Summer Salad: Kale with Quinoa & Penne Pasta with Feta

A summer entree salad is perfect if you are tired of BBQ cuisine at this point and want to swap your grilled burger for some interesting lighter food fare like a nutritious summer salad. These are two summer salads, kale with quinoa and penne pasta with feta are delicious. I have not personally made the kale salad, but have certainly enjoyed eating it! My friend served this kale salad at a recent gathering, and I asked for the recipe because it was not only delicious, but also loaded with anti-oxidants and potential health benefits. This salad is a wonderfully tasty way to consume kale and well worth the 45 minutes of prep time. Serve the kale salad with a slice of whole grain bread and a beverage and call it dinner. For a special dinner treat, consider making ice cream roll cake ahead of time and serving with your summer salads.

Kale quinoa summer salad- adapted from La Grande Orange Cafe in Pasadena, California

Champagne vinaigrette

1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons minced shallots

Pinch kosher salt

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3/4 teaspoon chopped chervil

Ground black pepper, to taste

(Makes 4 servings, each serving has 420 calories)

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, shallots and salt; set aside for 20 minutes to soften the shallot. Slowly drizzle in the oils while whisking to emulsify the vinaigrette. Whisk in the chervil and pepper. This makes a scant one-half cup vinaigrette; the vinaigrette will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 4 days.

1/2 cup quinoa

Salt

4 cups loosely packed julienned kale, from 1 large bunch

Champagne vinaigrette

3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

2/3 cup red seedless grapes, halved

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1/4 cup grated Manchego cheese

10 to 12 strips finely julienne preserved lemon

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a simmer. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse well, then drain, and add to the simmering water. Cook the quinoa until the grains are translucent and tender and the germ has spiraled out from the grain, about 15 minutes (be careful not to overcook). Remove from heat and drain any remaining liquid. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a baking sheet to cool. The quinoa can be made ahead of time and stored, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days before using.

In a large bowl, place the kale and one-fourth cup of the vinaigrette. Using your hands, massage the vinaigrette into the kale until the kale is softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

To the bowl, add the cooled quinoa, the sunflower seeds, bell pepper, grapes and Parmigiano Reggiano, tossing to combine.

Divide the salad among serving plates, evenly sprinkling over the Manchego cheese and garnishing with the preserved lemon strips. Serve immediately.

Penne summer salad with chickpeas, feta, and tomatoes. This recipe is from Cooking Light and modified by the chefs in the Rose household!  

8 ounces uncooked penne pasta (try the tricolor version)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup shallots

3 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

1 15 ounce can chickpeas

3 cups cherry tomatoes

3/4 cup crumbled fat-free feta cheese

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

pinch of freshly ground pepper

(1.5 cup serving has 350 calories)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the liquid, reserving 1/4 cup for later. Heat a large skillet, add oil and then shallots and garlic; saute for one minute or less and constantly stir to avoid burning. Stir in bell pepper and chickpeas, saute 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and saute an additional 2 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta and the 1/4 cup reserved liquid. Cook for 1 minute until heated through.  Add the fat-free feta and remaining ingredients; toss to combine and serve on your favorite serving platter.

I hope you enjoy my kale and quinoa and penne pasta with feta salads as an alternative to summer BBQ meals.

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