Loaded Kale Salad

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Big white serving platter with colorful, healthy Loaded Kale Salad with a side of hemp seeds and tahini dressing

Happy New Year, friends!

How is 2018 treating you so far? Hopefully well.

To jump into the new year on the right foot, the entire month of January will include only sugar-free or no-sugar-added recipes!

I’m starting with my go-to Loaded Kale Salad. It’s easy to whip up for lunch or dinner, and elements of it can be prepped ahead of time so you can make it as an easy side or main throughout the week. Shall we?

Avocado, carrots, tomatoes, quinoa, sprouts, hemp seeds, kale, and beets for making healthy Loaded Kale Salad

This recipe starts with a base of hearty vegetables and requires just 10 ingredients total.

It’s also oil-free, naturally sweetened, nut-free, and, of course, plant-based and gluten-free.

I like to start by cooking my quinoa and roasting my vegetables, which takes the most time. If you know you’d like to have this salad several times during the week, double the amount of quinoa and roasted vegetables and reheat/use as needed to save time.

Roasted beets and carrots on a baking sheet for Loaded Kale Salad

While the vegetables and quinoa are cooking, move onto the dressing, which consists of 3 easy ingredients: tahini, lemon juice, and maple syrup. A sprinkle of salt is optional, but it adds a bit more flavor. And if you aren’t into tart-sweet dressings, I’ve included a savory version in the notes.

Stirring tahini dressing for our plant-based Loaded Kale SaladLarge platter filled with vegan and gluten-free Loaded Kale Salad with sides of extra hemp seeds and tahini dressing

All that’s left is serving! Add any additional seasonal vegetables or toppings you desire. I opted for broccoli sprouts and hemp seeds for added nutrients, protein, and healthy fat.

HEALTHY Loaded Kale Salad in just 55 minutes! Roasted and fresh veggies, sprouts, quinoa, and tahini dressing! #dinner #vegan #glutenfree #salad #healthy #minimalistbaker #recipe

I hope you all LOVE this Loaded Kale Salad! It’s:

Hearty
Super healthy
Colorful
Nutrient-dense
Satisfying
Versatile
& Delicious

This would make the perfect weekday meal either for lunch or dinner. It also packs well, which makes it great for road trips (and even plane trips!).

While it’s delicious on its own, it would also pair well with my 1-Pot Vegan Minestrone, 1-Pot Red Lentil Chili, Vegan Cornbread, Vegan GF Cornbread, or Curried Butternut Squash Soup!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers and happy 2018, friends!

HEALTHY Loaded Kale Salad in just 55 minutes! Roasted and fresh veggies, sprouts, quinoa, and tahini dressing! #dinner #vegan #glutenfree #salad #healthy #minimalistbaker #recipe

Loaded Kale Salad

Healthy and delicious loaded kale salad with quinoa, roasted and fresh vegetables, avocado, and a creamy tahini dressing! Just 10 ingredients required.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Platter filled with our healthy Loaded Kale Salad recipe
4.79 from 14 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 (side salads)
Course Salad, Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3 Days

Ingredients

QUINOA

  • 3/4 cups (138 g) quinoa*, well rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water

VEGETABLES

  • 4 large carrots* (halved + roughly chopped)
  • 1 whole beet* (thinly sliced)
  • 2 Tbsp water (or sub avocado or melted coconut oil)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder (optional)

DRESSING

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice*
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (depending on preferred sweetness*)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • ~1/4 cup Water (to thin)

SALAD

  • 8 cups kale (torn or roughly chopped // or sub other green)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado cubed
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sprouts of choice (optional // I used broccoli)

Instructions

  • Heat a small pot over medium heat and add rinsed, drained quinoa. Toast for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add water and bring to a low boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 18-20 minutes or until liquid is completely absorbed. Once cooked, fluff with a fork, remove lid, and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and add carrots and beets to a baking sheet. Add water (or oil) and seasonings of choice and toss to coat. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender and slightly golden brown. (This method is adapted from my oil-free vegetables recipe).
  • In the meantime, prepare dressing by adding tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, and salt to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Then add water 1 Tbsp (15 ml // as recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) at a time and whisk until pourable. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity, salt for saltiness, or maple syrup for sweetness. See notes for savory version.
  • Arrange kale on a serving platter or bowl and top with tomatoes, avocado, cooked quinoa, roasted vegetables, and any other desired toppings, such as hemp seeds or sprouts. Serve with dressing on the side, or toss to combine.
  • Store leftovers (keep dressing separate for best results) in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Dressing will keep well covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Notes

*If you know you'd like to have this salad several times during the week, double the amount of quinoa and roasted vegetables and reheat/use as needed to save time.
*For a more savory dressing, omit the maple syrup and lemon juice and instead add 1 clove garlic, minced, and 1-2 tsp coconut aminos!
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with dressings and without optional toppings (hemp seeds and sprouts).

