Kale and Red Quinoa Salad with Figs and Toasted Almonds

I know, I know, kale and quinoa are officially overdone. Too bad. The more I dream up things to do with them the more I will make them. So there. In this case I am using the lesser used Red quinoa which I actually prefer- its color brightens dishes and its texture is a little chewier. Baby kale, red quinoa, plump dried figs (fresh would be equally delicious here if you could get them), and hefty amounts of toasted almonds with a light and refreshing orange vinaigrette. In my dreams this salad is supposed to have beautiful pomegranate arils but the price for them was so outrageous I could not bring myself to add them. If you can get them, add them, they will add beautiful color, texture and tartness. Perfect summer eating in my book! Enjoy!

1 cup red quinoa, rinsed well, cooked according to package instructions and cooled
1 pound (450 grams) of baby kale or baby spinach, washed, dried and ready to go
1 cup dried figs, sliced. (I used already moist and plumped dried Calimyrna figs but if yours are dry let them steep in a little orange juice before slicing to re-plump them)
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup pomegranate arils or sweetened dried cranberries

Place all salad ingredients in a bowl, toss with the dressing and serve.

For the dressing:
zest of one large orange
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbl maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all together and serve over salad.


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