Flash back to LBF (life before fit), a series of sad salad chronicles in which my leafy combo of choice consisted solely of romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and diced cucumber. Praise change, people, ’cause these days this girl will put just about anything on top of a bed of kale and quinoa – and it. is. magic.
Fun fact: I’m a real-deal Gemini. So, naturally, my favorite things in life are a little bit of everything, all at once. And food is no exception – crispy and chewy, crunchy and gooey, tangy and sweet. Introducing the Tangy + Sweet Kale Quinoa Salad. A bed of kale and quinoa cradle sweet wintery favorites like blueberries and sweet potato while juicy tangerines tingle your tastebuds. Top it with honey-lemon shrimp for an added tangy + sweet protein punch.
(P.S. I love to experiment in the kitchen, and it seems my favorite measuring tool is a “pinch”. Go with your gut, girl. Start small, you can always add more flavor!)
Tangy + Sweet Kale Quinoa Salad (yields 2-3 servings)
- 3 large bunches Kale – about 5-6 cups chopped (washed, massaged, and chopped)
- 1 cup Quinoa (cooked and cooled)
- 1 medium Sweet Potato (chopped and roasted)
- 1 tsp EVOO
- pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste
- 1 cup Blueberries
- 1/4 cup Pecans (toasted)
- 3 Tangerines (peeled and sectioned)
- 12 oz cooked shrimp
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- 1 tsp EVOO
- 1 1/2 tsp honey
- pinch of sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
Quinoa: Cook up 3/4 cup quinoa (to yield 1 cup cooked) in your favorite way. (Check out this awesome guide to cooking quinoa here!) I love to combine mine in a rice cooker with 1 cup water and 1 cup low sodium Vegetable Broth and let it brew on the “brown rice” setting while I get my chill on.
Sweet Potato: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray and set aside. Peel 1 medium sweet potato, slice into rounds (about 1/8″ thick) and quarter rounds into wedges. Place sweet potato wedges in a bowl and toss with 1 tsp EVOO and your favorite seasonings until evenly coated. My go-to is a dash or two of sea salt and cayenne pepper. Spread seasoned sweet potato wedges on baking tray and roast for about 30 minutes, tossing periodically.
Pecans: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet generously with non stick cooking spray. Evenly distribute pecan pieces or halves and toast for 5 minutes. Be careful! Pecans burn easily.
Honey-Lemon Shrimp: Remove any tails or shells from thawed, precooked shrimp. Heat 1 tsp EVOO in a saucepan over medium heat. Add lemon juice and honey, stirring for about 3 minutes until a sauce begins to form. Add cooked shrimp and heat for about 3-4 minutes, tossing ingredients until shrimp is covered in sauce. Pinch in salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Remove from heat to keep from over cooking.
Salad: In a large bowl, combine chopped kale and cooled quinoa, tossing thoroughly. Add toasted pecans, roasted sweet potatoes, whole blueberries, and tangerine slices – give it another good toss! Top individual servings with 4-6 oz Honey-Lemon shrimp, allowing the sauce to act as your dressing.