all becomes this giant citrus-y, creamy, nutrient dense base on which we load even more goodies like walnuts (I used candied walnuts!), blue cheese, and chopped blood orange. While the flavors are unbelievable, the texture of the salad is my favorite part. The kale sort of breaks down and becomes super tender, soaking up the flavor from the blood orange vinaigrette, blue cheese, and avocado.
Let’s talk about that blood orange vinaigrette! So simple. Ditch the store-bought because NOTHING tastes as fresh as this stuff. We’ve got olive oil, white wine vinegar, blood orange juice, lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper, and that’s about it. Shake it all up and pour it on top. This tastes good on nearly any salad!
If blue cheese isn’t your favorite, use something like gorgonzola or goat cheese– anything goes. Nutty quinoa makes the salad super satisfying, so a big serving for lunch is all you need. And as leftovers? This salad gets even better because the flavors infuse into each other. You know how prepared spaghetti or even banana bread gets better after day 1? Same thing here! So it’s a perfect salad to make ahead for the week or even for entertaining. Easter side dish, anyone? I’ll be making it.
To make it a little more hearty, add some grilled chicken or shrimp. I think salmon would be incredible on top too. Or even crumbled bacon. YES. So many options. You’re going to love this versatile quinoa and kale salad.
Thought you might like a healthy option today! Let me know if you try it.
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Blood Orange Avocado Quinoa & Kale Salad
Healthy eating is anything but bland. I love this flavorful salad! Makes great leftovers. The flavors are amazing after a day or two in the refrigerator.
- 4 cups finely chopped kale (ribs removed)
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 2/3 cup dry)
- 3 medium Sunkist Moro blood oranges, peeled and chopped1
- 1 avocado, peeled, cored and diced
- 5 oz blue cheese, crumbled
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts2
Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons fresh blood orange juice1
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Combine all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl. Sometimes I do this with my hands to really mash up that avocado and massage it into the kale leaves.
- For the dressing: Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together-- or use a food processor. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat everything evenly. Sometimes I don't use ALL the dressing-- use however much you'd like. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Serve immediately. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- Moro blood oranges are available December through mid-April, so for any out-of-season months-- use any oranges.
- I used store-bought candied walnuts, found them in the produce aisle. Chopped pecans, sunflower seeds, or sliced almonds would also be tasty here-- or you can use candied pecans! Just as delicious.
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Another weekday favorite: citrus chicken quinoa salad
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