It has been beautiful in Vancouver for the past couple of weeks – gorgeous sunshine, warm spring temperatures, fresh sea breeze. Lovely. Makes us think that summer is just around the corner, which has influenced my tastebuds in such a way that colourful raw veggies are all I’ve been craving.
This raw kale salad with hearty quinoa, sweet currants and creamy tahini dressing hits every spot. The dressing is so tasty I could eat it with a spoon. In fact, next time I will make a double batch and use it for drizzling over grilled chicken, for slathering pita bread before loading it with shredded veggies, and for dipping carrots and snap peas. It’s a perfect blend of creamy, nutty, tangy, sweet and salty.
To prepare the kale leaves, lie each one flat and cut a V shape around the stem and discard it. Kale stems are very tough and stringy – definitely not salad appropriate. Then stack the leaves on top of one another and slice them thinly crosswise.
Quinoa is covered in a protective coating called saponin, which is bitter and awful. The taste of this grain (which is actually a seed!) is dramatically improved with a vigourous rinse under cool running water. Don’t skip this step.
I love salads that are filling enough to be a meal, and this one definitely fits the bill. You could add chickpeas and make it even more stick-to-the-ribs. It would also be great as a side dish to accompany chicken or fish, and perfect for a summer picnic or potluck.
- 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 bunch kale (about 5 large leaves), stems removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Combine rinsed quinoa and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low; cook 15-10 minutes, until water is absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes, then place in a fine-meshed sieve and cool under cold running water. Let drain in sieve set on top of saucepan (off of heat) while you prepare the salad.
- Whisk together tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, zest, garlic, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
- Add shredded kale and cooled quinoa to bowl, and toss with the dressing until well coated. Add currants and sesame seeds and toss.