Kale Salad with Cranberries and Quinoa

Kale is one of those foods that is either really, really good or really, really bad…or is that just me? Regardless, it’s hard to ignore that kale has some pretty awesome benefits, I will list them below. This Kale salad with cranberries and quinoa is a perfect way to incorporate Kale into your diet and reap the amazing benefits. This Kale salad has a nice zesty dressing that is homemade that really wins the show, dried cranberries, sliced almonds for the crunch and more.

Health Benefits From Kale

  • One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat.
  • Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef.
  • One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help those with autoimmune disorders.
  • Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
  • Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body.

That being said, it can be pretty boring. My boys refuse to eat kale unless I dress it up a bit. Their favorite is to add dried cranberries and almonds, but lately, I’ve been tossing in some quinoa to boost the amount of protein and give the salad some extra texture.

I used to make the mistake of assuming I could eat kale raw (you can…but if you have an autoimmune issue you shouldn’t). So I’ve gotten in the habit of lightly steaming my kale before I assemble my salad.


Why You Need To Eat Kale

Kale is a goitrogenic vegetable and when eaten raw in small quantities, this vegetable can inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. If it’s eaten in excess, these chemicals can inhibit the incorporation of iodine into thyroid hormone. This is a process that iodine supplements can’t reverse. Raw kale is also high in oxalic acid, which binds with minerals such as calcium and magnesium in the body causing them to crystalize. These crystals can damage tissues, cause inflammation in the body and kidney stones. So a daily dose of raw kale and other goitrogenic vegetables may not be such a great idea. source

Nowadays I make sure that I cook my kale before I use it in anything (even smoothies). I accomplish this by steaming, however, the best way decrease the goitrogenic properties in kale is to boil it for seven minutes, drain, then gently squeeze the excess water out.

Boiling kale for an extended period may actually reduce the goitrogens by about 90%! After boiling, the cooked kale is ready for a soup, smoothie or to scramble in your morning eggs.

If you’re looking to make a kale salad (which is why you’re here after all), then boiling isn’t the best choice. For moments like these, I prefer to lightly steam my kale, and, due to my autoimmune issues, opt to use freeze dried kale which has already been superheated to hedge my bets.

My Kale Salad

This salad isn’t one that I make all the time (see above), but it is delicious, and quite festive if you’re having guests!


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey or agave
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)


1. In your blender, combine the first 7 ingredients and blend well. This is your dressing.
2. Steam your kale (there is no need to rehydrate first if using freeze-dried) until dark green and vibrant. Allow to cool to room temperature, and toss with the quinoa, cranberries, and almonds. Dress with your dressing and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to combine flavors. Serve cold.
3. You could substitute the dried cranberries for dried cherries, blueberries or currants if you wanted to. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds also work well in the place of the sliced almonds.

See how easy and delicious this salad is to make! If you are looking for another good protein recipe that offers health benefits, check out my Super Easy Tuna-Stuffed Avocados! Perfect for lunch or supper.

What is your favorite way to eat kale?

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1 Comment

  1. Sumit Kumar on March 13, 2020 at 5:52 am

    Thanks for sharing the useful information. Kale is undoubtedly one of the most nutrient-dense and healthiest foods on the planet. This green-leafy vegetable doesn’t only offer amazing health benefits, but it is also well-known for its medicinal nature.

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