Summertime Salad


I’m not gonna lie – this salad took some time to prepare, but it was well worth it. It’s a great salad to make if you’re going to a bar-b-que; it has so much goodness and it just looks so damn pretty. Before this, I’ve never massaged kale before, but after reading up on it, I decided to try it for this recipe and it really did make a difference in taste and texture. For those of you who aren’t familiar with kale, it can be tough and bitter, but after rubbing it with olive oil, salt, and freshly squeezed orange juice, it was softer and sweeter. And better yet, those three ingredients used to treat the kale stood alone as the dressing since I was going for a light, refreshing, summery vibe. If you wish to add a heavier dressing, it won’t compromise the taste.


Like I’ve said before, quinoa is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids, so adding it to this dressing for a protein was a no-brainer. There’s so much deliciousness going on in this salad, I’m just going to begin listing the ingredients/steps in case there’s a Sunday Funday bar-b-que on your agenda today!



  • 1 bunch of kale
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 juicing orange (any acidic fruit would do)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 mango
  • 10 strawberries
  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup walnuts




  1. For cooking quinoa, I use a 1:1.25 ratio of quinoa:water, so for every cup of uncooked quinoa, I use 1 1/4 cups of water. Other recipes call for double the amount of water, but through trial and error, I’ve found this to work best. Also, whenever cooking quinoa or rice, I always make extra for the week, so I used a 16 oz. bag which produced about 5 cups of quinoa. But if you’re just making it for this recipe, use 3/4 cup of quinoa and 1 cup of water.
  2. Begin by soaking the quinoa for 15 minutes and then draining it. Add the quinoa and water to a pot on medium/high heat. Once it comes to a boil, cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Afterwards, turn off the heat and let it sit, covered, for five minutes. Then, uncover and gently fluff with a fork. Place it in the refrigerator to cool off.

Mushrooms & Asparagus 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. To clean mushrooms, rub a wet paper towel across the tops and pinch the stems off (some people use the stems; it’s your discretion). Place them in a baking dish with the stems facing up to absorb the juices. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and a generous pinch of salt.
  3. Rinse the asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces (discard the very bottoms of the stems). In a baking dish, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the asparagus along with a generous pinch of salt.
  4. Place both vegetable dishes in the oven for 15 minutes.



  1. Cut the spine out of each kale leaf. (These are great for juicing.)
  2. Rinse, dry, and chop the kale.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, place the kale and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a little more than 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the juice of 1 orange. Use your clean hands and just rub/massage the leaves for about 2-3 minutes.



Strawberries & Mango

  1. Rinse, destem, and slice the strawberries.
  2. Cut around the mango pit and dice the mango into large chunks. There are many ways to cut a mango, but this picture will help to show you my method.



  1. Toast the walnuts in a pan on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring once.


Finally, toss everything together! Leave a little of everything to the side to place atop the salad. Makes a great side dish or a light meal. If you do bring this to a party, let me know how it went!



Author: Balanced Bella

Hi, I'm Jaime and I am the recipe tester, photographer, and writer at balanced bella! All my recipes are vegan, gluten free, and 100% delicious!

4 thoughts on “Summertime Salad”

    1. Thanks Nika! I do too. I was visiting my mom in Florida on mother’s day and we went to brunch. I ordered a kale and quinoa salad and have been in love since. Definitely a power couple…and great for our skin 🙂


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