Kale Quinoa Salad with Pesto

Use your favorite roasted veggies & grains in this easy kale quinoa salad, or make it as Day 2 of our 5-day meal plan with leftovers from Day 1!

Kale and quinoa salad

Hi, and welcome to my week of meal planning: Day 2!

In case you missed yesterday’s post, here’s what’s happening: I started with one base meal – yesterday’s Mean Green Grain Bowls. For 5 days I’ll be making a new meal each day using those base ingredients and components. So you’re basically seeing our real-life dinner, day to day. These recipes are very simple, but this is how we eat in real life – and I thought it would be fun to share that! So here’s today’s: an easy Big Green Kale Quinoa Salad!

Something I love to do with leftovers is make them stretch! We had one leftover container full of yesterday’s grain bowl which included quinoa, roasted veggies (Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, parsnips, and broccolini), sauerkraut, and pepitas. I massaged a big bunch of kale, tossed it all together, and doused it in the creamy kale pepita pesto sauce that I made the other day.

Kale Quinoa Salad Recipe Ingredients

This healthy kale quinoa salad is as easy as that! Oh, except I also roasted some of the leftover chickpeas, until crisp, and tossed those in too:

Kale Quinoa Salad

Kale Quinoa Salad Recipe Variations

Both of these meals (yesterday’s and today’s) are super flexible – swap in any roasted vegetables that you like or feel free to change up the protein if you’re not feeling like chickpeas. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you don’t have leftovers from Day 1 on hand, toss in some cooked quinoa or farro and your favorite roasted vegetables (you can cook them while you roast the chickpeas!). In addition to the vegetables pictured above, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and broccoli would all be great.
  • Use pickled red onion instead of the sauerkraut.
  • Swap the chickpeas for baked tofu, French green lentils, or white beans.
  • Add some feta cheese or goat cheese if you’re not vegan.
  • Or use cilantro lime dressing or traditional pesto in place of the kale pepita pesto sauce.

Let me know what variations you try, and then make Day 3 of this week’s meal plan!

Record your meals in our pretty (new!) meal planner: The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List. It’ll also make a great Mother’s Day Gift!

The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List

If you love this kale quinoa salad recipe…

Try my rainbow kale salad, pasta salad, broccoli salad, beet salad, or Brussels sprout salad next!

5.0 from 3 reviews

Kale Quinoa Salad with Pesto

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This kale quinoa salad comes together easily with leftovers from our 5-day meal plan. No leftovers on hand? Just swap in your favorite roasted veggies, grains, and protein!
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2
  • ½ cup cooked chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed (save the stems, we'll use them in a recipe coming up)
  • about 2 cups of Mean Green Grain Bowl leftovers
  • generous scoops of Creamy Kale Pepita Pesto
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle the chickpeas with olive oil and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and lightly crisp. Season with salt and pepper as they come out of the oven.
  2. Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. Add a scoop of the pesto sauce and use your hands to massage the kale leaves until they're soft and wilted. The oils from the sauce will help break down the coarse leaves.
  3. Mix the grain bowl leftovers into the kale salad, along with a few more scoops of the pesto sauce. Add the chickpeas and serve with more sauce, as desired



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Barbara

    Do you blanch the broccolini before roasting it, or just roast it? I have some in the frig but have not used it before. thks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Barbara, I just roast it! No need to blanch.

  2. Natalie

    Okay! PINNED it!
    I’m so in love with your salad. One point that I always like about salad is that we can take advantage of leftovers. That’s so helpful all the time.

  3. Nicole O

    Love this meal plan! Would love if you can do it more often as it’s super helpful and really helps with the weekly planning!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Nicole – thanks so much for letting me know that it’s helpful!! I had tons of fun putting it all together so I’m definitely planning to do it more often.

  4. This salad looks so freshy, tasty, and very healthly. By the way beautiful picture.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.