This kale superfood salad is delicious, hearty, and filled with all our favorite superfoods. Our easy healthy salad has roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, toasted pecans, dried apricots, and blueberries, all tossed in a simple vinaigrette.
Why this Recipe Works
This incredible kale superfood salad is hearty, filling, and full of healthy, good for you, simple ingredients. It’s made with an assortment of vegetables, grains, nuts, and fruit for a flavorful, textured, and well-balanced kale salad. The dressing adds the perfect amount of sweet and tangy flavor that complements the ingredients.
It’s versatile and easy to adapt to your own preferences. Serve it as a appetizer, side, or a main entrée. It’s easy to add protein to too!
This easy healthy salad is a favorite at our house, makes us feel good, and is easy on our stomachs.
What is a Superfood?
What is a superfood and what makes a superfood a superfood? Superfoods are nutritionally dense foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and are thought to ward off long-term health problems, such as cancer and heart disease.
This kale superfood salad is fully loaded with superfoods, we’ll even lay out all the nutritional benefits of each ingredient in the salad.
First up, we have kale—the basis of the salad. Kale, like most dark leafy vegetables, is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin, C, vitamin K, fiber, calcium, manganese and other minerals.
Quinoa is great because isn’t stripped of nutrients when it is processed. It is naturally low fat, has protein and fiber which helps keep us full.
Sweet potatoes are full of calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It also ranks low on the glycemic index!
Blueberries are believed to help reduce heard disease and are full of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese soluble fiber, and phytochemicals.
Apricots are rich in fiber, vitamin A, are full of antioxidants, help lower cholesterol, and are rich in iron.
Pecans have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which is brain food. Pecans have been shown to reduce risk of stroke, Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, heart disease, and diabetes.
The dressing is made with apple cider vinegar and honey which have probiotics, boosts your immune system, and reduces inflammation.
- Kale. The kale should be washed, the hard center seams removed, and finely chopped. Chopped kale is easier to digest than large pieces.
- Quinoa. There are all sorts of kinds of quinoa, any kind will work. Pictured here is a red quinoa.
- Sweet Potato. I use a traditional orange sweet potato. I leave the skin on when roasting—less work and extra nutrients.
- Olive Oil. Olive oil is used to help roast the sweet potatoes and for the salad dressing.
- Salt & Pepper. Salt and pepper are used to season the sweet potatoes and dressing.
- Chili Powder. Chili powder helps flavor the sweet potatoes.
- Cayenne Pepper. Cayenne pepper seasons the sweet potatoes, you can reduce the amount or omit if you are sensitive to spice.
- Garlic Powder. Garlic powder seasons the sweet potatoes.
- Dried Apricots. Dried apricots add a nice pop of sweetness to the salad.
- Blueberries. Fresh blueberries are added to the salad.
- Pecans. Pecan halves are toasted before being added to the salad to bring out the nutty flavor.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is the base of this salad dressing.
- Honey. A little honey helps balance out the tart and tanginess of the vinegar in the dressing.
How to Make this Recipe
- Toast Pecans. Spread pecan halves over a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-7 minutes until toasted, but not burned. Remove from pan to cool.
- Roast Sweet Potatoes. Slice off any bad spots and chop the sweet potatoes into ½ inch cubes. Toss with olive oil, salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray, and spread over the baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes. The outside should be crisp and the inside tender.
- Cook Quinoa. While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, cook the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa and place in a small pot. cover with ½ cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 7-10 minutes until all the water has been absorbed into the quinoa. Remove from heat and cool.
- Make Dressing. Place all the ingredients for the dressing into a jar and shake to combine, or place in a bowl and whisk together until smooth.
- Chop Kale. Wash your kale and remove the hard center seams. Chop into bite-sized strips.
- Massage Kale. Add a small amount of dressing to the kale and using your hands rub the dressing into the kale, gently massaging it until it softens.
- Assemble Salad. add the remaining ingredients and dressing to the salad, toss together, and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, you can absolutely eat kale raw in a salad or other recipes.
