Of us Three Many Cooks, Sharon is the one who frequently gets funny tummy when she eats dairy. That Green Valley Organics sour cream, yogurt, and kefir are lactose-free is a plus for Sharon, but Maggy and I just love the quality of the Green Valley Organics products. Their sour cream is the best we’ve ever tasted.

Recently Green Valley Organics asked me to develop a kefir recipe for the New Year. Since I often equate kefir with breakfast-y sweet dishes, I decided to take this ingredient a savory direction as a cozy cool weather lunch or dinner.

The result was Quinoa-Kale Salad with Kefir-Cumin Dressing. I was thrilled when I got word the folks at Green Valley loved the salad. I was even more thrilled when I got the evaluation back from their dietitian, Tamara Duker. Here’s what she said.

“If ever there was a Platonic ideal of a superfood salad, this would have to be it.  Its composed primarily of the food world’s most nutrient dense plant (kale) paired with one of its most nutritious grains (quinoa) – both loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. I love this salad for vegetarians especially – a salad that delivers protein AND iron from the beans and quinoa, as well as calcium from the kale and kefir dressing… is a rare salad indeed!  For those folks trying to choose more whole foods with anti-inflammatory benefits, this salad also fits the bill: it’s got unprocessed whole grain quinoa, complex carbs from beans, inflammation-taming probiotics from the kefir dressing, and a medley of anti-inflammatory herbs and spices.”

So there you have it. A salad so good you can’t stop eating it, that also happens to be good for you.

Quinoa-Kale Salad with Kefir-Cumin Dressing
Serves 4 to 6

Between the beans, quinoa and kale, this is an uber-superfood salad! If you’re lactose intolerant, Green Valley Organics makes lactose-free kefir.

1 cup quinoa
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons course grain Dijon mustard
1/2 cup plain Green Valley Organics kefir
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups finely chopped washed kale
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup apricots, thinly sliced
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat a large saucepan or small Dutch oven over medium heat. Add quinoa and toast until fragrant and slightly darker in color, a couple of minutes. Add 2 cups of water, cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is fully cooked, about 20 minutes longer. Cool quinoa to lukewarm.
Meanwhile make dressing by whisking garlic, cumin, mustard, kefir, pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Slowly whisk in oil to make a thick, flavorful dressing.
Place remaining ingredients—kale, kidney beans, apricots, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl. Add warm quinoa and the dressing; toss to coat. Serve!