Quinoa, Kale, Cranberry and Pecan Salad

I think I’ve found my summer salad.  I’ve eaten this quinoa, kale, cranberry and pecan salad three time this past week…and I’m thinking about making it for lunch tomorrow as well.


I had a hard time getting behind the kale movement – too tough and chewy.  Then I found baby kale at the supermarket and it completely changed my mind.  It’s more tender than “grown up” kale and easier to eat. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and I look forward to adding baby kale to different salads in the future.

A couple of notes:

Add half the dressing to the chopped kale before you do anything else.  This will give the kale a chance to marinate and soften in the dressing.

I’ve noted on previous recipes how to cook quinoa – but in case you missed it – please make sure to rinse your quinoa before cooking.  Once you’ve cooked the quinoa, drain the quinoa in a fine meshed strainer and then turn out the quinoa on to a baking sheet to cool – this will keep it from being mushy.

I used plain pecans.  I didn’t toast them but you can if you want.  You could also use candied pecans if you have a sweet tooth.

I used feta cheese since I love the feta.  You could substitute blue cheese if you’re a big fan of blue cheese.


Quinoa, Kale, Cranberry and Pecan Salad

A delicious summery salad with quinoa, kale, cranberries and pecans.

  • Prep Time: 12 mins
  • Cook Time: 14 mins
  • Total Time: 26 minutes
  • Yield: 2 to 4


  • 4 cups baby kale
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa – cook quinoa as per the package instructions
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove minced or put through a press
  • 8 twists of black pepper from a pepper mill
  • 1 squeeze of honey – about 1 tsp
  • 2 tbs red onion – minced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 ounces of feta – cubed


  1. Roughly chop the baby kale and place in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, minced garlic, black pepper and honey. Pour half of the dressing over the chopped kale.
  3. Cook dry quinoa according to package instructions. Add 1 veggie bouillon cube to the water.
  4. Add minced red onion, cranberries, chopped pecans and feta to the kale and toss gently.
  5. When the quinoa is done and cooled slightly, add it to the bowl with the kale, red onion, cranberries, pecans and feta.
  6. Toss with remaining dressing and serve.




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17 comments on “Quinoa, Kale, Cranberry and Pecan Salad

  1. Lois

    I made the salad this evening to eat for lunch tomorrow. Planned to give half of it to my son and his wife. I took a taste and decided the entire salad will remain with me. It is delicious! Glad I found this recipe online. Thanks!

    1. Geraldine Post author

      Thanks so much, Lois! So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking time to leave me a message and a star rating – I really appreciate it when readers let me know that they liked a recipe.

  2. Carrie Chappie

    I just made this for a brunch tomorrow (I added only 1/2 of the dressing for now and will add pecans tomorrow). This salad has ended my extreme dislike of kale! Thanks!

    1. Geraldine Post author

      Hi Carrie – glad you enjoyed it. Doesn’t baby kale make such a big difference! Thanks for leaving a comment and a rating – I appreciate hearing from you!

  3. Jane

    Taking it to my Italian class potluck – like every good chef I tasted it first – delicious. I find myself hoping there are leftovers!

  4. Terri

    Love!! Eating my second helping now. I used a kale mix and added avocado. DELISH!! dressing is perfect

  5. bruce

    I have a family member on blood thinners that can not eat cranberries, so substituted currants. Very good. BTW, this is first time eating quinoa that I’ve actually enjoyed it. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Geraldine Post author

      Thanks so much for letting me know, Bruce! I appreciate that you took the time to comment. Glad this was a hit for you and your family. Quinoa is a great addition to salads – since it makes it more filling and give a boost of protein to the salad.


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