Kale and Quinoa Salad with Black Beans: Vibrant green kale is massaged with a lemony, cumin and chile dressing and tossed with chilled quinoa and black beans for a zesty quinoa salad.
I’ve always said that I could eat soup year-round, but this summer, eating anything warmer than body temperature makes me want to rip off all my clothes–not in a sexy way but in a “flames are about to start shooting out of my eyeballs” way. You women over 50 know what I mean. So there are big gaps in my weekly menus that used to be filled with soup.
The great thing about a good bean and vegetable soup is that it’s pretty much a one-pot meal, so I’ve been experimenting with salads that have the same ease and simplicity but are delicious and refreshing when served cold.This salad is one of my attempts to have it all–beans, grains (or seeds, in the case of quinoa), and vegetables–in one big bowl. It’s similar to my International Quinoa Salad, except that with 4 to 6 cups of raw kale, it has a much higher amount of vegetables.
Massaging the dressing into the kale tenderizes it, but if you’re not a fan of raw kale, you can steam it for a few minutes to make it even more tender. If you do opt to massage the kale, think deep tissue massage and not gentle Swedish massage. Massage it like you mean it!
This one-salad-bowl meal is one of those dishes that improve with age, so if you have the time, make it a day ahead and enjoy its blend of lemon, cumin, and chile flavors even more. And keep your clothes on.
Kale and Quinoa Salad with Black Beans
- 1 cup quinoa I used a combo of red and white quinoa, rinsed very well
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
- 3 tablespoons vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds or ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder or other pure chile powder, not a blend
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder or to taste
- 1/2 tsp salt optional, or to taste
- 4-6 cups chopped kale leaves about 4-5 ounces
- 1 15-ounce can black beans about 1 1/2 cups, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 avocado optional, sliced or cubed
- additional lemon juice and seasonings to taste
- Heat a saucepan. Add the rinsed and drained quinoa and the garlic and toast it until almost dry. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing in a small bowl or measuring cup: whisk together the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons broth, chia/flax seeds, chile powders, cumin, and salt. Allow to stand until the chia seeds start to thicken the dressing.
- Place the kale in a large serving bowl. Add half of the dressing and massage it into the kale using a wringing motion until the kale is very tender. Two minutes of massaging should do it, but the longer, the better. Add the quinoa, black beans, carrot, and bell pepper, along with the remaining dressing. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Just before serving, check the seasoning and add more lemon juice, chile powder, cumin, and salt, as needed. Stir in chopped avocado, if desired, or serve with slices of avocado on the side.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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EricaJuly 25, 2013 at 6:51 pm
Just made this recipe – SO good! It’s going to have to become a new staple around here
AlisonJuly 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm
Just made this and it is AWESOME!! I love your blog, and will trying a lot of the recipes! Thanks!
Jrsygal59July 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm
Made this, this afternoon then put in fridge until dinner…oh my is this delicious and filling….only use 1/4 of Avacado which I put on the side.
Jrsygal59July 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm
I did forget to add that I omitted the salt…tasted just fine without 🙂
anne kraulAugust 2, 2013 at 8:13 am
Wow, this salad was a huge hit. I added a little arugula since I had some handy. Did not miss the oil at all. My husband loved the fact that it wasn’t sweet.
I used the optional salt in the beginning to massage the kale. It seemed a little less messy to me than massaging the kale with the dressing. Of course, that wouldn’t work for those who are trying to omit salt.
I just discovered your site and have to tell you how thankful I am to you for providing these recipes. I’ve been a vegan since April and was beginning to get bored with the dishes I was finding in cookbooks and on-line. They were either too time consuming or bland. You have renewed my interest in cooking! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
JenAugust 6, 2013 at 9:36 pm
This recipe is great! 10x better (and cheaper) than the Evolution Fresh black bean/quino bowl here in Seattle. This will be a regular started recipe for my work week lunches.
KimAugust 8, 2013 at 9:58 am
I made this last night and the quinoa just ended up making the whole salad gummy. Next time, I’m going to try tabouli instead. The flavor was fabulous! I will use the dressing on other stuff too, it was great!
KimAugust 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm
I will semi-recant my previous position, I just had leftovers for lunch and the quinoa has improved in texture.
greg11aaAugust 13, 2013 at 12:28 am
Thank you for being there for us wanna be vegans ; o)… My 15 year old daughter A and I tried a twist on your Kale, Quinua and Black Bean salad (used brown and wild rice instead) and it was a hit! I appreciate your family favorites. If I can get A to rotate 10 to 12 favs then shes on her way to eating better more often then not. Two more recipes are slated for tomorrow. You’re the best! Your are appreciated and I think you are helping in the front lines on educating alternatives for our obesity epodemic. Espstein mentored Clinton and you’re mentoring many others.
AlexandaAugust 13, 2013 at 6:45 pm
Tonight’s dinner; didn’t have fresh pepper, so used roasted red pepper. I liked, and so did my husband; served w sweet potato and ww pita; makes a good amount!
AlishaAugust 20, 2013 at 9:40 am
Made this last night for dinner & it was amazing!!! This was perfect for me because I had kale, red bell peppers, carrots – all from my CSA that needed to be eaten. I put some black beans in the slow cooker in the morning, so they were ready to go by the time I was ready to make dinner. I also steamed the kale first because I wasn’t sure my 2 year old would eat it raw. The whole family loved it!
