One of the things I love about living in New York is the food options. No matter what type of food you’re in the mood for, there’s bound to be a restaurant that serves it, probably in your neighborhood and probably open late.
It’s a great way to explore new cuisines, and luckily for those of us with food sensitivities there are hundreds of places that cater to how we need to eat. As I’m starting to eat more vegan foods, I’m finding there are so many vegan and raw restaurants in the city.
Although Matt eats meat and it’s hard to get him excited about eating at a vegan restaurant, I think it’s an opportunity for both of us to expand our palette and try meals we wouldn’t necessarily make at home.
Last weekend we celebrated our fourth anniversary. Since he knows me so well, Matt made us a reservation at Candle Cafe West, a fancy vegan restaurant just a few blocks from our apartment. As I usually do, I looked at the menu ahead of time and already knew what I wanted to order by the time we sat down.
We started our meals with a pair of dirty martinis made with quinoa vodka. Then it was time for our apps: we decided to split the vegan nachos and it was a great idea. I hadn’t had nachos in years and I was in pure heaven.
Then for dinner I ordered the grilled kale quinoa salad which was tossed with quinoa, lentils, green beans and avocado all smothered in this divine creamy dressing. It was the most delicious kale salad I have ever had and I’ve been dreaming out it ever since.
Which is precisely why I decided to recreate my own version and share it with you here. I know you’re always looking for healthy, veggie filled dishes and since it’s almost bikini season, having delicious, guilt-free meals are essential.
This kale quinoa salad is honestly the perfect summertime salad.
It’s light while still be ultra creamy. It’s loaded with bold flavors, packed with protein, and couldn’t be easier to make.
The salad itself has only four ingredients: kale, green beans, adzuki beans, quinoa and avocado. The dressing? It’s not only oil-free, but it’s thick, creamy and totally vegan.
All you need to do is toss everything into a blender, give it a whirl and you’re done. And the very best part about this salad? It’s dinner worthy, meaning it’s a fill-you-up portion of vegetables that will leave you feeling satisfied, but not overly stuffed. That’s the beauty of eating your greens
- 2 heads kale (any variety)
- 1 lb green beans, stemmed & chopped into 1" pieces
- 1 (15 oz) can organic adzuki beans
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 avocado, pitted and cubed
- Dressing (recipe below)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Starting with the dressing, add all the ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 1 minute until smooth. Transfer dressing to a jar and set aside to thicken.
- Place a steamer basket in a large pot and fill with 1" of water.
- Tear kale leaves from stalk and add to pot along with chopped green beans. Steam for 2 - 3 minutes until green beans are slightly tender and kale leaves are just starting to wilt. Transfer the veggies to a large mixing bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Once cooled, add quinoa and beans to the bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss until coated.
- Either serve immediately (and slightly warm) or place salad in the refrigerator to cool entirely. Upon serving, split evenly between four dishes and top with avocado pieces.