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 side salads Calories: 472 Carbohydrates: 58.7 g Protein: 14.6 g Fat: 22.8 g Saturated Fat: 3.8 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 214 mg Fiber: 12.5 g Sugar: 9.2 g

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  1. Gail Bishop says

    haven’t eaten this yet!
    i have to force myself to wait for my guests to arrive before ‘tasting’ any more of the DELICIOUS Tahini Dressing! – JUST ENOUGH Tang, Sweetness and Consistency!
    oh and i tossed my carrots n beets in olive oil for roasting – no salt…TASTE from the caramelization is amazing. oh, i added pignoli nuts – all so pretty!
    if there are any leftovers of this salad i am going to use in a WRAP!
    thank you – i will be making this again and again. :)

  2. laurel says

    This salad was the BOMB! I had to force myself to not eat it all. I omitted the quinoa and added tons of roasted veggies, kidney beans and marinated tofu. The dressing was AMAZING and the combination of warm veg, beans and soft tofu with cool crisp kale was just out of this world. I will make this again, and again and again. Loved it

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Laurel. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  3. Allison says

    I’ve made this salad a few times since first seeing the recipe. It’s great, never get tired of it, and even my husband loves it (kale?!). Thanks!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We haven’t tried that, but think it would work! If you give it a try, we’d love to hear how it turned out!

  4. Michaela says

    I just made this for a work potluck and everyone loved it! Being the token vegan of the building, of course I got asked to bring the salad, but THIS was a salad I was proud to show up with!

  5. G says

    The dressing was delicious. I omitted the sprouts and hemp seeds and added a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. I initially forgot to add the quinoa and it still would have been a lovely salad! You could definitely try this with different roasted vegetables and toasted seeds. This is one of my favourite salad recipes. Thanks heaps :)

  6. Molly Giles says

    Hi Dana,
    Looking forward to trying this! My husband won’t eat beets. What would be your favorite recommended veg substitutes for beets?
    Thanks, Molly

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Molly! You could either just make more of the other veggies, or pick another favorite! The great thing about this salad is how versatile it is!

  7. AmberEm says

    Do you have another dressing that would work, too? I love Halvah, but I really hate this Tahini dressing!! Thanks.

  8. Jim D says

    I made this tonight for my wife and I; turned out great. I added brussel sprouts and mushrooms to the roasting carrots and beets just because I’m addicted to those. My wife wants me to make it again for a dinner party this weekend. Thanks for the awesome recipe. (Now if I could just get my kids to eat it.)

  9. Lily says

    I made a version of this for thanksgiving and my family who has been making fun of my being vegan loved it! They were asking to eat it with their leftovers the next day! When I first brought it everyone cringed at the word kale, now they are jumping at it!

  10. Shelby says

    Instead of the quinoa I used Garlic and Herb Chicken Sausage from Trader Joe’s and it was AMAZING! I also used the savory option for the dressing because I’m doing Whole30 and it turned out soo good! This is going to be a regular make ahead lunch for me from now on!

  11. Devorah says

    The salad of the season. Fresh ingredients, flavorful and filling. What more could you want? When following the steps of this well thought out recipe, you’re left far from disappointed. I speak from experience. Just make it already.

  12. Brittany Starcher says

    I just made this last night and as someone who has been trying to find more ways to incorporate kale into her diet, this recipe is a gift from the vegan baby Jesus!!! So delicious and so many different flavors that all compliment each other perfectly! Dana, you’re a genius! Can’t wait to try more refined-sugar free recipes this month!

  13. Pat says

    I made this last night. I used yellow beets instead of red because I am not a beet lover (my daughter suggested turnips or parsnips). The dish turned out well. It was a lot of prep work, though. Something that I am not crazy about. That is why I took off a star, because of the time to get everything done. I also made my own tahini. I think next time I will use a balsamic vinaigrette.

  14. Aimee says

    Dear Dana,

    I feel like we are new friends. I have been a faithful follower of Oh She Glows for some time now, but have started to make some of your recipes too and this salad just knocked it out of the park!
    Three totally isn’t a crowd, there is enough love to go around.

    This is hands down my new favourite salad and best thing about 2018 so far. It is just sumptuous, satisfying, and who new maple syrup and tahini could be such a great combination? Genius.

