Casein/Dairy Free

Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad with Kale, Cherry Tomatoes & Avocado



Photo by Brian Ambrose Photography

This beautiful salad is nutrient-dense and fragrant with fresh basil. It can be prepared a day ahead and it keeps well in the refrigerator. This is an ideal potluck dish that transports well and gives other gluten-free guests a safe and nutritious item to enjoy.

TIP It’s a good idea to rinse quinoa before cooking. The tiny seeds are naturally coated with bitter-tasting saponins, which keep birds from nibbling.

1½ cups quinoa, preferably tricolor or red
2½ cups water, divided, more as needed
-Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium bunches black kale (about 1 pound total),
    stems and ribs removed, finely chopped
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
¾ cup chopped fresh basil
2 medium avocados, pitted, peeled, sliced
¾ cup (about 6 ounces) crumbled goat cheese or dairy-free replacement, optional
-Roasted salted pumpkin seeds

-Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small shallot, minced
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Measure quinoa into a small saucepan. Cover with cold water, swirl and drain. Repeat 3 more times. Return quinoa to pan, add 2¼ cups water and a pinch of salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook until water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes for tricolor quinoa, 20 minutes for red quinoa. Turn off heat and let stand covered 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Transfer to a large, shallow bowl and let cool.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add kale and toss to coat with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add ¼ cup water. Cover and cook over low heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add to quinoa.

3. To make dressing, combine lemon zest, lemon juice and shallot in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in 6 tablespoons oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add tomatoes and basil to quinoa. Mix in enough dressing to season to taste and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning.

5. Arrange avocado slices atop salad. Sprinkle with cheese (if using) and pumpkin seeds and serve.

Each serving contains 422 calories, 28g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 11mg cholesterol, 191mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 3g sugars, 12g protein, 17 Est GL.

Contributing chef Kristine Kidd ( is the former food editor of Bon Appetit magazine and author of Weeknight Gluten Free.