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Kale and Quinoa Salad is loaded with colorful vegetables and protein rich chickpeas for a delicious and healthy lunch, dinner or meal prep idea!

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

This Kale and Quinoa Salad recipe has been my new to-go lunch lately and I just love it. It’s simple, easy and nutrient dense, while of course tasting clean, fresh and delicious!

Might I also add, this kale and quinoa salad is anti-aging, anti-fattening and a mood enhancing salad. It has been proven that healthy diet improves mood.

So go ahead and give this healthy kale & quinoa salad a try. Feel free to change up the salad to your liking by adding or subtracting any vegetables you prefer. For a little crunch, add a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds overtop.

I encourage you to get heart smart quinoa and kale 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 it 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 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: Kale Quinoa Salad is perfect for meal prepping. Store in portion sized covered containers with a slice of lemon for squeezing, adding brightness and 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.



A quick and easy Kale and Quinoa Salad that’s healthy and delicious! Perfect for light lunch, dinner or make ahead meals.

  • 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. Excellent proportion of ingredients tastes fresh and good flavor. I added a handful of diced dates, feta cheese and cubed chicken.

  2. Barbara James says:

    Delicious! Will make again and add to permanent summer recipe repertoire.

  3. Easy, well-balanced, and delicious! I’ll definitely make again. I love the suggestion of adding sunflower seeds.

  4. I’m surprised that it’s pretty good given it’s so simple! Also note that I don’t like any salad in general. But I think I can eat this for a few days!

  5. Sara Egusquiza says:

    I just wanted to say that this salad recipe was one of the best I have ever tried, It is amazing!!! Try it out. Thank you for sharing this. Just exactly what we had in the fridge in this quarantine.

  6. Sheila Booth says:

    So satisfying and delicious! I didn’t have lemon pepper so I zested the lemon peel before I juiced the lemons and sprinkled some pepitas on top before serving.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Thank you for sharing, Sheila! The lemon zest sound even better, and the pepitas are a perfect addition! Cheers :)

  7. protter43 says:

    Eating this right now, delicious. First time making it. Love kale and quinoa, so great to have them together.

  8. Mrs. DeVelopment says:

    This was delicious – our first foray with kale, thank you for helping make it a success!

    1. Thank you for stopping to share your thoughts. I'm so glad this worked for you! Hooray to your first time with kale…I'm honored to have been the recipe of choice for your first time with the king of leafy greens. You'll have to try the Kale & Mushroom Gratin recipe (if your not allergic to nuts)…it's in a wonderful creamy cashew based sauce on top of farro, or grain of choice. It's really delicious! :)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Great dish! I threw in sunflower seeds and a drizzle of sunflower oil.

    1. That's sounds like a perfect addition to this salad. I was thinking a seed would be great in this giving it a little crunch and added goodness. So glad you liked. Thanks for stopping to share your thoughts. :)

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