This nourishing kale and quinoa salad with edamame and a juicy ginger sesame dressing is SO delicious and bonus: it comes together without a lot of chopping. It’s a nutrient-dense, meal-prep friendly vegan salad, packed with tummy-friendly fiber, energizing minerals and plant-based protein for those days when you need a boost.

kale quinoa salad in pink bowl with dressing in jar
This nourishing kale and quinoa salad with edamame is packed with protein and comes together with minimal chopping!

I’m not gonna lie: this girl knows her way around a bag of kale slaw.

As someone who loves her salads – but doesn’t have all day to chop vegetables – there is something deeply satisfying about tearing open a bag of prechopped, prewashed salad whenever I need an infusion of plants. (I know, the plastic though…but I recycle all my soft plastics!)

I have to admit though, sometimes I’m hesitant to write recipes using convenience foods even though as a dietitian, I’m all about convenience foods that make it easier to eat well. But since I’m sharing a bunch of quick-to-prepare salad recipes this month, I wanted to create this nourishing kale and quinoa salad with my old friend, kale slaw, to show you that plant-based recipes can be as simple as they are delicious.

This salad is lavished with a juicy, ginger sesame dressing made with lime juice that is so good, it’s practically drinkable!! I’ve added hemp hearts, edamame and quinoa for multiple hits of plant-based protein, making this a nourishing salad you can enjoy as a complete meal. It also makes a great side dish or salad for a picnic or potluck..especially because this recipe is accessible to all types of dietary needs!

This salad is vegan (but no one will notice!), gluten free, nut free, and yes, low FODMAP, should you find yourself on a low FODMAP diet for IBS. If you’re looking to get your gut health on track, grab a copy of Good For Your Gut cookbook, which is packed with delicious gut-friendly recipes plus 100 pages of evidence-based gut health info.

Grab your ingredients to make this yummy kale and quinoa salad

Hungry? This nourishing salad is made with just 5 ingredients (plus the salad dressing!) and minimal chopping. 

  • Kale slaw: a bag of kale slaw means WAY less chopping. By the time the quinoa is done, the rest of the salad is ready to go! You can totally just finely chop a big bunch of curly kale too.
  • Cilantro: I LOVE cilantro, and this salad may convince even cilantro skeptics…but if you’re one of those folks for whom cilantro tastes strongly like soap (it’s a genetic thing!) then just swap cilantro for flat leaf parsley.
  • Edamame: these green soy beans are a surprisingly good source of plant-based protein: clocking in at almost 12 grams protein per ½ cup cooked! Buy shelled edamame to save yourself from having to peel them.
  • Quinoa: this salad is a great way to use up leftover quinoa, but quinoa cooks quickly enough that you can still have a 30 minute meal even starting from scratch!
  • Hemp hearts: hemp hearts are one of my favourite ways to boost protein and get your omega 3 fatty acids. Hemp hearts have a nutty flavour and are packed with vitamins and minerals.
  • Sesame Dressing: my yummy sesame dressing with ginger and lime is addictively good.

How to make this kale and quinoa salad with edamame

If you’ve got leftover quinoa, this salad comes together in 15 minutes – or about 30 minutes if you’re cooking quinoa from scratch. In fact, by the time the quinoa is cooled, everything is done and you’ve even had time to tidy up! This salad is meal prep friendly, so you can take care of lunches for the week.

Cook the edamame and quinoa: Add the edamame to a small pot of boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes until heated through. Drain edamame and place quinoa and water in the same pot (if you don’t have leftover quinoa already!). Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Cool the quinoa in a strainer or on a baking sheet.

Make the dressing: as the quinoa cooks, shake up the sesame dressing.

Prep the salad: chop the cilantro and place it in a large salad bowl with the kale slaw and hemp hearts. 

Toss it all together: add the cooled quinoa and edamame to the bowl and toss with half the dressing to start, adding more as needed. Enjoy!

FAQ: How to cool quinoa for a salad, faster!

This salad works even if the quinoa is a bit warm (which is nice when it’s cool out!) but if you don’t want to warm up your salad, here’s a hack for cooling quinoa off faster:

Spread cooked quinoa on a baking sheet! Yep, that’s it. The metal of the baking sheet will transfer heat away from the spread out quinoa faster than if the quinoa is in a big clump in the pot (which essentially means it’s insulating itself!).

Why quinoa is so dang good for you

It’s funny, we used to eat a TON of quinoa maybe a decade ago but we got away from it (maybe we overdid it ha!) and started eating more millet. But I’m kind of into quinoa again in a major way. It’s quick cooking, super versatile and absolutely packed with health benefits.

  • Quinoa is a source of plant-based protein…although it’s not as high in protein as people think! A half cup of cooked quinoa has 4 grams of protein and about 2.5 grams of fiber, making it a relatively high fiber food.
  • Quinoa isn’t technically a grain, it’s a seed, so it’s naturally gluten free and even low FODMAP for my folks with irritable bowel syndrome on a low FODMAP diet.
  • Quinoa is mineral-rich, so important on a plant-based diet. A half cup of cooked quinoa has 1.5 mg of plant-based iron as well as 1 mg of zinc plus heart healthy magnesium, potassium, manganese and copper
  • Quinoa is also a source of folate (so important for building red blood cells and healthy pregnancies) as well as the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin for healthy eyes.
kale quinoa salad in pink bowl with dressing in jar

Tips, Tricks and Substitutions

  • This salad is awesome for a vegan meal prep! It keeps well for 3-4 days in the fridge, even when dressed.
  • Want a more filling salad? Double the edamame for extra fibre and protein!
  • If you have a big bunch of kale lying around, you can absolutely finely chop the kale instead of using a bagged kale slaw mix. 
  • Low FODMAP? Just leave the garlic out of the sesame dressing. Edamame is low FODMAP up to ½ portion per person.
  • You can absolutely add the quinoa and edamame to the salad while it is still warm as kale slaw is hardy enough not to wilt!
  • Want a bit more crunch? Add some pepitas or chopped almonds!

More yummy, healthy kale salads

kale quinoa salad in pink bowl with dressing in jar

Nourishing Kale and Quinoa Salad with Edamame

This nourishing kale and quinoa salad with edamame and a juicy ginger sesame dressing is SO delicious and bonus: it comes together without a lot of chopping. It’s a nutrient-dense, meal-prep friendly salad. Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side dish.
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Ingredients

  • 12 ounce bag kale slaw, or bunch of kale, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 1 cup cilantro, leaves and tender stems, chopped
  • ½ cup dry quinoa, or 1½ cup leftover quinoa
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts
  • 1 batch Sesame Dressing with Ginger and Lime

Instructions 

  • Prepare the edamame: bring water to boil in a small pot. Add edamame and cook for 4-5 minutes until cooked through. Drain.
  • Prepare the quinoa: In the same pot, bring quinoa and 1 cup water to a boil. Turn down heat to medium low, place lid slightly ajar and cook until liquid absorbed, about 12-15 minutes. Let cool.
  • Prepare the dressing: while the quinoa is cooking, shake up the dressing.
  • Assemble the salad: place kale slaw, cilantro, hemp hearts, edamame and quinoa in a large salad bowl. Drizzle over half the dressing, toss well and then add more dressing as you wish. I usually use most of it!