A Quinoa Bowl: Crispy Kale Sprouts, Grapefruit, & Avocado with Red Wine Vinaigrette

They say that you should never go grocery shopping when you're hungry. But I do this. A lot. (Who are "they", anyway??) I walked into the grocery store this week...starving...and accepting of the fact that I was going to fill my cart with things that I probably wouldn't even know what to do with right away. (This is freedom, folks.) A majority of my time was actually spent in the produce department. It went a little something like this...

Sample slices of blood orange? Let's try some...Yup, put it in the cart. Free samples?! They got me, again...Oh, let me throw in a bag of grapefruit, too. They're right next to the blood oranges...Avocado. Yum...Kale sprouts?! What are these?! I need some.

My own version of The Hunger Games was an adventure alright. By the time I got home and unpacked all of my groceries, I realized...what the heck am I going to do with all of this? They were tucked away into their rightful places in the kitchen, temporarily, while I ate the more instant-gratification stuff...i.e, some rotisserie chicken and rice. A few days later, I couldn't hide from my problem anymore. The avocados were about to be too soft and brown, and the kale sprouts were looking a little limp. However, if I've learned anything from one-too-many of these types of shopping trips, it's nothing a salad and a little pantry-searching can't fix!

First, I tackled the kale sprouts. I opened the package and soon realized that these weren't just baby-sized kale leaves. They were the most adorable miniature bunches of kale I've ever seen! (Can leafy greens be classified as adorable? I think so.)

In salads and mixed bowls, I always love having that crispy bite. So I thought of kale chips and roasted brussel sprouts and came up with a hybrid of the two textures!

After tossing the kale with a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper, they really glistened, and all of the colors popped. (Vegetables aren't just adorable. They can also be so pretty.)

I laid them out evenly on a baking sheet, then roasted them in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes.

Because of their small size, you really need to watch these while they're in the oven. I flipped mine after the first 5 minutes to check for doneness. When the sprouts do finally come out, though, thanks to their small size, the center stems are tender, but the outer leaves are so delicious and crisp!

The pantry-searching that I was talking about earlier is mostly for dressing ingredients and a foundation for this salad! I chose quinoa because it's a hearty grain that pairs well with the kale and stands well on its own as a salad foundation. You can definitely use orzo pasta or couscous if you have it on hand!

Then, for the vinaigrette, I decided to keep it simple: oil, vinegar, salt & pepper...aaaaaand a touch of honey, lemon, and minced shallots. ;)

Originally, grapefruit was going to be the only other citrus component in this dish...Well, that's not a grapefruit. That's a blood orange. (Pretty too, isn't it?!)

I had one left, so it couldn't be left behind. I needed to invite it to the pretty party that is this quinoa bowl!

After piling my ingredients together in a bowl, all that was left to do was drizzle on the vinaigrette and garnish with toasted pecans! The pecans, of course, are optional, but I love adding nuts to salads. There are always a couple varieties sitting in my pantry at all times. Go big or go home, I say. Might as well go crazy!

And this quinoa bowl is crazy. Crazy good. Hearty quinoa and kale, rich avocado, and bright juicy grapefruit...It has just the right balance of light and satisfying!

You can serve the quinoa bowl all on its own, or you can add grilled chicken or seared fish. It'd make such an easy and delicious lunch! I gobbled up my serving, thinking to myself, "This was totally the plan from the beginning..." ;)

So, to all grocery shoppers, don't be afraid to walk in with an appetite. You never know what you could end up with later! 

Quinoa Bowl: Crispy Kale Sprouts, Grapefruit, & Avocado with Red Wine Vinaigrette (makes 2 servings)

Print Recipe
1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup Quinoa
1 cup Water
1 1/2 cups Kale Sprouts, washed and dried (Optional: slice larger sprouts in half)
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Red Grapefruit, peeled & segmented
1 Avocado, peel/pit removed & sliced
Toasted Chopped Pecans, for garnish
1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp Honey
1 tsp Lemon Zest
1 tbsp Minced Shallot
Salt & Pepper, to taste
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and a pinch of salt, stir, and toast the quinoa for about 1 minute. Pour in the water. Then, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until all of the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Remove from the heat, and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Lay the kale sprouts onto a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then toss to coat the sprouts evenly. Bake at 350 degrees until the leaves are crisp, flipping the kale sprouts after 3-4 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.
  4. Divide the quinoa between two bowls, then top each with equal amounts of the kale sprouts, grapefruit segments, and avocado slices. Garnish with chopped pecans, and drizzle with vinaigrette.
  5. Serve immediately, or cover and store in refrigerator. Enjoy!