Laura Leigh Bean
Illustration, Visual Branding + Design
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Kale Salad with Quinoa, Acorn Squash and Apples

Apologies for the rather unappetizing salad photo, but I swear it's good. I threw in a few photos of the fresh ingredients to convince you that this salad is legit.

This feels like a good time and place to tell you about an event my (first blog, now real life!) friend Kit is hosting in a few weeks on food photography for bloggers in Chicago. Search here for the free class on November 10 at Next Door Chicago. 

So, I vowed to make my lunch last week and stop spending $13/lunch/day. I made a huge batch of salad that would hold up all week and hold up it did. As in, I ate this salad every. single. day. last week.

So, while I'm totally sick of it, I still thought it was awesome at least days 1-3 and thought I'd share.

This isn't really a recipe because the proportions are up to you.

But! I will be a little more detailed in the dressing because this sauce is the BOSS. (Did I just quote a BBQ commercial?)

Kale Salad with Quinoa, Acorn Squash and Apples

Cook up a few cups of quinoa. When you've taken it off the heat but its still hot, mix half of a diced red onion into it while it's cooling -- this will soften the onion just enough without having to get another dish dirty. #genius

Cook and dice your acorn squash. (I like the microwave method - stab it a few times with a fork so that it doesn't explode, then cook it for about 3 minutes until it's soft enough to significantly lessen the risk of losing a finger when cutting it in half. Cut it in half. Put each half upside down in a low dish of water and microwave for about 5 more minutes. It is now extremely hot and cooked through. Let it cool a bit, scoop the stuff out, you're done!)

Dice up an apple or two and squirt a lemon over it. This is a two-birds-one-stone move for both taste and aesthetics!

Mix up the quinoa, squash, apples with a few cups of chopped kale. The Tuscan variety is prettier and everywhere right now.

Now, make your salad dressing!


  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 3 Tb apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 Tb brown sugar, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes

Whisk everything together... it'll emulsify better with about a teaspoon of water at the end.

Pour your dressing over the salad and lightly toss everything together. The squash is rather delicate so don't squish it like I did!

Cheers to your health and eating seasonally.