The older I get, the more certain things change. Specifically, the food I have packed for the day makes a huge difference in the way I feel by the end of it, the presence or absence of sunshine can have a remarkable effect on my disposition, and I place an increasing value on experience, versus material anything. I’m not exactly ready to move to a studio apartment with my family of four, but if I had to pick between a trip versus a new couch, the exploration will prevail almost every time.
I’m not sure if the shift in eating relating so directly to the way I feel is a result of getting older, or if I’m more aware, or if my body has just acclimated to getting nutritious food the majority of the time and revolts when fed crap. Maybe all three. After all, I fondly remember several years of high school in which nachos were pretty frequent in my lunch rotation. Those round, yellow chips and the “cheese” I’m not so sure was really such a thing somehow got me through track practice. At any rate, I’d really pay for such a food choice these days. I’m always trying to hit the sweet spot of delicious and nourishing. Bonus points for something that keeps a couple of days and packs well for lunch. This salad gets bonus points.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the size of the ingredient list. This makes a sizable batch (you could definitely serve it at a party), has some nice protein with the quinoa, chickpeas and feta, and you’ll get a couple of lunches out of it, which really makes it worth the chopping time.
Thanks to my dear friend Kelly for feeding me a version of this during my recent trip to Philadelphia and inspiring me to pull this recipe together! As always, I think salad recipes are really “list of ingredient suggestions,” so feel free to add more or less of any ingredient, based on your personal preferences.
Kale-Quinoa Greek Salad
2 cups shredded lacinato kale (sometimes called dinosaur kale)
1 1/2 – 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 cup cooked, cooled quinoa
1 colored pepper, chopped (I like orange, visually)
1 8 oz container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 english cucumber, chopped
10 – 12 pepperocini, sliced
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup sliced red onion + 2 tsp red wine vinegar + pinch of sea salt
Lemon + Herb Greek Salad Dressing
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp fresh dill
sea salt and pepper to taste
If you don’t have quinoa already cooked, start that first so you can let it cool while you work on everything else. Cook quinoa per package directions.
Next, slice your red onion as thinly as possible. Place in a small bowl and add 2 tsp of red wine vinegar and a small pinch of sea salt. Stir together so the red wine vinegar is evenly distributed. This step isn’t essential, but the red wine vinegar helps to take the bite out of the onion. Let sit to the side for at least 10 minutes, but longer is even better.
Get your chopping party started – kale and cabbage should be cut in small pieces, as shown in the pictures. Toss in a medium – large bowl.
As you chop each item, add it to the bowl. Make sure you drain and rinse the chickpeas before adding. Crumble the feta and toss in. Add the cooled quinoa and the red onions.
In a small glass jar with a lid, add dressing ingredients together. Shake vigorously to mix everything well. Pour half the dressing on top of the salad and stir to coat all ingredients. Pour the other half on top and toss again. Taste, and add more salt and pepper as needed.
Enjoy immediately, and eat all of it within the next couple of days.