Massaging kale breaks down the toughness of the kale, making it easier to digest and removing the natural bitterness of kale. I like to use a small amount of the dressing to massage the kale with. Simply remove a teaspoon of dressing or so and rub it into the kale until it softens, it should not take long.
Massaged kale is not quite as hearty as raw, unmassaged kale. It is best eaten within 2 days. It is still safe to eat afterwards, however, the texture won’t be as good.
Variations and Substitutions
We’ve all been there, you go to make a recipe and are missing an ingredient. Here’s a list of substitutions or things you can add to this recipe if desired. Just remember that if you swap too many things it’s not really the recipe you are following.
- Honey. You can replace the honey with maple syrup, agave, or even white sugar.
- Vinegar. The apple cider vinegar can be replaced with white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
- Quinoa. Replace the quinoa with another grain, farro, brown rice, and cous cous are good options.
- Pecans. Swap the pecans for another nut or seed, some good options are almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, or pepitas.
- Dried Apricots. Substitute the dried apricots for another dried fruit. Dried cranberries or cherries are my favorite replacements.
- Blueberries. Exchange the fresh blueberries for another fresh fruit, my favorite options are apples, blackberries, or pomegranate seeds.
- Dressing. Try swapping out the vinaigrette for our lemon herb tahini dressing instead!
If you’d like to add some extras to your superfood kale salad, these are some of my favorites.
- Proteins. Grilled or rotisserie chicken, sautéed shrimp, salmon, steak, edamame, or roasted chickpeas.
- Cheese. Feta or soft goat cheese.
- Vegetables. Broccoli slaw, cabbage, green or red onion, avocado, or chopped jalapeños.
- Fresh herbs
How to Serve this Recipe
This kale superfood salad will serve 4-6 people depending on if you are serving it as the main dish or as a side. If using as an entrée, I like adding some grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken for extra protein.
If I am serving this salad to a large group, like at a party, I prefer to massage the kale with a small amount of dressing, and then serve the dressing on the side.
This salad is great served alongside soup—like our roasted red pepper gouda soup, turkey taco chili, or our roasted cauliflower soup; and with some fresh bread—like our herb artisan bread or Dutch oven sourdough bread.
How to Store this Recipe
This superfood kale salad needs to be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Once the salad has been dressed it’s best eaten within 2 days.
The salad will last longer and is best stored with the dressing on the side. If you plan on meal prepping this salad do not apply any dressing or massaging the kale until you are ready to eat.
Make it Ahead
The quinoa and sweet potatoes can be made 1-2 days in advance before assembling the entire superfood kale salad. Both the sweet potatoes and quinoa should be cooled completely after cooking before being stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
P.S. If you tried this recipe or any other In Fine Taste recipe take a second and rate it below! We love hearing what you think. Let’s stay in touch! Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest for more recipe ideas.
Kale Superfood Salad
- 8 cups kale chopped
- ¼ quinoa dry about 1 cup cooked
- 4 cups sweet potato cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (reduce to ⅛ teaspoon if sensitive to spice)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup dried apricots thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ¼ cup pecan halves
- Cooking spray
For Salad Dressing:
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper to taste (I typically do ⅛ teaspoon of pepper and ¼ teaspoon of salt)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread pecans over baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes until toasted. Be careful not to let them burn. Remove from oven and place pecans on a plate to cool.
- Turn oven up to 450 degrees. Remove any bad spots on the sweet potato. Cut sweet potato into ½ inch cubes. Toss with olive oil, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Spray baking sheet covered in foil with cooking spray. Spread the sweet potato cubes over the baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the outside of the sweet potatoes are crispy and inside is soft.
- While the sweet potatoes are baking prepare the quinoa. Rinse ¼ cup of quinoa in cold water. Place in a small saucepan and cover with ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil. Cover saucepan and reduce to a simmer. Cook until quinoa has absorbed all the water. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients or place in a jar with lid on and shake. Spoon about a teaspoon of dressing over the kale and massage into kale until tender.
- Place all salad ingredients together in a large bowl and toss together with dressing.
Originally posted October 16, 2019