Kale salad with plums and crispy quinoa

A flavourful, protein-packed salad!

I’m a huge fan of kale salads and since I discovered the trick a few years ago of massaging the dressing into the greens to tenderize them, my husband is as well. We love this vegan kale caesar salad and this one with caper vinaigrette but this week’s experiment is definitely a new favourite. Plums add a beautiful pop of colour and flavour to salads and the balsamic vinaigrette is super tasty. I adore the crispy quinoa topping – it’s a yummy way to add texture and protein to all kinds of dishes. As a bonus, you can make the quinoa and vinaigrette ahead of time.


Crispy quinoa:

  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) uncooked quinoa
  • 2/3 cup water
  • pinch salt
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons (45 – 60 mL) vegetable oil

Balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) Dijon mustard
  • few pinches of salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) good quality olive oil


  • 8 cups (2 L) shredded kale leaves (stems removed)
  • 1 – 2 ripe plums


  • Prepare the crispy topping by rinsing the quinoa in cold water then draining. Place the rinsed quinoa in a small pot with the measured amount of water and pinch of salt. Cover pot and bring to a boil then reduce heat to minimum and cook till all water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 12 – 15 minutes. Depending upon size of pot, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of additional water if all the liquid evaporates before the quinoa is tender.
  • Once quinoa is cooked, transfer it to a clean piece of paper towel and gently press out any moisture. Spread the quinoa on a clean plate and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours until completely dry.
  • Heat the oil in a small frying pan (about 6 inches / 15 cm). Add the cooked, dry quinoa and fry, stirring constantly, for 3 – 5 minutes, until crispy. Transfer the crispy quinoa to a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry. Let cool and transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Prepare the vinaigrette by placing all the ingredients in a small jar with a tight lid. Cover and shake to blend well. Refrigerate until needed.
  • Prepare the salad by placing the shredded kale in a serving bowl. Drizzle about 2/3 of the balsamic vinaigrette over top and massage dressing into the leaves with your very clean hands, adding a bit more dressing if needed to evenly coat the leaves without making a puddle in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Arrange plum sizes over the dressed kale then sprinkle crispy quinoa over top and serve immediately.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.


Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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