I think I’m a late bloomer by nature. There are many things in life that I didn’t get into until everybody else had experienced them. Like a boyfriend… I had my first boyfriend when I was 17 years old. Never kissed a guy until then! It’s okay really, don’t worry about me…..I don’t think that scarred me for life lol! Or like joining the crazy world of the internet. I was one of the last people from my circle to get into it. Cell phones? Yep, one of the last ones. I had a flip phone forever! I was embarrassed to go out to dinner with friends and take my phone out of my bag lol! I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so into gadgets now…. I feel like I was deprived in my early years. I’m doing a good job resisting the temptation to change my iPhone every summer when the new versions come out though! Anyways….
I’m also a late bloomer when it comes to kale. Everybody’s been on the kale bandwagon for at least two years now and I never joined the crowd.
Until now that is.
This salad is full of goodness. I’m hooked! It’s a copycat recipe from Chelsea’s Kitchen, a restaurant in Phoenix. I’ve been there twice; one time with my girlfriends and recently with my in-laws. They serve this salad as a side for some of their dishes and it’s also available as a main salad. I ordered it as my main dish along with rotisserie chicken to make it a complete meal. I fell in love with the salad and knew right then that I had to recreate it. I wrote down all the ingredients and set myself on a mission.
Since I love to google everything, I searched to see if there was a version of this recipe out there. And yep! I was surprised to find the exact same recipe. Score! I found it on the LGO Hospitality website that Chelsea’s is part of. I didn’t change much of the recipe since I think it’s perfect the way it is. The only thing different is their recipe calls for preserved lemons but instead I used regular lemon peel.
Oh and FYI – when trying to figure out the recipe at the restaurant, my senses guessed almost all the ingredients…except the shallots & chervil in the vinaigrette 😉 Not bad huh?
Shredded Kale & Quinoa Salad
For the Champagne Vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced shallots
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon chopped chervil
- Ground black pepper to taste
For the Salad
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 4 cups loosely packed julienned kale from 1 large bunch
- 3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
- 2/3 cup red seedless grapes halved
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Manchego cheese
- 12 to15 strips finely julienned lemon peel
Make the dressing
- In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, shallots and salt; set aside for 20 minutes to soften the shallot.
- Slowly drizzle in the oils while whisking to emulsify the vinaigrette.
- Whisk in the chervil and pepper. This makes a scant one-half cup vinaigrette; the vinaigrette will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 4 days.
Make The Salad
- Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a simmer.
- Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse well, then drain, and add to the simmering water.
- Cook the quinoa until the grains are translucent and tender and the germ has spiraled out from the grain, about 15 minutes (be careful not to overcook).
- Remove from heat and drain any remaining liquid.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a baking sheet to cool.
- Note: the quinoa can be made ahead of time and stored, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days before using.
- In a large bowl, place the kale and one-fourth cup of the vinaigrette.
- Using your hands, massage the vinaigrette into the kale until the kale is softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
- To the bowl, add the cooled quinoa, the sunflower seeds, bell pepper, grapes and Parmigiano Reggiano, tossing to combine.
- Divide the salad among serving plates, evenly sprinkling over the Manchego cheese and garnishing with the preserved lemon strips.
- Serve immediately.