    I wanted to include a couple of notes in case it helps anyone else out on their culinary adventures:

    With regards to the dressing: I was trying to figure out which way to go sweet vs. savoury and the decision was hard. One thing I didn’t have to think hard about was adding the garlic. I love garlic and it’s good for the immune system. Added the clove, and it wasn’t overpowering at all and went with 1 tbsp of maple syrup. It was perfect! In fact, so good that it almost didn’t make it into the salad. I was tempted to spread it onto a rice cracker and devour it standing over my kitchen sink.
    My only, minor irk is that it is quite thick, so drizzling it wasn’t really an option, although it would have been nice.
    I pre-mixed it into the kale, tomatoes, and carrots before laying out the rest of the spread. Perhaps I’ll add a bit more water next time… (which will probably be tomorrow).

    Substituting avocado: Since avocados aren’t in season over here (Toronto) and are ridiculously expensive, I opted for firm tofu as a replacement protein. Using 1 block: I cubed it, drained it, coated it with 1 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, nutritional yeast, and a dash of seas salt and baked it in the over @ 400 degrees for about 35 minutes until it was crispy and a little rubbery (but in a good way).
    **Accidental kitchen hack, I reused the same baking tray as I used for baking the root vegetables, and the tofu seemed take on some of the previous flavours. It was most enjoyable.

    The thing I like most about this recipe is it seems so versatile. Leftover root veggies? Throw them in Don’t want to make quinoa? Use any other grain Serving the salad to an omnivore? Substitute/add chicken, boiled egg, etc.

    Thanks Dana!

    Happy New Year, everyone!

  15. Jamie says

    I made this last night for dinner, along with your Red Lentil Chili, and it was absolutely delicious! The leftovers are even better today. I’m set on hearty, filling, yet not heavy salads for the next few days. Kale is the perfect salad green for a meal prep salad – it doesn’t go soggy in the fridge! I’ve been needing a reset after eating tons of vegan junk the past few months, and this was perfect. Thank you!!

  16. Bartica Gyal says

    Another great variation from other salad/bowls on your site that I have loved and are my go to meals. Funny I never thought to roast carrots nor to add curry to beets (I did both). Love it as butternut squash not always in season and sweet potatoes are more expensive – I can always find beets and carrots though.
    Did you keep the peels on? I did because of the nutrients but also because I was lazy, and it was still good.
    Do you ever “massage” your kale? I thought I learned that trick from you – I can usually only find the very frilly kale so usually massage it in lemon juice, evoo and a bit of maple syrup to soften it up about 10 min. I did it this time as well which was the only difference (other than hemp seeds as not have). I usually don’t even need dressing sometimes, but still opt to use it because the tahini one is my fav.
    My hubby put feta on it and said it was amazing as well.
    Thanks again. I feel like you are my spirit animal in the kitchen as you always seem to post something that I am craving but did not know it.

    • Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I do massage my kale sometimes! And no, I don’t peel my veggies. I buy organic and give them a good scrub. Glad you enjoyed it!

  17. Colin says

    Just made this for lunch and it was great! Didn’t change a thing and used all your “optional” add-ins (curry for the veggies; hemp seeds and sprouts for the salad). I think for the leftovers I’ll make some of the “savory” dressing and see how it is! Thank you for the continued output of bomb recipes!! I’ve been vegan for just over 2 years and your blog has been my go to spot since day 1!

  18. Sarah | Well and Full says

    Wow this looks fantastic, Dana!! I love a good salad to start off the New Year. Oh, who am I kidding, I love a good salad any day! ;)

  19. Colin says

    Bought all the ingredients and will be making this tonight!! I’ve never worked with beets… do I peel them? Or just slice it as is and roast?

  20. Erin Finnerty says

    Made this last night…delish! I was surprised how filling it was. I can’t wait to make it again with different veggies!

  21. Pamela says

    Hi Dana, a wonderfull New Year to your both! I was immediately drawn to this recipe and made it at once in its origial form. I used it with 2 persons as main dish. With the quinoa together we were satisfied, had left over and our tummies were full. The dish tasted yummie. Therefor thumbs up for this recipe. You have become my most looked for website for vegan food!!! And it was half an hour from scratch to dish and most of that time I watched the carrots in the oven becoming tender. Not too much work therefore….

  22. Michelle says

    Made this tonight and it was the perfect thing to eat after a week and a half of home-for-the holidays food. Exactly what I wanted! Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  23. Jan Harrison says

    Hi Dana, and Happy New Year!
    This looks amazing! I’m looking forward to trying it later this week. Will you share the seasonings you used for your veggies? I’m not a big beet fan and have never cooked them….so wondering what the best seasoning to use would be.
    Thanks so much!
    Jan :)

  24. Jenn says

    Yummmm! This looks great and I have everything in my kitchen right now! You must be a mind reader and definitely are feeling me at the moment-can’t wait to go try this out! I love both sweet and savory but my daughter devours kale with a sweet dressing on it so this will be a hit! Thanks! Happy New Year!

