Red Quinoa, Kale, Grapefruit Salad via abeautifulmess.comIf you’re not serving a salad this Thanksgiving, you are really missing out! I know what some of you might be thinking, “Salad?! But the meal is supposed to be super comforting. Why salad!?” And trust me, I totally get this sentiment. Really, I do. I know I just hosted a plant-based, vegan Friendsgiving, but if you check out our meal idea archive, or especially our dessert archive, you’ll see that we are all about the comfort. 

But life is about balance. Right?

Best kale salad recipesNo matter what I’m hosting, a big family-style meal like Friendsgiving or a small, two couple dinner at my house, I LOVE to mix my menu with both healthy and not-so-healthy foods. If you serve me a macaroni casserole alongside a super flavorful and delicious salad—then I know I’m among my people. 🙂 

If you just have the one without the other, you might feel like you’re missing something, especially on a holiday or special occasion (like Thanksgiving). Personally, I crave both, and I feel like getting partially full on a really yummy salad while still enjoying all those other comfort foods is the best way to ensure I don’t get a MAJOR dose of food coma after the meal. 

And this salad totally fits the bill. It’s light and full of good-for-you ingredients but still super flavorful and absolutely beautiful sitting on a table. 🙂 

Grapefruit salad dressingRed Quinoa, Kale, and Grapefruit Salad, serves 6-8 as a side or 2-4 as a main course/light meal 

10 oz. chopped kale (I especially love Tuscan kale if you can find it)
1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa
2 grapefruits (any variety, but I believe the ones I found this day were called Pomelo)
1 large, ripe avocado
1/2 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

First, rinse and cook the quinoa according to the package directions. This should yield around 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa. You can do this step the day before you plan to serve this salad as you want the quinoa to be chilled before adding to the salad.

How to make salad dressingJuice one of the grapefruits. This should yield around 1/3 cup or maybe a little more juice. Combine in a jar with a lid with the olive oil, mustard, and a little salt and pepper. Replace the lid and shake well so that the dressing is well combined. Taste and add a little more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. 

Segment the remaining grapefruit and chop into bite sized pieces. Remove the skin and seed from the avocado and chop into small, bite size pieces as well. In a large bowl, toss everything with the dressing just before you are ready to serve. 

Red Quinoa, Kale, Grapefruit Salad via A couple of notes:

-Kale can be a bit chewy, which I think is why it sometimes gets a reputation for being TOO healthy tasting to some. I’ve found, wether you buy your kale in a bag or still in big leaves, it’s best to remove as many stems and large veins as possible. Then chop the leaves and give them a few squeezes with your clean hands. Some people call this “massaging” the kale, which might sound odd, but it really does make it more palatable. So… uh… massage away!

-If you’re grapefruit does not yield at least 1/3 cup juice, then add enough apple cider vinegar so that the juice and vinegar equals this amount. This will add that tangy goodness to the homemade vinaigrette we make here. 

Need other salad ideas? Why not make this Autumn Bliss Salad with Stuffing Croutons or see how to make an amazing Caesar Salad with homemade Caesar dressing xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Amber Ulmer and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions