Toasted Quinoa, Kale + Roast Carrot Salad

Whenever I'm feeling a little worse for wear (i.e. after eating too much Easter chocolate), I like to make a delicious salad to get myself back on track. I say salad, but it's really a warm melange* of nourishing ingredients (and not a limp lettuce leaf in sight).

The salad includes what I call 'toasted quinoa'. It's something that I made a while ago when I had leftover cooked quinoa and some eggs to use up. It's basically just cooked quinoa heated up in a pan until it becomes a bit 'toasty', and then I scramble through a few eggs to give it a fried rice vibe (and also to up the protein). If you're vegan or don't have any eggs, you can just leave them out.

If I have some leftover meat to use up, I'll also add that to the salad. Leftover shredded chicken, slow-cooked beef or even just a can of tuna are all nice additions.

i n g r e d i e n t s 

  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa (I used a mixture of red, black and white quinoa)
  • 4 eggs (optional)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 6 carrots
  • Chilli powder
  • Paprika
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • Black sesame seeds (optional)

p r e p a r a t i o n

  1. To make the roast carrots, preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Wash the carrots and chop them into chunks. Toss the chunks in some olive oil, a sprinkle of paprika and chilli powder (if desired) and a good pinch of sea salt. Spread them out onto the tray and bake in the oven until tender and golden.
  2. Rinse the quinoa well, then place it in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring the water to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Gently simmer with the lid on until all of the water has absorbed into the quinoa (this is the absorption method - the general rule is that you use one part quinoa to two parts liquid). Set aside to cool.
  3. Wash the kale and then tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces, removing the stalks (which are very hard to digest). Throw the leaves into a frypan over a medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil and a good pinch of sea salt and stir it around the pan until it has softened. Once softened, tip the kale into a large serving bowl.
  4. Heat a little more olive oil in the frypan that you used for the kale, and then add the cooked quinoa. Stir it around over a medium heat until it starts to get a bit toasty. Crack the eggs into the pan with a pinch of chilli powder (if using) and scramble everything together until the eggs are cooked through.
  5. Tip the quinoa mixture into the serving bowl with the kale. Once the carrots are roasted, tip them into the bowl too and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add a little more olive oil and sea salt if required. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds to serve.

Serves 4.

* I realise that using the word "melange" is extremely wanky, but I honestly can't think of a better word to evoke the essence of this salad (oops, got wanky again).