… because what is life without good food?

Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

So we got back from vacation last night after a long long 14-hour drive. I needed some GOOD food today, something that not only tastes good, but has all those super-nutritional things in it that are hard to find when you’re travelling. So I threw together this wilted kale salad. It has just the right mix of protein, fiber, grains, greens and herbs, with a little salty smoky taste from the bacon and cheese and a bit of crunch from the sunflower seeds. This was just what I was missing while I was on vacation!

The trip to Yellowstone was lovely, the scenery was spectacular, and it was great to spend time together with my kids where we actually TALKED to each other and joked around and just enjoyed each other’s company … we really had a good time … but there were a few aspects of a normal “vacation” we kind of missed. Trips to the coffee shop. Eating exceptional food. We ate our meals in the car or the hotel for the most part. The first night I tried to get the kids to go out with me, but they were exhausted from the drive and just wanted to chill (and play on their computers) in the hotel room. The second and third days we ate sandwiches in the car and breakfast & dinner in the room. The resort we stayed at had a gas grill, so I cooked up grilled salmon one night and chicken and hot dogs the next, but by the third night we were dying for some really good food OUT. So Wednesday after the tour of my favorite brewery, the Grand Teton Brewing Company (which was wonderful!), we decided to try a brew-pub in Jackson, the Snake River Brewing Company. We were disappointed. The food was okay, but the pretzel was cold and hard, the pizzas and fish and chips were mediocre. It wasn’t the really good food we were hoping for at all on our “big night out”. And after visiting Grand Teton, even the beer tasted kind of blah. The whole experience just made us want to go home.

Oh but before we go on, you need to see the awesome beer I had at the Grand Teton Brewing Company … this is the Wake Up Call Imperial Coffee Porter. I really wanted to bring some home with me, but they didn’t have any bottled for sale … I’m hoping like mad that they DO send some our way soon because I really loved this deep dark beer! The other cool part about our brewery tour was my teenagers each got a bottle of the Black Cherry soda straight off the bottling line, which was REALLY cool. It made them feel much more welcome.

Wake up call Imperial Coffee Porter

(No, there’s no beer in this dish … I just wanted to TELL someone about this awesome beer and the great time we had at the brewery … if you want an awesome recipe for dark beer, check out the Black Cauldron Imperial Chocolate Stout Cake)

Okay, anyway, back to the topic at hand … what were we talking about? Oh yes, the quinoa, kale & bacon salad …

So my daughter and I went shopping for shoes and groceries today. (Way fun on both parts!) I had to get some kale. Kale is my new favorite food. It crisps up delightfully to make kale chips, but you can also quick-steam it for omelets and salads. My friend Sonali, the Foodie Physician can tell you how wonderful kale is for your body … and how to make those crispy fun kale chips. But kale also tastes good, and because kale is so good for you, it makes your body feel wonderful all over when you eat it. The bacon and cheese might even win over some of your more skeptical eaters.

Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

Wilted Kale, Quinoa and Bacon Salad

for each serving, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 slices lean bacon
  • 2 stalks of kale, stems removed, then take the greens and chop or tear them into smaller pieces
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • About 3 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves
  • Red robin seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • A few very thin slices of Dubliner cheese (you could substitute Parmesan or Romano if you don’t have Dubliner)
  • About 2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds


  1. Cook the quinoa.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, in a frying pan, fry the bacon until it’s crisp, then remove from pan and set on a clean towel to soak up the excess fat. If there’s any excess fat in the pan, drain it out, but don’t wipe out the pan … leave a micro thin coating of bacon fat on the bottom.
  3. Over medium high heat, throw in the kale along with a splash of water. Stir them around a little. The kale will soften and turn a brilliant green almost immediately.
  4. Add in the quinoa, bacon, vinegar, oil, basil and season to taste.
  5. Pour the salad into a bowl and top with the cheese shards and sunflower seeds.

For me this was a full meal, but you could serve it as a side with some meat if you prefer.

Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Manic Mondays, Best Healthy Salad Recipes, Recipe of the Week and Summer Salad Sundays, and Eating Inside the Box Greens Party.

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17 Responses

  1. Nadine

    I love quinoa, I’ve been wanting more salad recipes so I’m thankful to find this one. I’ve saved it & will make it soon, thank you for sharing.
    Your vacation sounds like a good time. I loved the Jackson Hole area, hope to get back there one day.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    • Ann

      I hope you like it Nadine! It was just what my body was wanting after a week’s travel 🙂

      June 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm

  2. Welcome back! Sounds like a great trip.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm

  3. Reblogged this on Push Dump Fat Button.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm

  4. 14 hours in the car! It’s been so long since I’ve done that. Used to love it but I’m not sure my back is up to the extended trip anymore. I totally get where you’re coming from; when I return from a vacation all I want is fresh greens and nourishment. This salad looks like it really offers the best of everything.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    • Ann

      I wasn’t sure I was up to it, but we decided to do it, so then I was on a mission. SO glad it’s over!

      June 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm

  5. Ann, my favorite salad chef, I love this recipe!!!! I have not blended these flavors before, but it’s perfect! I just love kale in so many things. Thank you for sharing at Fit and Fabulous Fridays!!

    June 7, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    • Ann

      It’s what I had in the fridge, so I tossed it all together and it was wonderful! Thank you Amee 🙂

      June 8, 2012 at 11:33 am

  6. Fantastic! I’m definitely going to make this salad! Thanks for sharing this with Summer Salad Sundays, look forward to seeing you again soon.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm

  7. I have chosen to feature your salad this week! I have tweeted it, pinned it and shared it on my Facebook page. It will be featured on Summer Salad Sundays this coming Sunday. Thanks for linking up and I hope to see you again soon!

    June 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    • Ann

      Why thank you so much, Debbie! That’s such an honor 🙂

      June 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

  8. Pingback: Pinned it, Made it, Ate It – Quinoa, Kale & Bacon Salad | foodandfrederick

  9. What a combo!! Definitely a must try!

    November 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    • Ann

      Thank you Leah! It was delicious 🙂

      November 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm

  10. This looks lovely! And I like seeing Quinoa with some bacon. It’s not just for vegetarian recipes! 🙂

    February 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    • Ann

      Thanks Emily. Personally, I think Quinoa is so versatile, it goes with just about anything! The bacon and the kale in this salad balance each other out really nicely 🙂

      February 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm

  11. Pingback: Little Bit of Everything Health Recipe Round Up | Food Done Light