JesseAugust 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm
Made this today and it’s delicious! Thanks for the inventive recipe!
Cynthia BasshamDecember 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm
Just made it and it’s fabulous! Thanks so much for this great recipe.
JessicaJanuary 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm
Added a minced habanero chilli pepper to this and it gave it a perfect amount of spice!
Corrin RaddFebruary 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm
Made this today. Good stuff.
vegchristineFebruary 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm
This was amazing! I have never massaged my kale before. I wish I had even though I felt a little silly. YUUUUMMMMY!
Ruth KlossFebruary 17, 2014 at 12:46 pm
I am recovering from pancreatitis and require a no fat, non meat diet for awhile. I am thrilled to have found your blog because I love to cook and the limitations this puts on my cooking and eating is literally wasting me away.
I like the ingredients you often use like kale, quinoa , beans and such. I am so happy to have these new choices. I may become vegan if the pancreatitis becomes chronic.
East Meets West VegJune 2, 2014 at 10:19 pm
So beautiful and healthy!
Esther JJune 5, 2014 at 7:08 pm
I remember that I made this dish last summer, but honestly, I can’t remember how it was! And since I didn’t comment here, I didn’t even have a written history of it when I approached preparing it today.
Well, it was delish! I had kale I needed to use, and wanted different flavors than what I’ve been using lately, and this didn’t fail me at all. The only change I made was that, because I only had exactly one quarter cup of (red) quinoa, I sub’d the remaining with bulgur wheat (in fact, I dumped the quinoa and the wheat in the same pot and cooked them together). No problems there whatsoever.
The chopped avocado within the salad bumped up the dish even more.
My satisfied palate and tummy thank you very much, Susan!
ShalaJune 12, 2014 at 5:56 pm
This was great, thank you! I really like your method of rubbing the kale with the dressing. I’ve heard of that technique, but this was the first time I tried it — and it really took away the earthy taste. I forgot to add garlic to the quinoa so I added it to the dressing. Also, I used left over adobo sauce instead of the two chili powders you recommended because I had some leftover in the fridge. My fiance and I loved our lunch, and I will definitely share this with others.
MickyJuly 8, 2014 at 5:36 pm
This is so good – I love kale, and quinoa, and chia, and putting them together is superfood nirvana! I’ve made this recipe twice in the past week, and I’m about to make it again. I’ve added chard (because that’s what I have in the garden) – I imagine this recipe would do well with other greens like spinach.
I’ve made quinoa before but putting in on the stove with a bit of garlic and cooking until dry is new to me – and makes a difference in how the quinoa comes out.
Thanks – this is excellent!
Katie @ LiveOriginallyJanuary 26, 2015 at 7:49 pm
I tried this tonight and it was AMAZING!! An instant family favorite. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!
RebeccaApril 12, 2015 at 1:31 am
I never have massaged my kale until today and it was the best thing I could have ever done, as silly as that sounds. The dish was delicious went hough I tweaked the ingredient sizes a bit. Overall, really yummy and will definitely make it again! Thanks for sharing!
ChristiJune 12, 2015 at 10:03 am
I had all of these ingredients in the fridge and didn’t know what to make, so I googled quinoa, carrots, kale, and bell pepper and your recipe came up.
Well, my google search paid off because this recipe was delicious, and also made enough to feed my family of five with leftovers! My husband and son added sriracha to their bowls to give it a little more kick.
Doug SMarch 22, 2016 at 12:58 pm
I love this recipe. It’s fast, inexpensive, a complete meal, can be made ahead, and makes for great leftovers–a perfect combination for two people who work late and rarely have time to make anything that takes an hour.
Marisol MorellJanuary 2, 2017 at 6:19 pm
First time having quinoa prepared like this! Omg…this was so good!
Debbie LJuly 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm
My husband doesn’t care for raw kale, but I’ve been able to sneak in cooked kale and he never seems to know! I went ahead and cooked the kale with the quinoa and garlic and it turned out perfectly! Amazing recipe and great flavors! Will definitely be on our favorite list! Husband approved too! Thanks for another winner, Susan!
Marla MJune 20, 2018 at 9:44 pm
A few years ago I searched for a recipe similar to a salad from Starbucks I had fallen in love with. Since finding this recipe, I haven’t gone beck to the Starbucks version. I’ve made this salad several times over the last few years and it has become one of my favorite ways to eat quinoa. I’ve taken it to parties and it always receives rave reviews. Thank you Susan!
JeannieSeptember 8, 2022 at 12:37 pm
Well, I learned a valuable lesson and I will not make your rating suffer because of it. When you said the longer the better for the kale massage, I obviously took it too far and had mushy kale. Not good. I would have preferred bitter kale to mushy kale. Maybe it is because I used Lacinto/Dino Kale instead of the curly. I have had success in the past, but pretty much ruined this dinner. Lucky for me, my husband was a good sport and understood my mistake so we still made a meal out of it. We added California Balsamic’s Sweet Heat balsamic vinegar for a little kick. I think I prefer your other kale recipe with the spicy pumpkin dressing if it is fair to say with my mistake.