This salad is loaded with flavor and nutrition. Sweet, spicy, savory and a just the right amount of tart and tangy.
These ingredients really pack a punch:
Quinoa: This gluten-free grain is a complete protein and a good source of fiber, both of which contribute to maintaining balanced blood sugar.
Kale: A leafy green superstar high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer nutrients.
Avocado: An excellent source of healthy fats including oleic acid. Oleic acid is rich in antioxidants that help remove toxins from the body, helps boost memory and immune function and increases cardiovascular health.
Cranberries: Excellent for treating and preventing urinary tract infections. Cranberries are also high in antioxidants and aid in reducing inflammation in the stomach and large intestine.
Apples: Slow down the digestion of carbohydrates allowing the blood sugar to stay more evenly balanced. Because to of the pectin contained in the apples they offer excellent cardiovascular benefits. The pectin, water soluble fiber, decreases the overall levels of cholesterol.
Almonds: Maintain blood sugar balance and improves cardiovascular health because it is high in health fats.
Herbs and Spices: The herbs and spices used to create the dressing for this salad pack a powerful punch. They contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.
Quinoa Kale Salad with Cilantro Balsamic Vinaigrette
½ cup quinoa, rinsed
¾ cup water
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 chicken breast, optional
1 large bunch curly kale
1 avocado, cubed
¼ cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
¼ cup goat cheese, optional
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼–½ cup Balsamic Cilantro Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
¼ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. dried marjoram
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of sea salt
Pepper to taste
¼ bunch cilantro
Prepare the quinoa by placing water and quinoa in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat, keep covered for 5-10 minutes more, fluff with a fork.
While Quinoa is cooking prepare the chicken and Cilantro Balsamic Vinaigrette
If adding chicken. Place in a ziplock bag. Using a meat tenderizer flatten the chicken with the smooth end of the tenderizer. Heat a frying pan on medium heat. Add in the coconut oil and coat the pan. Add the chicken to the pan and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium low, cook for 10 minutes and then turn over. Keep frying until chicken is cooked through. Slice for salad.
In a blender combine all of the dressing ingredients and blend until creamy.
Wash and chop kale (cutting out thick center stem) and place in a large serving bowl.
Add in the avocado, cranberries, crumble in the goat cheese, add the apples, almonds and chicken and toss together.
Add in ¼-½ cup of the dressing and toss again.
The Balsamic Cilantro Vinaigrette also makes a great sauce for grilled chicken or fish. Stir it into steamed veggies or blend it into mashed potatoes or brown rice for a tasty side dish.