Red Quinoa, Kale, and Grapefruit Salad

Red Quinoa, Kale, Grapefruit Salad via abeautifulmess.comIf you’re not serving a salad this Thanksgiving, you are really missing out! I know what some of you might be thinking, “Salad?! But the meal is supposed to be super comforting. Why salad!?” And trust me, I totally get this sentiment. Really, I do. I know I just hosted a plant-based, vegan Friendsgiving, but if you check out our meal idea archive, or especially our dessert archive, you’ll see that we are all about the comfort.

But life is about balance. Right?

Best kale salad recipesNo matter what I’m hosting, a big family-style meal like Friendsgiving or a small, two couple dinner at my house, I LOVE to mix my menu with both healthy and not-so-healthy foods. If you serve me a macaroni casserole alongside a super flavorful and delicious salad—then I know I’m among my people. 🙂

If you just have the one without the other, you might feel like you’re missing something, especially on a holiday or special occasion (like Thanksgiving). Personally, I crave both, and I feel like getting partially full on a really yummy salad while still enjoying all those other comfort foods is the best way to ensure I don’t get a MAJOR dose of food coma after the meal.

And this salad totally fits the bill. It’s light and full of good-for-you ingredients but still super flavorful and absolutely beautiful sitting on a table. 🙂

Grapefruit salad dressingRed Quinoa, Kale, and Grapefruit Salad, serves 6-8 as a side or 2-4 as a main course/light meal

10 oz. chopped kale (I especially love Tuscan kale if you can find it)
1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa
2 grapefruits (any variety, but I believe the ones I found this day were called Pomelo)
1 large, ripe avocado
1/2 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

First, rinse and cook the quinoa according to the package directions. This should yield around 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa. You can do this step the day before you plan to serve this salad as you want the quinoa to be chilled before adding to the salad.

How to make salad dressingJuice one of the grapefruits. This should yield around 1/3 cup or maybe a little more juice. Combine in a jar with a lid with the olive oil, mustard, and a little salt and pepper. Replace the lid and shake well so that the dressing is well combined. Taste and add a little more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

Segment the remaining grapefruit and chop into bite sized pieces. Remove the skin and seed from the avocado and chop into small, bite size pieces as well. In a large bowl, toss everything with the dressing just before you are ready to serve.

Red Quinoa, Kale, Grapefruit Salad via abeautifulmess.com A couple of notes:

-Kale can be a bit chewy, which I think is why it sometimes gets a reputation for being TOO healthy tasting to some. I’ve found, wether you buy your kale in a bag or still in big leaves, it’s best to remove as many stems and large veins as possible. Then chop the leaves and give them a few squeezes with your clean hands. Some people call this “massaging” the kale, which might sound odd, but it really does make it more palatable. So… uh… massage away!

-If you’re grapefruit does not yield at least 1/3 cup juice, then add enough apple cider vinegar so that the juice and vinegar equals this amount. This will add that tangy goodness to the homemade vinaigrette we make here.

-If you are enjoying this as part of the Weekday Weekend Challenge be sure to double check the mustard for hidden/added sugars. Most mustards will work fine but it’s good to double check your brand.

Need other salad ideas? Why not make this Autumn Bliss Salad with Stuffing Croutons or see how to make an amazing Caesar Salad with homemade Caesar dressing xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Amber Ulmer and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions

  • That is a pummelo! ☺️ My husband is a pummelo grower in Florida. It’s not a variety of grapefruit but is easily confused. Typically they are less bitter and larger. Thank you for highlighting them in a plant based Thanksgiving recipe. We are both plant based vegans and are always looking for ways to highlight our pummelos to a crowd.

  • I prefer pomelo to grapefruit. The acrid bitterness isn’t nearly at detectable so it’s more pleasant and palatable. 🙂 You can tell them apart by the thickness of their skin. Pomelo is very thick while grapefruit is more thin like an orange. Can’t wait to try it!

  • I know that you guys don’t like to vocalize your opinions on any issue that could potentially offend even the tiniest fraction of your readers, but posting about a ridiculous pomelo salad the morning after election day is just too intentionally obtuse.

  • I just signed up to bring a salad to our family Thanksgiving. My MIL uses SignUp genius so in the description I put “something relatively healthy.” I think this may be my contribution this year!

  • Hi – I have a pink grapefruit tree which produces sweet, tasty fruits. That salad is now on my “to make soon” list!

  • Their posts are often scheduled in advance. But if you check out any of their personal instagram accounts, you can see that each one actually did post in reference to the election.
    Salad looks good ladies!

  • Hi Marie,
    First of all I want to say that I don’t think there is anything wrong with not talking politics, especially at work (and this is our work). It doesn’t necessarily mean that we are afraid of defending people. I have tons of respect (and ZERO judgement) for anyone who chooses to keep politics private.

    As a commenter said, Emma and I did both post something on our personal IG accounts, not that we had to, but we did choose to.

    Now, we do pre-write and schedule all our blog posts about 1-2 weeks in advance. We could have come on here and put them on hold and posted a rant or a statement… but what good would that have done? The internet was/is full of them anyway.

    Quite a few readers commented that they were happy to have regular content up on such a different kind of day. I get that.

    Sorry if I seem a little defensive. I am because calling our decision to post this “obtuse” makes me feel really judged. And I just wanted to quickly defend why we made this choice.

    Thanks! Elsie

  • Yeah as pointed out by other readers Pomelos are not grapefruits but it’s a great idea to put them in a salad because 1- it’s sweeter and 2-it’s much less juicy and easier to handle (I find grapefruit tends to fall apart when quartered). I often crave a great salad and this sounds like it would be filling too.