Sautéed Kale and Quinoa Salad
Kale is said to be very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and rich in calcium, which is really good news for us since kale is a major vegetable source in my winter harvest garden. As an additional bonus, my kale plants are even hardier than the arugula, lettuce, spinach and corn salad that I grow. I have been growing Red Russian, Winterbor and Lacinato kale for their extreme hardiness and beautiful colours to sparkle up the dark and gloomy winter. And they never fail to delight! It is nice to have something pretty to see through windows when there is not much happening in the garden. I’m a huge believer in winter gardening too.
I had the most success when I sowed seeds directly in the ground in mid June to the end of June. The plants had plenty of time to grow to their maturity before the rainy season, which is around October. They soon became strong enough to withstand the below freezing temperatures of the following months without any protection. You can snip a few leaves from each plant from the bottom of stalks for cooking and they will feed you with beautiful meals all winter; soups, pies, stir fries, salads, chips etc… When spring comes, the plants produce new leaves and provide you with fresh tender greens to fill the hungry gap. Just make sure that you plant a lot of kale!
I love this dish for its rich flavour, especially the smokiness of the bacon. The combination of freshly harvested and sautéed kale and cooked quinoa gives you a boost of iron, calcium and phosphorus, serving as a side dish or a main dish for a light meal. We brought this dish to a casual BBQ party and everyone loved it!
Sautéed Kale and Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup red quinoa
1/2 cup white quinoa
2 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
1/2 tablespoon butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 strips bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
6 mushrooms, sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces
300g kale leaves, coarse stems removed, washed and drained
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1/3 cup heavy cream
A handful of sliced almonds
Rinse the quinoa to remove the saponin in a fine mesh strainer and drain well. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. If you are using water instead of the stock, add some salt to the boiling water. Add the quinoa. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for about 12 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes. Stir in the butter and adjust the taste with the salt and freshly ground pepper.
In the meantime, prepare the kale, garlic, onion, mushrooms and bacon. Heat a large pan, with which you will serve the finished dish, over medium high heat and crisp the bacon. Remove the bacon and the fat from the pan, but reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan. If the pan is too hot, let it cool a bit so as not to burn the butter. Add the butter to the pan and stir fry the garlic, the onion, and the mushrooms over medium high heat until they are tender. Add the kale, quickly stir fry and let wilt. Then, add the chicken stock and stir well. Cover for a few minutes to cook the kale. Remove the cover and add the cream. Stir well to combine the cream for a few minutes until most of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat and add the cooked quinoa into the sautéed kale. Adjust the taste with the salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and serve immediately.