quinoa with kale, squash & walnuts

I have to admit, it wasn’t that long ago that I would have scrunched up my nose at the suggestion of eating kale. Quinoa sounds foreign and exotic and maybe hoping to absorb some of those characteristics, I embraced that no problem, but kale, poor kale, fell doomed to the category of dark leafy greens and I was pretty sure they were going to taste bitter. And be yucky. But seems like everywhere I turn now, I see recipes for quinoa and recipes for kale. Apparently someone along the line actually tricked me into liking kale (kale chips will do that) so it seemed like time to get these two powerhouse foods together. And since I’m craving fall flavors, I threw in some squash (plus it adds nice color not to mention some extra vitamins) and toasted walnuts for some nice crunch.

I view this as just a starting point and am already dreaming up new renditions.

Quinoa with Kale, Squash and Walnuts
Makes 4 main course servings or 6 side dish servings

1 cup quinoa
2 cup broth or water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup hard squash (you choose your favorite), cubed in a 3/4″ dice
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup kale leaves, washed and hard stems removed, coarsely torn
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

In a saucepan, combine the quinoa and broth or water to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the water has been absorbed (approximately 20 minutes). Remove from heat and fluff with fork.

Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. When hot, add onion and caramelize (approximately 10 minutes). When nice and golden, add garlic, squash and wine. Cover and cook until squash is fork tender. Uncover and add kale and lemon juice. Cook until liquid is evaporated and kale is wilted and bright green. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Add kale mixture and walnuts to quinoa and stir to mix.

Variations (disclaimer I have not tried these…yet!):
• Use orange juice instead of lemon juice
• Try any nut – cashews, pine nuts, pecans. Pepitas too.
• Stir in dried fruit – cranberries and golden raisins sound particularly good.
• Embrace other leafy greens! Spinach, chard!
Do you have a variation that you think sounds good? I’d love to hear it!

I ran this base recipe through My Fitness Pal for this nutritional analysis.
Nutritionals: 304 cal, 11 g fat, 10g protein, 5g sugar, 5g fiber, 6g calcium.

This recipe has clearly cemented my relationship with kale. Even I was surprised by how delicious it was, not to mention healthy and budget conscious. Pretty much a win-win-win!


About bistroonesix

I have an interest in all things food and am lucky enough to be surrounded by people that share this same passion. There’s never a shortage of inspiration or partners in collaboration. Some of my happiest memories involve big tables covered with food, plenty of wine, and extra chairs pulled up to accommodate all the friends and family. If I can help facilitate these kinds of evenings, well then I’d say this is a great hobby to have. I live in Boise, Idaho with my husband and 2 adorable cats.


  1. I love that you used a colorful squash. This recipe sounds great and I love quinoa! Roasted kale with olive oil and salt is so good too!

    • The whole dish was really colorful… that’s why I chose the red onions too. If you make this recipe, Stefsgastronomy, I’d love to hear how you liked it! Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it!

  2. Pingback: confessions of a caramel pusher « bistro one six

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