This flavourful fall salad is definitely one of my new favourites. Loaded with kale, radicchio, fresh figs, blue cheese, crunchy pecans and crispy quinoa, it's got tons of texture too. All of the components work like magic together and create a satiating and satisfying salad that can be served as a side or a main. Plus, the fig and balsamic dressing provides a touch of sweetness in perfect contrast to the savoury blue cheese.
Truth be told, I'm not much of a quinoa lover. It's not a grain that I cook with regularly because I find it a little boring (hence why you won't find many recipes with it over here). But, this has changed with the introduction of crispy quinoa. To say, I'm obsessed may be an understatement. I love how crunchy the quinoa gets in the air fryer and it makes for the perfect protein topper on salads. I usually opt for crispy seeds or nuts as a salad topper, but crispy quinoa may just be my new go-to now. Stay tuned for a whole blog post all about making crispy quinoa easily at home.
There are a couple of components to make this kale radicchio salad. It's a good idea to cook the quinoa and make the sweet and spicy pecans ahead to save time. If those are done in advance, making this kale salad with quinoa is quick and simple.
Here's what you'll need to make everything for this radicchio blue cheese salad.
To make this salad as efficiently as possible, it's a good idea to cook the quinoa first.
To make fluffy quinoa, here's what to do.
Combine 1/2 cup dry quinoa with 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water in a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit covered for ten minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
Toss the cooked quinoa with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place a piece of air fryer friendly parchment paper at the bottom and pour the quinoa on top in an even layer (working in batches if needed). Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, until crispy, shaking at the halfway point. Set aside.
While the quinoa is crisping, make the sweet and spicy pecans.
Combine the pecans, maple syrup, Aleppo pepper, chili powder and cinnamon in a skillet and mix together. Turn on the stove to medium heat. Cook for about four to six minutes, stirring often until bubbly and toasted. Adjust the heat as needed to avoid burning.
During the last minute, drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and turn off the heat. Let them cool out of the skillet and on a plate. Roughly chop or leave them whole and set them aside.
Add the kale and radicchio to a large salad bowl. Add about half of the dressing and toss well to combine.
Top with figs, blue cheese, pecans and the crispy quinoa and a pinch of flaky salt if needed. Toss again gently with more dressing. Serve and enjoy!
If you have an immersion blender, this dressing is very easy to make. If you don't have an immersion blender simply add everything to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Combine all ingredients in the standing container for your immersion blender.
Use your immersion blender to process until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
I share these products to show you what I choose to use in my kitchen as staple ingredients I use daily (or weekly).
I exclusively use Diamond Crystal kosher salt for all of my recipes. I prefer the texture, taste and consistency of this brand and highly recommend it for everyday cooking.
I always, always have Maldon flaky salt on hand and add it to almost all of my dishes as a finishing salt. I can't recommend this enough.
I love using Aleppo pepper in recipes because the flavour isn't too strong or spicy. It's one of my most used spices and I highly recommend it.
I love using this cordless immersion blender from Cuisinart for blending and puréeing sauces, soups and dressings.
Air Fryer parchment paper liners:
To make things really easy, sometimes I suggest using air fryer parchment paper liners, like these. These are perforated with holes to allow for air circulation and designed for higher heat.
If you love a good salad, be sure to check these out!
Ready to make this? Let's go!
If you make this kale and radicchio salad, please let me know by tagging me on Instagram, or leave a comment and/or review below!
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This loaded kale and radicchio salad with fresh figs, blue cheese and crispy quinoa is bursting with flavour, texture and perfect for making ahead.
Prep the quinoa, fig dressing and pecans ahead to save time.