Kale Quinoa Salad with Creamy Ginger Dressing [ vegan, gluten-free ]

rainbow kale quinoa salad on plate with lemon and dressing

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This Rainbow Kale Quinoa Salad is loaded with carrots, red cabbage, bell peppers and tossed with a creamy ginger dressing – This recipe is nut-free, has no added sugars, vegan, and gluten-free.



for the salad

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups shredded red purple cabbage
  • 2 large carrots, skinned and thinly sliced (I used vegetable peeler)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (or use for topping)

for the dressing

  • 1/3 cup sunflower seed butter
  • juice of 1 large lemon, about 1/3 cup
  • 3 TBS coconut aminos
  • 1/2 TBS minced garlic
  • 1 1″ cube fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 23 TBS water, to thin
  • 3/4 tsp salt, to taste


  1. Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer and place in small pot of water with 1½ cups of water. Allow pot to come to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until quinoa is tender and water has mostly gone. Remove from heat and gently fluff with fork before transferring to heat-proof bowl to cool. While the quinoa is cooking and cooling, prep all of your veggies.
  2. Place chopped kale in large bowl and drizzle oil over kale. Gently massage oil into kale with your fingertips to soften the kale. This will help take the bitterness away as well.
  3. Add in the rest of your prepped veggies – red cabbage, carrots and bell peppers – with the kale.
  4. Once quinoa has cooled, transfer to large bowl of kale and veggies and use tongs to gently toss.
  5. Make the dressing: In a small food processor or blender add all of the dressing ingredients, sunflower seed butter through salt, and blend until smooth. Adjust consistency with 1 tablespoon of water at a time. I used 3 tablespoons.
  6. Pour dressing over bowl and use tongs to coat salad with the dressing. Chill salad until ready to serve.


Salad can be prepped a day or two in advance. I would cover salad bowl with lid, then toss with dressing just before serving. Store leftovers covered in fridge 4-5 days. See notes in blog post covering questions you may have about the recipe. Omit quinoa if completely grain-free or looking for a Whole30® compliant recipe.