Potlucks are a bit of a gamble when it comes to variety, quantities and especially food safety. I’ve participated in my share of potlucks and for the most part, I come away praising the “Power of the Potluck” because ususally there are plenty of tasty options, a good mix of proteins, veggies, fresh fruits, whole grains and of course delectable desserts. Now for the food safety part, one can’t be so sure. My best tip to make a potluck party as safe as you can is to bring your own dish. That way you know it is safe and that it is something you’ll eat and enjoy. Mystery solved.
I brought this dish to a recent potluck and was delighted to receive multiple complements including my friend who sought me out to see if I was the one who brought this delicious salad. So Ken, here is the recipe as promised. It is a salad inspired by one of my favorite choices at Cafe Zupas. The ingredients are fresh, ubber-nutritious and are usually on hand in my kitchen, so meal prep is easy.
I remove the leaves from the tough kale stems and massage them for a few minutes to soften them up. Massaging my kale is weird; who does that to food, but it works. While I’m luxuriating my kale, I cook the quinoa in my rice cooker along with a tsp or two of chicken base; it comes out perfect every time (double the water for every cup of quinoa). Top the softened kale with sliced red grapes, dried cherries and fresh blueberries. Add pistachios and shaved Parmesan cheese to compliment the sweet fruit.
I wanted a simple dressing to match the robust kale so start with fresh squeezed lemon juice and add sea salt, black pepper, dried oregano leaves, a little agave and of course flavorful olive oil. It’s the perfect addition to this proven potluck winner.
- Kale and Quinoa Salad with Lemon Oregano Dressing
- One large bunch of organic kale, tough rinds removed (about 5-6 stems), torn into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions, then cooled to room temperature (I use my rice cooker and add a tsp of chicken base for flavor. See Note)
- 1 cup sliced red grapes
- 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
- 1/4 cup dried cherries or sliced dried apricots
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts
- 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1 Tbsp agave nectar
- 3/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Place torn kale leaves in a large bowl. Massage for 2 to 3 minutes or until leaves are softened. Add cooked quinoa, grapes, blueberries, cherries or apricots and pistachio nuts.
- For the Dressing: Combine lemon juice, agave nectar, oregano, salt and black pepper in a small container with a lid. Cover and shake vigorously. Remove lid and add olive oil. Cover and shake vigorously again until blended thoroughly.
- When ready to serve, top with Parmesan cheese and pour dressing over top, tossing gently to combine.
*Prep time does not include cooking quinoa
*Cook quinoa in a rice cooker with a tsp of chicken base (I use Better than Bouillon) for every cup of water. This adds a lot of great flavor.
*Quinoa can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen in a freezer plastic bag for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in microwave oven and defrost on 30% power for 5 minutes. Break apart and fluff with a fork.
*Also delicious with added diced avocado and cooked diced chicken
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