A One-Pot Meal Served Cold: Spicy Kale and Quinoa Salad

April 8, 2016

By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian

One-pot meals can be wonderful in the cooler months, with their hearty warmth and comfort-inducing flavors.

Now that spring has sprung… how about a one-pot meal that’s served cold?

This meal is balanced and full of whole grains, healthy fats, vegetables, protein, citrus and hot sauce. It’s bright and colorful, too! We know that color provides the maximum amounts of antioxidants, which help control free-radical damage in our bodies (those pesky inflammatory responses).

The quinoa in this meal is a complete protein, gluten-free and a good source of magnesium, zinc, iron and folate. Kale, that magic “super food,” contributes fiber. Last but not least is the creamy monounsaturated fat of the avocado.

One word: Yum! Please enjoy this one-pot rainbow of goodness. This dressing sounds hard to do because it has so many ingredients… but the hardest part is just stocking your fridge/pantry with some of these things. Once that’s done, you can make this many times really easily.

This makes about 6 servings and it makes great leftovers!

Spicy Kale and Quinoa Salad with Sweet Corn, Avocado and Black Beans

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup dry quinoa
About 2.5 -3 cups of delightfully curly kale leaves
1 can black beans
1.5 cup frozen sweet corn
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 cup thinly chopped red onion (optional)

Dressing Ingredients:

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (unless, like my Mom, you really hate cilantro)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Cholula hot sauce (chili lime flavor works well!)
1 tsp. sriracha sauce (or more if you want it even spicier)
1/8 tsp. cayenne red pepper powder (use more or less to add/lessen spice)
3/4 tbsp. dried chili flakes
1 large minced garlic clove
1 heaping tsp. honey (helps the flavors really come together)
pinch of cumin, salt, pepper to taste


Cook the quinoa according to instructions.
While quinoa is cooking, prepare the kale. Tear the green leaves off the thick spines and chop those leaves finely (I chop it into really small pieces so it blends better with everything).
Lightly steam the kale.
Add the can of rinsed black beans, the corn, chopped onions, and the chopped avocado, then mix well.
Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and whisk together well.
When the quinoa is done, spread it out on a plate and let cool in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
Add the quinoa to the other ingredients and mix.
Add the dressing and mix really well for a minute or two.
Let sit in the fridge for another 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information: 353 Calories, 47 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 9 grams fiber.

This recipe is brought to you by Elizabeth Derks, soon RD2B, interning with Kay MacInnis, RDN, LD.


This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Hospitals in Columbia.

Kay works in Health and Wellness at Providence, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She’s not a chef herself, but in consultation with the actual chefs at Providence, she’s learned a lot over the years as she has worked to help patients help themselves after they leave the hospital.

She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.