Kale and Quinoa Power Bowl (vegan, gluten-free)

kale quinoa black bean salad

After Monday’s fake mac and cheese, I felt like I needed more veggies in my life.

Yes, squash is a vegetable, but don’t you just feel more virtuous eating things that are green? I do, for whatever reason, and kale always intensifies that experience. It’s certainly not time for garden salads yet, though, or ethereal whipped things with berries, or bright lemon-infused pesto on zucchini noodles or whatever people eat when it’s not snowing out.

So I had to come up with something green that packs a punch. Kale was a must; cilantro a definite yes, to add a slight astringent taste. Cumin for warmth, black beans for heft and quinoa for protein, and I all of a sudden had a power-food bowl that was also incredibly delicious.

kale lime cumin quinoa salad

I have been eating this for lunch and dinner for days, and it’s an incredibly satisfying vegan meal. You can also make this a little more substantial (and appealing to meat-eaters) by adding grilled chicken. Simply make double the dressing and marinate the chicken in it before grilling. You can also add an egg or some simply-cooked fish, if chicken doesn’t appeal to you.

Sure, this “salad” is mostly grains and beans, but I promise, I’ll get right back into the recipes with a crap-ton (technical term) of veggies some other time. Soon. When the temperature is above freezing and I’m not suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency.

Kale and Quinoa Power Bowl
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 bunch lacinato kale (about 4 large leaves), rolled and thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
For dressing
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Bring quinoa and broth to boil in a small saucepan. Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. (Check a few times to make sure your liquid hasn’t evaporated early!)
  2. Meanwhile, place all dressing ingredients in a mini-chopper or food processor. Blitz until smooth. Place kale in a bowl and top with dressing and onions. Allow to marinate in fridge while quinoa is cooking.
  3. Once quinoa is done, allow to cool while you’re draining and rinsing your black beans. Let the quinoa cool at least 10 minutes before tossing with onions, kale, and dressing. Allow to chill before serving; just before serving, top with avocado slices and salt and pepper to taste.

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