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This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea!

This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea | ThisSavoryVegan.com

I recently went to Mendocino Farms for the first time, and full disclosure, I had always thought it was a grocery store 😂 Little did I know it is actually a restaurant and they have a vegan taco salad that sounded great. I decided to put my own spin on it today and make this Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa. I swapped their creamy dressing for a chipotle vinaigrette and I spiced up the crispy quinoa by tossing it in chili crunch oil before baking it. Crunchy veggies, creamy avocado, black beans and the crispy quinoa make for the perfect bite!

Step One: Make the Crispy Quinoa

The most time consuming part of this recipe is making the crispy quinoa. But, it is totally worth it! You can speed up the process by using pre-cooked quinoa. But if you are starting from scratch, you want to prep the quinoa at least an hour before you want to eat.

This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea | ThisSavoryVegan.com

Start by cooking the quinoa. I like to do a 2:1 ratio, quinoa to water. Just like with rice, rinse the quinoa before adding it to the pot with the water. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. You want all of the liquid to be absorbed and the quinoa to be cooked.

Add the cooked quinoa, chili crunch oil and a pinch of salt to a baking sheet and toss to combine. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on it for the last 10 minutes, so it doesn’t burn. Remove from the oven.

This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea | ThisSavoryVegan.com
This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea | ThisSavoryVegan.com

TIP: I wanted the quinoa to have some kick, but if you don’t want any spice, sub olive oil for the chili crunch oil.

Step Two: Make the Dressing

I originally made this dressing for my Roasted Cauliflower & Potato Bowls and now I can’t get enough.

This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea | ThisSavoryVegan.com

For the dressing you will need:

  • avocado oil
  • agave – or sub maple syrup
  • apple cider vinegar
  • chipotle pepper in adobo
  • garlic 
  • lime juice
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • salt & pepper

Add all of the dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. You may want to add more lime juice or chipotle pepper. Make the dressing your own!

This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea | ThisSavoryVegan.com

Step Three: Assemble & Serve

To assemble the salad, add chopped kale to a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the kale and get in there with your hands and massage away.

This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea | ThisSavoryVegan.com
This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea | ThisSavoryVegan.com

Once the kale is tender, add in a can of black beans and chopped cabbage, red onion, bell pepper and cherry tomatoes. Toss until everything is coated.

To finish off the salad, add chunks of avocado, the crispy quinoa and chopped cilantro. This salad is great because it can be made ahead of time without wilting. Which also makes it great for next day lunches! Just wait to add the avocado until right before serving!

This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea | ThisSavoryVegan.com
This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea | ThisSavoryVegan.com

Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa

Servings: 5
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea!
5 from 3 ratings

Ingredients

FOR THE CRISPY QUINOA

FOR THE CHIPOTLE VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/2 cup oil I used avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons agave or sub maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste

FOR THE SALAD

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the cooked quinoa, oil (see notes) and a pinch of salt to the baking sheet and toss to combine. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on it for the last 10 minutes, so it doesn't burn. Remove from the oven.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, prep all of the veggies and make the dressing. To make the dressing, add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Set aside.
  • Add the kale to a large bowl and pour over the dressing. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale. Add the beans, cabbage, bell pepper, onion & tomatoes and toss to combine. Finish off the salad with avocado slices, the crispy quinoa and cilantro.

Video

Notes

  • I wanted the quinoa to have some kick, but if you don’t want any spice, sub olive oil for the chili crunch oil.
Calories: 517kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 35g
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below or take a photo and share it on Instagram @thissavoryvegan with #thissavoryvegan.
This Kale Taco Salad with Crispy Quinoa is my take on the Mendocino Farms recipe. A healthy and delicious vegan salad idea | ThisSavoryVegan.com