Although this space is absolutely not a space to discuss politics, I just want to stop for a second and talk about kindness before I talk about this gorgeous salad. And yes, the two are actually related. The kindness and the salad. Not politics and my salad. That was a weird sentence.
The world, specifically the United States, needs a bit more kindness this week, so I rearranged the blog schedule to incorporate an important lesson.
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’re familiar with my favorite baked ziti recipe that I 99% of the time gift to families who have just had a baby. I’ve probably made and gifted over a dozen baked ziti dishes in just the last 2 years, and the reason is because kind gestures like that remind people that 1) you care about them 2) you want them to worry less about something important (eating) when there’s something seemingly more important to learn about (a tiny screaming human) and 3) baked ziti is bangarang. Yeah, I said it.
Never did I ever gift a baked ziti during a newborn visit expecting or hoping the favor would be returned when we had a baby someday, I just did it because I wanted to. And now, after actually having gone through the newborn stage myself, I wish I would have made 47 baked ziti dishes per newborn visit because OMG it’s so hard to eat when you have one of those things.
I’ll be honest, I did expect some meals brought to us, because that’s just a nice thing to do and we know a lot of very nice people, but I will tell you what– the kindness that absolutely poured out of our friends and family after we had our son in June was overwhelming. Legitimately overwhelming. As in we had so much food in our refrigerator and freezer that we didn’t need to really grocery shop for “big items” for about 6 weeks.
People… 6 WEEKS. I am not kidding. That is almost 2 months. If that’s not one of the greatest examples of kindness ever, I don’t know what is.
One of the things that Matt’s Aunt Peg brought to us was a version of this salad. It had everything you’ll see in today’s recipe but with blueberries instead of apples (original recipe here). I went with apples because hellooooo, it’s fall, and also because blueberries are like $30/lb right now. Business expense or not, that’s just not happening. Sorry, bluebs. See ya next year.
Aunt Peg’s salad lasted about 2 days in our house. I could not stop eating it. And by eating it, I mean making Matt shove it into my face faster because: newborn. I had to have the recipe, and I knew I had to share it on my blog because it’s just too good not to!
This salad is way easy. You have nothing fancy to do except throw things together. And, if your local grocery store rocks as much as mine does, you can buy shredded kale in a bag so you don’t even have to chop very much. The most you have to do ahead of time is cook up some quinoa and allow it to cool. That’s literally the most work of the whole recipe.
What I love most about this recipe is that the list of ingredients looks a little strange, but when it’s all together and in your mouth, you can’t help but wonder why you ever thought it might be weird. Lemon juice? Olive oil? Black pepper? Fruit? What?! Believe me– it’s downright delicious.
This salad would be great for an easy and different side dish at Thanksgiving because it’s tasty, presents beautifully, and it doesn’t require any oven space. Or it would be great for any favorite seasonal fruit: blueberries (like the original recipe), oranges, peaches, strawberries, grapes, nectarines, PEARS (<– OMG someone try that and report back, please!!). Seriously versatile and customizable to your palate.
I’m telling you what, the bite of the feta, the crunch of the almonds and kale, the chewiness of the quinoa, and the seasonings that adorn every nibble of this salad will be calling your name over and over once you give them a try.
And seriously, remember to be kind. Perhaps even invite me over if you plan to try one of those other fruits I suggested. I’ll be kind right back and bring wine in exchange.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (cooled)
- 2 cups shredded kale, roughly chopped
- ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 large apple, chopped (preferably a sweeter variety)*
- ½ cup whole raw almonds, coarsely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tablespoons)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, kale, feta cheese, apples, and almonds. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over the salad, toss to coat everything, then taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Salad can be served warm or cold. Leftovers stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator, up to 4 days.
Recipe adapted from Greatist