Beautifully tender but textured greens. Crunchy, crisp apples. Nutty, toothsome quinoa. Creamy, tart goat cheese. All enveloped in a tangy, sweet, sharp dressing. It's the stuff of dreams. My dreams, at least. It's the most incredible salad. I know, I know I say a lot. This time…I mean it. It's the most beautifully balanced mix of textures and flavors I've come across in a really long time.
It's also based on a recipe posted to one of my new favorite food blogs, Green Kitchen Stories. The product of a couple in Sweden – who have another project coming in the way of a new addition to their family – it's such a breath of blog fresh air. Gorgeous, unpretentious photos of recipes that are chock full of lots of good-for-you things. Looking at the photos made me feel good…as did eating their food.
I added a bit of horseradish to my recipe to give a little nose-burning zip to counter-act the dense greens and the crisp apple. Speaking of greens, I used a beautiful mix of kale grown by Crystal Organic Farm here in Atlanta. The greens are just tender enough to be usable for salad without blanching or flashing. The honey adds just the thing to tie everything together. Make sure you add it to your dressing.
Black Quinoa & Kale Salad – serves 2 as a large salad – based on original recipe found here at Green Kitchen Stories
To cook the quinoa: Rinse quinoa thoroughly and allow to drain. Place 1 cup dry quinoa and 1 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and cook until cooked but not mushy – this was about 20 minutes for me. I would imagine it depends on the age/freshness of your quinoa. If it absorbs the liquid before it gets tender to your liking, add more liquid and continue cooking. Drain excess water and allow to cool.
For the salad: Remove the tough stems from your kale. I used a lovely kale mix from a local farm-stand. If you're using large kale leaves, make sure the tough ribs are gone. Roughly chop the kale into bite sized pieces. Mix in chopped apples. Set aside.
For the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, horseradish, mustard, and honey. Taste and add salt & pepper as needed.
To assemble: Toss cooled, cooked quinoa in the dressing. Add dressed quinoa mixture to the kale & apples. Place on individual plates or large serving platter. Crumble goat cheese on top of salad & serve immediately.