I don’t know about you, but I’m just not the biggest fan of salads in the winter time. The ingredients I typically love in salads aren’t fresh and in season, and salads are usually cold and light- whereas I love warm, hearty meals in the colder months of the year.
Enter this salad- made with ingredients that are both easily accessible and still fairly fresh in the winter, with hearty quinoa and crispy spiced chickpeas that make it feel like a solid and filling meal, rather than that light, fresh salad I love in the spring and summer.
It’s packed with nutrients- immune boosting Vitamin C in the kale (did you know 1 cup of kale has over 100% the daily recommended amount of vitamin C?!) , tons of plant based protein and B-vitamins for an energy and mood boost in the quinoa and chickpeas, and of course- omega-3 fats in the walnuts. All this is to say- you’re getting allll the benefits of a nutrient-rich salad, with a winter hat on.
Plus, can we talk about that dressing?! Maple. Balsamic. Sweet, lightly acidic… it perfectly complements the kale, the carrots and the apple– Just try it- ok? I promise you won’t be disappointed, at the least- and at the most, I promise I won’t judge you if you want to drink it!
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa 4 cups curly kale, chiffonade 1 medium apple, diced 1/2 cup julienne carrot (sliced with a peeler). 1/4 cup chopped walnuts Maple balsamic dressing (see below) 1 batch crispy chickpeas (see below)
2 tbsp maple syrup 2 tbsp good-quality balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup neutral oil (avocado or olive) 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp salt
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry 2-3 tsp oil 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp coriander 1/4 tsp smoked paprika 1/4 tsp garlic powder big pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss chickpeas with oil (enough to coat), seasoning blend and a generous pinch of salt. Roast in oven for 15 minutes. Toss and cook another 5-10 until crispy. Set aside.
While chickpeas are cooking, cook quinoa. Cook in a rice cooker with 1 1/2 cups of water or combined quinoa and 1 1/4 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 15 minutes, untouched. Remove cover, stir, let sit a few more minutes if water remains. Fluff and let cool slightly.
Prepare dressing by whisking all ingredients well and tasting for seasoning. Dressing should taste slightly over-seasoned (it’s going to coat the whole salad!).
Combine cooked quinoa with kale, apple, carrot and walnuts. Toss with enough dressing to coat well (start with 1/2). Top with crispy chickpeas just before serving.