Kale Quinoa Salad (My Version of The Cheesecake Factory)

My friend told me about a fabulous kale and quinoa salad at The Cheesecake Factory. So, of course, I had to try it since I'm always on the lookout for a delicious, nutritious dish. Another friend and I just couldn't stop eating it even though I needed to take some home so I could recreate it. It was delicious. I created my own version of the restaurant's lemon vinaigrette and added it to some kale, quinoa, grapes, sunflower seeds, and Romano cheese. According to my taste-testers, my salad is a winner! It's easy, delicious and very nutritious. I used curly kale, but any kale should work; just make sure to toss the bitter stems. Stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them into tight bundles and slice thinly or just chop into thin strips until shredded. Toss the dressing with the shredded kale and massage the dressing into the kale with your hands for a couple of minutes (to tenderize it). Throw the remaining ingredients in with the kale and you have an excellent salad in no time!  
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Salad Ingredients

1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa 5 cups kale, thinly shredded 1 3/4 cup red seedless grapes, sliced in half (shortcut below) 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds, unsalted 1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Salad Dressing Ingredients

2 tbsp lemon juice 2 tbsp olive oil 4 tsp raw honey or pure maple syrup 1 tsp tahini 1 tsp dijon mustard 1 tsp crushed garlic salt & pepper to taste garnish with thin strips of lemon peel sweetened with raw honey or maple syrup and roasted in oven until crisp and slightly browned (optional)

Directions

1) Cook 1/2 cup quinoa per package directions.
2) While quinoa is cooking, add all the dressing ingredients together in a jar and shake vigorously.
3) Fold kale in half lengthwise along the stem. Tear kale leaves off stem. Stack leaves on top of each other and thinly chop kale. Add shredded kale to large bowl. Toss dressing with kale and message the dressing into kale for a couple of minutes.
4) Add remaining salad ingredients and combine. Garnish salad with thin strips of lemon peel sweetened with raw honey or maple syrup and roasted in oven until crisp and slightly browned (optional). Enjoy!

Comments

  • Cindy
    August 18, 2014

    Hi,
    I am wondering where the vinegar is in the Lemon vinaigrette?
    Thanks,
    Cindy

    • Anonymous
      January 3, 2015

      I am guessing the lemon juice is replacing the vinegar. Nice catch, I didn’t think about that!

  • Colleen
    September 3, 2014

    Made today, love it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Faith S
    January 27, 2015

    OMG! Awesome recipe. I have made this twice, following the recipe, but doubled the dressing amount.
    Everyone that has tried it, asks for the recipe. Tastes great even if you omit the cheese-I am vegan 🙂

  • Kathryn
    February 2, 2015

    Approximately how many servings does this recipe make? Can’t wait to try it!

  • Felicia
    February 4, 2015

    I made this last night after trying the Cheesecake Factory version over the weekend. This is FANTASTIC! Thank you so much for re-engineering and sharing the recipe so that we can enjoy delicious, healthy food at home whenever we want!

    • Judith Scharman
      February 5, 2015

      Yeah! I’m glad you like it. Thanks for letting us know!

  • Ebba
    February 7, 2015

    Made it once and fell in love now I make it at least once a week. Almost exactly like Cheesecake Factory except missing the red peers.mmmm delishoussss !!

    • Judith Scharman
      February 7, 2015

      Thanks for sharing. Red pears sound delicious. Pears weren’t in the salad I ate at the restaurant. I’ll have to add them to the recipe. Thanks for the tip!

      • Sylvia
        August 27, 2015

        I think they meant Pepper, because according to the website, they have red peppers in it.

  • Janice
    February 19, 2015

    Do you know what the thin lemon strips are in the salad at CCF?

    • Judith Scharman
      February 27, 2015

      No, I didn’t know. They weren’t there when I tried it. Maybe, I need to try the salad at the CCF again. Thanks for sharing.

      • Anonymous
        March 22, 2015

        Thin lemon strips (zest) were in mine too, but no pears.

  • Lois Light
    March 7, 2015

    Yes there was some kind of cheese or Lemon strip that had a good flavor. I just ate it today and tasted the strip separately but couldn’t tell what it was. Thanks for the recipe. Can’t wait to try it.

  • Lois Light
    March 7, 2015

    I believe also the little pieces of red was red pepper. If you taste it separately it tasted like red pepper but blended in with the other ingredients it just tastes wonderful.

    • Judith Scharman
      March 7, 2015

      It’s been about 9 months since I tasted this salad at Cheesecake Factory and developed this recipe. It sounds like I need to go back and try this salad again. Thanks for the heads-up! I’ll report back soon.

  • Jessica
    July 7, 2015

    Thank you for the recipe! The strips
    are preserved lemon!!

  • Laura
    July 25, 2015

    I tried the CF salad this past week. It was fabulous. I’m so glad I found this recipe online! Thanks so much for posting this. I will make this sometime this week. (and yes, there are tiny bits of red peppers and lemon zest in the salad at CF).

  • Sharon Husch
    October 31, 2015

    My husband and I had salads at the CF yesterday, and I ordered the kale and quinoa salad. I noticed the very thin lemon strips and they tasted sweet like candied fruit you put in a fruit cake, and yes there were loads of small diced red peppers as well. Thank you so very much for posting this recipe. Now I don’t have to pay $10 for this yummy salad. 🙂

  • Alfonso Rubio
    December 8, 2015

    How many calories does a serving have. I like the cheesecake factory, but everything they have is loaded with calories. I wish I could eat there more.

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    April 25, 2016

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  • Carol
    August 29, 2016

    The cheesecake factory salad includes lemon zest in the salad ( I put in the zest of one lemon in mine) as well as lemon juice and balsamic vinegar in the vinaigrette.

    • Judith Scharman
      August 29, 2016

      Sounds terrific! Thanks for sharing

  • Annie
    November 29, 2016

    I made this for the family and it was delish!! Great recipe.

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