Is it cold where you live yet?
Hopefully it’s still picnic weather, and you can enjoy some of the last warm days of Fall with some quinoa kale salad wraps on a blanket under a tree.
A few weeks ago, I went to a Dutch oven potluck to celebrate the release of my new cookbook: Easy Dutch Oven Cooking. My sister and I didn’t coordinate and ended up bringing the exact same dish from the book – the quinoa kale salad (a good thing I also brought some maple baked beans)!
These light and wholesome wraps are very similar to the recipe in the book. It’s lunchy with a nutty, garlic and lemon flavor with fresh ingredients like tomato and kale. You can enjoy it as a salad (gluten free) or a wrap using any tortilla you like.
How to Make the Quinoa Kale Salad
What makes this salad so flavorful is the infused olive oil that acts like a dressing for the quinoa. In a medium pot, slowly heat the oil with pine nuts, garlic, and red pepper flakes. You want to toast the nuts and slightly caramelize the garlic but stop short before the garlic gets too gold.
For the quinoa, start by rinsing the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer the same way you rinse rice. Give it a good swirl to release any of the bitter flavors.
For really fluffy grains, you need to use boiling hot water. Quinoa needs 15 minutes to simmer and another 10 minutes to steam. Then you can fluff it and let it cool.
There’s a bit of chopping in this recipe so I like to get this done while the quinoa cooks and cools.
In terms of flavor, the trick is to taste and salt throughout, adding as much lemon juice and olive oil as you like. The final salad should be very flavorful, so if it’s lacking in one dimension, simply taste and adjust.
Serving the Wraps
To serve, toast some tortillas in the oven for a few minutes and fill with the quinoa kale salad. Enjoy with hot sauce or add some freshly grated parmesan cheese for a richer flavor.
QUINOA KALE WRAPS
- ¼ cup olive oil plus more for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup white quinoa
- 1 ¾ cups boiling water
- Juice of 3 lemons plus more for seasoning
- 1 2.25-ounce can sliced black olives, drained
- 1 bunch curly kale ribbed and roughly chopped
- ¼ cup chopped scallions white and green parts
- 4 Roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
- 4 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortillas
- Infuse the oil and make the sauce. In a medium pot over medium-low heat, combine the olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Warm for about 2 minutes, just until the pine nuts begin to lightly brown, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
- Rinse and cook the quinoa. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve, and rinse it well. Transfer the quinoa to the same medium pot; add ¾ teaspoon of salt and the boiling water. Place the pot over high heat and bring the water back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the quinoa steam, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Make the kale salad. Add the lemon juice and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt to the bowl with the olive oil and pine nuts. Stir well, then add the black olives, kale, scallions, and tomatoes, tossing to coat. Using a fork, fluff the quinoa, then, a bit at a time, mix it into the kale salad. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding extra lemon juice, olive oil, or salt as desired. Serve cold or at room temperature inside of a toasted tortilla. Refrigerate leftovers, which keep very well, for up to 4 days.
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