Quinoa kale mint salad

Hola peeps. A few days back as I was lying in the bed, thoughts of my dad flooded me. I think I have mentioned this before. My parents toiled physically, emotionally and mentally for our (my brother & I) well-being. I definitely did not appreciate this at all growing up and on becoming a parent, I slowly started realising how much they both did for us and how much they sacrificed for us. These thoughts technically should make me feel good but I end up feeling bad. Feeling bad that I did not appreciate my parents enough back then and even today though I value what they did I don’t think I appreciate enough. Feeling bad because I can no more tell my dad how much I love him & how much I appreciate what he has done for us. Feeling bad err… guilty because it’s a staunch reality that I don’t do as much as they did to me, for Adyant. But having them as parents only push me to be a better parent for Adyant.

I taught Adyant how to ride a cycle without training wheels during this lockdown & I am quite happy with how awesome he rides the cycle and owns the road he rides on. That kinda got me thinking about my dad. He taught us to cycle on some quiet coimbatore roads and ran behind us. He taught us how to play cricket, badminton, chess, carrom & cards. A few of these games were more family/ extended family games but he introduced us to it. My dad’s side of family can play chess or carrom for hours together :).

Anywho, my dad was someone who did double shifts at work (again, thanks to us) and worked a lot of weekends. I work 7-3.30 and do not work weekends. I was at complete awe of him when I did a quick comparison in these contrasting work lifestyles where I actually have time on hand to do things with Adyant in the evenings and my dad literally had to ensure he made time for us. I am sure he’s not the only dad who did this & multiple others can resonate with too. Point is, I do not really know if I would’ve put in the effort he did if I had to work the way he did and that’s kinda making me wanna cry thinking about my dad. How in the hell did he manage to make time & when??!! I don’t remember my dad spending too much time with us from my age 5-15. However, he seems to have been there when I needed him and of course, clearly I haven’t realised it up until a few days ago when I was thinking what all games my dad taught us :D. Bad daughter quite clearly :).

Anywho, this food post has nothing to do with my dad but want to save these thoughts for my own self & for Adyant to read when he grows up :).

A while back I was in a soup phase & now I am in a salad phase. I love salads & I love making salads. I sometimes feel if there was one genre food I was born to make, its salads :). I have a few salads up my sleeve now that I have been repeating a lot and before I forget about them when I move on from this phase, I wanted to document them :D. This quinoa, kale & mint salad has multiple other veggies. However, to me personally the star ingredients are the above 3 which hits the right notch for the middle eastern creamy tahini dressing. I have given multiple swap options in my notes. So do give this a try and let me know. My whole family loves this salad.

I always see these gorgeous lettuce wrap shots and I finally remembered to do that. I took some of the salad, filled a big lettuce leaf and wrapped it around, drizzled a little more dressing and gorged on it. It was soooooooo yummm!!!!

Quinoa kale mint salad
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 3 cups
  • 3 tbsp quinoa cooked in 1/2 cup water open pot method
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped curly kale
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 grated carrot
  • 1/2 medium finely chopped capsicum
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped 1/4 cup
  • 5 cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 6 nos black olives finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 no green chilli finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium avocado or 1/4 cup cooked channa/ rajma
Salad dressing
  • 2 tbsp tahina
  • 2 tbsp curd vegan/ dairy
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder or 1/4 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a crack black pepper powder
Cooking Quinoa
  1. Wash and strain quinoa onto a small stove top vessel.

  2. Pour 1/2c water & bring it to a boil and simmer.

  3. Let it boil till all the water evaporates. Turn off the heat, place a lid on and let it cool down.

  4. Fluff out the quinoa with a fork after 5 minutes, put the lid back on and allow it cool down completely. Meanwhile, get going on getting the veggies & dressing ready.

Salad dressing
  1. In a small bowl, add 2T tahina paste, 2T curd (vegan/ dairy), 1/2t dijon mustard, 1t olive oil, 1/2t white vinegar, 1/8t garlic powder, 1/4t red chilli flakes, 2T water, a crack of freshly ground black pepper, 1/2t salt.

  2. Mix it all together using a fork.

  3. Set it aside.

Preparation of the salad
  1. Wash the kale, lettuce & mint leaves. Pat it dry on a kitchen towel/ tissue or use a salad spinner.

  2. Wash all the other veggies too – carrot, capsicum, onion, cherry tomatoes, green chilli.

  3. Chop the kale, lettuce & mint leaves into small and fine slices. Place it in a wide bowl.

  4. The same goes for 1/2 capsicum, 1 onion and 6 olives. Throw these into your bowl.

  5. Slice the 5 cherry tomatoes into quarters & add them to the bowl.

  6. Peel 1/2 a carrot skin & grate it. Add this to the bowl too.

  7. Scoop out the flesh of 1/2 avocado & chop it into very fine pieces and top it on to the bowl.

  8. Add the cooled & cooked quinoa to the bowl of veggies & mix everything together.

  9. Finally, add the salad dressing to the salad & give it all a mix.

  10. Check and adjust for salt & other seasonings.

  11. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator till its time for chomp chomp!

Recipe Notes
  1. You can make this salad and keep it for 2 days. So I make this typically the prev evening & pack it for D’s lunch (have a salad box with an ice brick for him. For me, I just shove it into my office fridge if i’m carrying this to work). 
  2. You can pressure cook the quinoa for 3 whistles using the same measurement. 
  3. I like my quinoa crunchy for salads and hence prefer open pot cooking method. Pressure cooking will make it soft. However, pressure cooking makes the quinoa sprout well. If you want the same texture/ sprouting in open pot cooking, cook with a lid on and on the lowest flame possible throughout. 
  4. You can increase the amount of quinoa based on your preference. This quantity works for me. 
  5. Chop all the veggies & salad leaves nice and fine makes a lot of difference to the final taste. So do not be lazy.
  6. Make sure to dry the salad leaves well so you don’t end up with a soggy salad. I usually wash the leaves & leave it out on a muslin/ cotton towel to soak up the water and then dab out any remaining water on the leaves with the same cloth.  
  7. If you do not have tahina paste, then dry roast 2T sesame seeds & grind it with some olive oil. 
  8. If you don’t have dijon mustard, that’s ok but dijon mustard has a way to elevate a salad dressing taste and I always have some on hand. Their shelf life is pretty good. 
  9. Veggies can be mixed matched for this for sure. However, I personally like the taste of kale & capsicum with tahina. Other veggies that I can think of using here are cucumbers, cooked/ baked sweet potato. 
  10. Mint leaves add an outstanding flavour to this dish. So use them. 
  11. You can swap out avocado with any pulse like rajma/ chickpeas. 
  12. You can serve this as a filling as well. You can use this in a wrap. I just wrapped some lettuce leaves with this salad filled in with a little more salad dressing drizzle and it was so yummy. 

Stepwise pictures

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4 Responses

  1. Db says:

    This looks amazing

  2. Yogesh says:

    Rightly said. In general, this generation cannot do what the previous generation did and made appear so freaking normal. My dad would drive 200-250 Kms and still come to the airport to pick me up (again 40 Kms one side) and my mom, completely tired with the chores but would still accompany him so that I can have hot homemade tea (in a flask), knowing my love for it. 8 years down the line and I still miss these every time I land in Chennai. I will miss it my entire life.

    Some things are irreplaceable.

    • Sowmya says:

      woah are you serious? man, crazy parents right?! i hate that they set such a precedent for us! but well, glad they did. I atleast try :D. If not for that, may be i would have been far worse.

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