This quinoa salad with grapes, basil, shallots, feta and baby kale is a flavorful, hearty, protein packed salad you can make ahead and enjoy for days to come.
For a lot of busy folks like myself, food prep is key to eating well. Sometimes I forget to eat breakfast while I’m making the kids’ breakfasts and lunches and getting them off to school on time. Even when I am good about breakfast it’s usually something small as I usually hit the gym or yoga studio first thing in the morning. Hearty salads that don’t wilt are one of my favorite things to make ahead. High protein grain (technically quinoa is a seed) and legume bases are my favorite because they provide protein and fiber that fill us up, and they stay fresh and delicious for several days. Quinoa salads can be made with endless flavor variations. This quinoa salad is one of my favorites at the moment.
Quinoa salad with grapes, basil, shallots, feta and baby kale is my make-ahead salad of the month. My plan was to use walnuts in this quinoa salad, but I had just run out of them, so I used pepitas instead. Feel free to use any nuts you like. September brings the beginning of grape harvest season, and fresh basil is still hanging around. Make a batch of this flavorful, hearty, earthy salad and bring a jar to work or to a picnic. Or use in Buddha bowls
for a super easy dinner. With some avocado, pita bread and hummus, this is my kind of meal! You know how I adore my Buddha bowls.
Yummy Hubby brought these gorgeous homegrown grapes home from work last week. A thoughtful patient brought them into his office. Thank you, thank you! What a nice gift! With their leaves still attached, I had to grab my camera. And I was reminded that it’s grape season and other than than simply eating them or freezing them (grapes are delectable frozen!) it’s time to come up with grape recipes. What are your favorite grape recipes?
Quinoa makes an excellent base for salads. At 8 grams of high quality protein per cup, quinoa salads are a fantastic source of plant based protein. It’s also a gluten free food. Quinoa is easy to cook. Be sure to give it a rinse before cooking, and then simmer 15 minutes covered until the water is absorbed. Cooking quinoa with vegetable broth gives it a little more flavor, but water is all you need to cook it.
I know I eat better when I have wholesome, real food prepared and ready in the fridge. This quinoa salad came to the rescue when hunger struck on busy days last week. I hope you’ll give it a try and enjoy it too.
Vegan/non-dairy option: Forget the feta and use dabs of KiteHill ricotta or add extra salty roasted nuts.
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth or water
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons white balsamic (or red wine) vinegar
1 cup halved red grapes
1/3 cup fresh chopped basil
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 cup cubed feta cheese
1/3 cup pepitas or walnuts
2.5 oz. baby kale or spinach (about 1/2 bag)
salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse quinoa. Bring veggie broth or water and quinoa to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is translucent and soft. Transfer to a bowl and cool.
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, syrup, and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine the quinoa, grapes, basil, sliced shallot, cheese, nuts and greens. Dress with the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I like my salads extra vinegary. If you do too, splash some more vinegar in to taste.
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 334 Total Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 9mg Sodium: 483mg Carbohydrates: 43g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 15g Protein: 11g