It’s that season again. No, I don’t mean summer. I mean oven hibernation season. When you live in a 500 square foot apartment in New York City, 90 degree temperatures and oven use just don’t mix (unless, of course, you’re trying to do bikram yoga in your living room). So, I rely on easy recipes that require minimal heat usage, like this amazing summer salad recipe with fresh apricots, kale, quinoa, red onion, and almonds. Not only is it delicious and refreshing, but it just might help counteract the 4th of July beer and BBQ overload.
The only cooking required here is simmering the quinoa and toasting the almonds. Other than that, it’s just some simple assembly. Whip up a vinaigrette with whole grain mustard, apricot preserves, garlic, oil, and vinegar, and toss in you cooked quinoa, chopped kale, sliced apricots, toasted almonds, and sliced red onions. It’s so easy to put together and I happily ate this 4 consecutive days for lunch at work and not only didn’t get sick of it, but was disappointed when it ran out.
Nutritional Highlights: This recipe is a lot of those scary healthy words- vegan, vegetarian, gluten free- but I swear it’s incredibly tasty (even my meat and potato loving boyfriend liked it). You get protein from the quinoa (8 gram in a cup) and also some extra from the almonds. The kale has tons of antioxidants, fiber, iron, calcium, and also vitamin K (which is great but be careful if you’re taking any blood thinning medication). I chose apricots for this recipe because they are one of the first stone fruits to ripen in the summer and they are rich in vitamin A and C, but you could substitute peaches, nectarines, or plum if you’d rather. Basically there’s nothing bad I can say about this recipe, health or flavor wise, so if you’re looking for a healthy summer side salad or lunch.
Apricot, Kale, and Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa
1.5 cups water
2 small or 1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon course-grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apricot preserves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cups finely chopped, washed kale
4-6 pitted and sliced fresh apricots
1/4 red onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup roughly chopped or whole almonds, toasted
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add quinoa and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 12 minutes. Allow quinoa to cool. (Note: most quinoa packages will tell you to use 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa but I have found that leads to mushy quinoa, so I think 1.5 water to 1 cup quinoa is much better).
2. In a large bowl (this can be the bowl you plan to serve the salad in, whisk mustard, garlic, apricot preserves, oil, and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper).
3. Once dressing is complete, add all you other ingredients right into the dressing bowl- kale,onion, apricots, toasted almonds, and cooled quinoa. Toss the salad and enjoy!
Note: the beauty of kale salads is they can last with dressing on them without getting soggy like other greens. That’s why this salad will last a few days in the fridge!