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Kale & Quinoa Salad

Kale and Quinoa Salad is full of colorful vegetables and protein-rich chickpeas and makes a deliciously healthy lunch, dinner, or meal prep idea!

top down view of kale and quinoa salad in a white bowl with spoon and lemon wedge.

I’ve been making this quinoa salad with kale and variety of veggies for years. It’s so simple, packs tons of nutrition and I never seem to tire of it!

Why We Love This Recipe!

  • It’s great for meal prep. Lately, it has been my to-go lunch. It stores. It’s simple, easy, and nutrient-dense, while, of course, tasting clean, fresh, and delicious!
  • It’s healthy. Each ingredient is wholesome and nutritious. We call it an anti-aging and mood-enhancing salad. It has been proven that healthy diet improves mood.
  • It’s easy to customize. Feel free to change up the salad to your liking by adding or subtracting any vegetables you prefer. For a little crunch, sprinkle pumpkin seeds overtop.

I encourage you to include these heart-smart ingredients into your diet and enjoy the benefits of clean, healthy eating!

top down view of 2 photos: left side is kale stems removed and kale chopped; second photo shows chopped kale in a white bowl marinating (aka massaged) in lemon juice.

How To Massage Kale

Kale can be tough and bitter, massaging kale before using it will help soften and reduce the bitterness, making it a little easier to eat. All you need is a little juice!

Massage kale following these simple steps:

  • Remove the kale from the large center stem.
  • Julienne the kale and give a good rough chop.
  • Add the kale to a bowl, drizzle with lemon juice, and toss.
  • Let rest for at least 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
top down view of ingredients added to white bowl, sitting on a wooden cutting board.

How To Make Kale and Quinoa Salad

  • Cook the quinoa on the stovetop or use this Instant Pot Quinoa recipe for ease.
  • Massage the kale and prep the carrots, red pepper, cucumber, zucchini, and red onion.
  • Once the quinoa is ready, add the kale, bell pepper, carrots, onion, and cucumber with the quinoa.
  • Add a little salt, lemon pepper, and a big squeeze of lemon, and toss well to combine.
  • Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

And that’s it, delicious and healthy kale and quinoa salad made easy!

top down view of kale and quinoa salad just mixed and ready to serve or store.

How To Store Leftovers + Meal Prep

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days.
  • Meal prep: This salad is perfect for meal prepping. Store it in portion-sized covered containers with a slice of lemon for squeezing which will add a bright flavor and extra moisture.

Serving Suggestions

Kale Quinoa Salad makes for a light and healthy lunch or dinner. I love making a batch of this kale & quinoa salad and grazing on it throughout the day, it’s so GOOD! Here are a few ways to make it even heartier.

top down view of 4 meal prep containers filled with kale and quinoa salad with lemon wedge.

More Healthy Quinoa Salads!

If you try this healthy quinoa salad recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 10 reviews

A quick and easy Kale and Quinoa Salad with zesty lemon is healthy and delicious! It’s perfect for light lunches, dinners, or make-ahead meals.

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 – 6 1x
  • Category: Salad, Entree
  • Method: simmer, mix
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 can (15oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed (optional)
  • 68 good sized kale leaves, stems removed and finely chopped or julienned
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced or 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 large zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 23 lemons
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, optional
  • lemon pepper seasoning or cracked pepper, to taste
  • mineral salt to taste


Quinoa: Rinse your quinoa and place in a medium saucepan with water. Bring to boil over medium high heat, cover, reduce heat and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Once done, remove cover and let set for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Kale: While your quinoa is cooking, place the chopped kale in a medium size bowl or on a chopping board, drizzle with the juice of one lemon and mix occasionally. This will help massage and soften the kale a bit, reducing it’s bitterness.

Assemble: Once quinoa is done, combine the prepped veggies and kale, along with lemon pepper and salt to taste. Squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon on top and drizzle with optional oil, mix once more.

Serve at room temperature or chilled. This is a salad you can eat with a spoon!

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 – 6 days.

Serves 4


This is a great place to add a sprinkle of sunflower or pepitas (pumpkin) seeds. Hemp hearts would also be great.

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  1. Yummy. I put sweet curry powder on the chick peas and broiled them till a bit crispy!

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