Simple Art of Cooking: How About a Kale Salad?

Organic Kale

I was taken with a delightfully refreshing and colorful kale salad that I enjoyed at Cowfish restaurant in Hampton Bays—the good folks there generously offered the recipe for me to share.

This salad reflects the coming season. With ingredients like kale, sweet red pepper, juicy red grapes, crunchy quinoa dressed with lemony honey mustard vinaigrette, the result is a perfect balance of ingredients with a contemporary twist for a truly delicious and satisfying do-ahead salad.


This extraordinary salad is inspired by one I enjoyed at Cowfish in Hampton Bays. Ingredients can be prepped a day ahead and the dressing up to three days ahead.

Serves 6 to 8

For the vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic, finely minced
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
6 to 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad

6 to 7 cups Lacinato or Curly kale
3/4 to 1 cup rinsed and halved red grapes
1 large red pepper, rinsed, cored and diced into about 3/8” cubes
1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked quinoa*
Freshly ground pepper to taste

For the topping

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped, roasted hazelnuts or almonds
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup diced Manchego cheese
zest of one lemon, optional

1. Combine all dressing ingredients, except oil in a mixing bowl and stir to mix. Add olive oil into the bowl, in a slow steady stream, stirring as you pour. Taste to adjust dressing as necessary. Pour into a mason jar with cover, and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Dressing should be well chilled before using.

2. Remove heavy stems from kale and discard. Wash and spin dry the kale leaves and wrap in towel to rid of excess moisture. Stack the leaves on a cutting board and julienne into strips about 1/2” wide. Can be done ahead and refrigerated, wrapped in paper towel. When ready to serve, place the kale in a large salad bowl. Add the bell pepper dice, halved grapes and toss with enough dressing, about 6 to 7 tablespoons, to coat the ingredients. Add more to your taste, as necessary (any leftover dressing will keep stored in the refrigerator). Add the quinoa to the salad ingredients and lightly toss to mix (adding the quinoa after salad is dressed will prevent clumping). Season with freshly ground pepper to taste and toss to mix.

3. Arrange the greens, pepper, grapes and quinoa on a platter. Scatter the cheeses over the greens and top with the toasted nuts and lemon zest, if using. Serve at room temperature.

*Note: To cook quinoa

1 cup quinoa
2 1/4 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Put quinoa in a fine strainer, rinse the grains well; and drain of excess moisture. Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a medium, covered saucepan and add salt. Cook slowly over medium to medium-low heat until liquid evaporates about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit covered for 15 minutes or longer. With two forks, toss the grain in the pan. The quinoa will bloom and open slightly, and have a crunchy texture. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Add room temperature quinoa to salad greens as instructed.


More from Our Sister Sites