Dinner Today: Hearty Winter Quinoa Salad with Warm Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Spread the love

quinoa saladAfter spending hours outside on a frozen pond over the weekend, the last thing I felt like either making or eating was a salad. A body warming soup or a hearty stew seemed more appropriate, but this quinoa salad hit the spot. The key is the warm dressing. It softens everything up a bit and makes it a delicious, hearty and nutritious meal or side to chicken, fish or tofu.

But first, let’s talk about how nutritious all of the ingredients are. There are no “main “ingredients in this salad. Instead, every food is a star.

Starting with the foods that take a little prep time, most people think that quinoa is a grain. In fact it is a grain crop, grown for its seeds – the part we eat – and prepared like you would rice. Quinoa is a great source of magnesium and manganese, plus a good source of the minerals iron, phosphorous, copper and zinc. It also contains vitamins B2 and E, along with fiber. Quinoa has all of the essential amino acids, which make it an excellent source of protein and an ideal addition to meatless diets, as well as gluten-free diets.

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse because of the amounts of vitamins A, K, B6 and C, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese it contains. One cup of raw kale has just 33 calories and only 7 grams of carbohydrate. So, it’s a very diabetes-friendly and weight-friendly vegetable.

Another nutritional superstar is the sweet potato. One medium-sized cooked sweet potato contains 4 grams of fiber, 32% of our daily vitamin C, and an amazing 475% of our daily vitamin A! Vitamin A helps our bodies maintain healthy teeth, soft tissue, and skeletal tissue, and is important for healthy vision and healthy skin. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium, manganese and magnesium.

A member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, red cabbage is full of heart-healthy benefits. The anthocyanins in red cabbage are powerful antioxidants, and it’s also a great source of fiber, vitamins C and B6, potassium and manganese.

Just 1/4 cup of unsalted sunflower seeds contributes more than 75% of our daily requirement of vitamin E. One quarter cup also provides almost a third of the RDA for magnesium and selenium! Lastly,  for a little sweetness and tartness, I add a handful of craisins. They offer a good amount of fiber, and some natural sweetness to this delicious salad.

The beauty of this recipe, aside from the warm dressing, is that you can adjust the amounts of any of the above ingredients to suit your palate. Below is approximate to what I made for a family of 4.

Winter Quinoa Salad with Warm Apple Cider Vinaigrette

• 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
• 4 cups of roughly chopped kale (bite size pieces)
• 1 cup of cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons
• 1 large cooked sweet potato (skin removed), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
• Handful of craisins


• 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 4 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 Tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp whole grain mustard
• Salt and pepper

Cook the quinoa as per instructions on the package . Set aside and let it cool. Once cool, combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl.

In a small bowl whisk the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, whole grain mustard and maple syrup together and until they are combined. Add salt and pepper, to taste.  Pour the dressing into a small sauce pan and heat it on low heat until it’s warm (about 1 minute), stirring slowly and continuously.

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently. The warm vinaigrette will help soften the kale, making it more tender.

Our Bloggers

  • Paula Gallagher
    Paula Gallagher
    Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
    read more..
  • Margo Gladding
    Margo Gladding
    Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
    read more..
  • Dr. Neal Barnard
    Dr. Neal Barnard
    Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
    read more..
  • Joseph Pizzorno
    Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
    Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
    read more..
  • Debi Silber
    Debi Silber
    Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
    read more..
  • Teri Cochrane
    Teri Cochrane
    Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
    read more..
  • Dr. Rav Ivker
    Dr. Rav Ivker
    Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
    read more..
  • Susan Levin
    Susan Levin
    Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
    read more..
  • Rob Brown
    Dr. Rob Brown
    Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.
    read more..
February 2023