  25. Kellen says

    You must be reading my mind! I’m cutting sugar in 2018 and will definitely be giving this a try =) Any tips for someone who doesn’t stomach kale very well, though? I’ve heard “massaging” it first helps, but have you tried that? Asking for a friend… – Kellen from The Electric Soul

    • Lori says

      Dana has several great recipes where she massages the kale! We love the Garlicky Kale Salad and the one with white beans… I can’t remember what that one is called. But both are delicious! I am wondering if massaging the kale would be good in this recipe as I have a harder time with non- massaged kale, too. Lol!

    • Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Kellen, yes, massaging it with a little olive oil and/or lemon juice and salt before dressing will soften it and make it easier to chew! You could also always roast your kale to make it a little easier to chew as well.

      • Maggie says

        Oh so smart to roast it! I usually massage or shred raw kale, but throwing it on the roasting pan for a few minutes to soften it is a great and easy idea too!

  26. Shruthi says

    Hello,

    Loved this recopie just had a quick question. Once you store the recipie in the fridge how do you heat up the quinoa and roasted veggies?

    • Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

      So I eat them cold as leftovers. But if you wanted them warm you could store them separate from the other salad components and heat them up on the stovetop in a cast iron pan, or in a 350-degree (F) oven until warm.

  27. andrea says

    thought you might like to know that if one is not wanting to eat sugar, then beets & carrots, as well as yams, sweet potatoes & regular potatoes need to be omitted.

    • Debbie says

      The sugars found in fruits and vegetables are not the same as simple sugars.
      For lots of great science-backed nutrition info and whole food plant based eating check out nutritionfacts.org
      Happy New Year!

  28. Beth says

    Hi Dana,
    This looks wonderful! I am wondering about the yellow hue in your quinoa (at least on my screen). Is that a certain type of quinoa, or did you add something to it?
    Thanks,
    Beth

  29. claudia says

    looks very good but what is often very discouraging with many vegan dishes such as this one is the amount of work involved, the expense of the ingredients and above all , the amount of calories !!!
    I will, for once try this salad without ANY changes … I will not tweak it in order to be completely fair and objective with my review … I suspect that making adjustments to your recipes as I have been making so far might be making my job harder than it is …

    • Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Claudia. Thanks for the feedback. In regards to the calories, are you suggesting there aren’t enough or there are too many (we get complaints of both)? We list nutrition information so you can make adjustments to the serving size as needed. Also, we appreciate reviews but find it most helpful when it’s based on an experience making the recipe instead of an initial assessment of the recipe. Lastly, the cost of these ingredients is relatively affordable in our experience, with the most expensive item being tahini (which I often find for $5 for a large jar). Thanks again for your feedback – we hope you’re able to make this recipe work for your needs!

  30. Dina Anthony says

    Hi Dana, This looks great! I have been making a similar salad lately but I grate the carrot and beet to keep it all raw. I have been making the tahini dressing with equal parts tahini, water and lemon juice, with a little added salt and pepper. I am thinking of adding garlic to the dressing, do you think that would work or better try your Savory recipe instead with the coconut aminos; which surprisingly I have in my fridge. Bye the way, whenever I try and print one of your recipes it comes up as a blank page.
    Thanks,
    Dina

    • Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Dina! I’m not sure what’s happening with the print button. Have you tried updating your browser and refreshing the page? Sometimes it’s a compatibility issue…

      I think garlic and coconut aminos or tamari would be lovely here. Thanks for sharing the raw veggies tip!

        • John Shultz says

          Guessing you might be using an apple ipad?

          We have noticed a small bug with ipads and we’ve been waiting on an update from apple. That said, that’s been a couple months and they haven’t rolled out that fix yet. We’re working on an alternative option, but it’s likely a few weeks out as well. All that to say something should be fixed in the near future! The print function should work on a computer if you have access to that.

    • Patricia Powell says

      You might try copy & pasting the recipe into a word document, then save it, then you should be able to print it.

    • Iris says

      I have found a way around this , all you do is
      click print ( yes it shows the blank page)
      then you go to your history
      click the first link ( if you read it should say easy print recipe)
      then it should show the recipe
      finally it should print.
      It works on mine, good luck ?

  31. healthsterina206 says

    I’ll omit the maple syrup (always trying to cut down on sugar) for a savory salad- it sounds yummy!
    If I find I have a hankering, I can always throw in a carrot, apple or sweet potato if I want a slight sweetness to the salad. No liquid or granular sweeteners in my dinner anymore- don’t need them! I like savory.