Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa)

~ An easy, vibrantly delicious salad featuring kale, blueberries, dried cranberries, walnuts and feta. Perfect with freekeh or quinoa. Loaded with healthy superfoods, yet so good no one will even notice that they’re eating something this incredibly healthy! ~

Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa) Recipe {Two Healthy Kitchens}

At least as far as we’re concerned, this is actually called “Celebration Salad.”

High-Five, Attaboy, You-Rocked-It-Out (or At-Least-Survived-It) Salad.

It’s a lot of pressure to put on a salad, we know. But this one is totally loaded with powerhouse, nutritious goodies, so we figure it can handle the pressure.

Ok. But exactly why, you ask, is it “Celebration Salad”?

Fair question. It’s not totally obvious. Well, except that this freekeh salad is so colorful that it pretty much looks like a celebration in a bowl. And, actually, it’s a happy riot of delicious flavors – a celebration for your taste buds, too.

But the real reason?

Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa) Recipe {Two Healthy Kitchens}

This salad was there to help us celebrate after our first public speaking gig (*egads*).

We’d been invited by a local chapter of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International to speak on the topic of helping picky eaters become less … well, picky. We’d prepped meticulously, outlining the presentation and making lots of samples for the ladies to try (from Blueberry-White Chocolate Muffins to Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins, plus three kinds of Snack Bites).

We also wrote our entire series of related posts on parenting picky eaters and helping kiddos eat more nutritiously. It was a big project for us, as newbie bloggers.

Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa) Recipe {Two Healthy Kitchens}

You can certainly start with whole carrots for this recipe, but to speed up the prep, we usually buy packaged matchstick carrots. Just line ’em up and run your knife through them to create perfect, tiny bits. So easy!

Plus, there’s the simple fact that public speaking can be a teensy bit nerve-racking (which obviously necessitates celebrating after you’ve survived it!).

But, by the time we wrapped up our presentation that day and considered how we should celebrate, we were smack-dab at lunchtime, middle of the week, with kiddos arriving home for after-school activities in just a few short hours … and we still had a lot of work to do that afternoon!

So much for celebrating with a champagne-and-cake extravaganza!

THK Heinans Salad9

To easily remove the tough stems from kale, just fold each leaf in half and then either cut along the stem to separate it from the leaf (left), or gently tear the leaf away from the stem (right).

Instead, we grabbed some lunch as we drove past our local gourmet grocery store (a splurge!). When you’re a mom, sometimes that just has to count as a celebration, you know?

We spent the rest of the afternoon happily working and planning together, munching on salads from our market’s amazing section of prepared foods. And we’re gonna bet you can guess which salad was the stand-out. Yep – the kale and berry salad, with a whole rainbow of fruits and veggies, highlighted by a lightly sweet yet tangy vinaigrette.

It was delicious.

Deeee-(we-want-to-eat-this-all-the-time)-licious!

And so healthy! Bonus!

Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa) Recipe {Two Healthy Kitchens}

This recipe is our take on that beautiful (celebration!) kale salad. Sure, there are some twists … we tailored it to be perfectly, exactly how we wanted it and how our families loved it (even kiddos – no joke!).

One stroke of brilliance was that, thanks to the awesome folks at Freekehlicious (who kindly sent us some samples of their products), we’ve been playing around a lot with freekeh. And wow … although the original salad had quinoa in it, a true moment of inspiration was when this kale salad met up with freekeh. Chewy, nutty freekeh is a fabulous counterpoint to the other flavors and textures!

We also chopped our kale more finely than in the original, made a couple tiny ingredient swaps, and then absolutely loaded in the other goodies, too – from crunchy walnuts, celery, carrots and yellow peppers … to sweet blueberries and dried cranberries … to the salty hint of feta.

Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa) Recipe {Two Healthy Kitchens}

The result is a vibrant, chopped confetti salad (kinda like our Mediterranean Confetti Quinoa Salad, but with a totally different flavor profile). And, ya know – confetti is perfect for celebrating!

The good news is that you don’t have to go find a podium or prepare any speaking notes. Nope – no public speaking is required at all (you’re relieved … we know)!

You just need a knife for a bit of chopping and a whisk for the vinaigrette … and you’ll be enjoying the celebration for days (yeah – it keeps nicely in the fridge)!

Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa) Recipe {Two Healthy Kitchens}

Ok … so getting back to the freekeh. Are you a little curious? You’re not alone! It’s another of the ancient grains (like quinoa, farro, kamut …) that has exploded onto the healthy eating scene in recent months. It’s loaded with nutrition … and utterly delicious in this kale salad! (Stay tuned! We’ve got an entire post about freekeh coming up in a few days, with scoop about what it is, how to cook it, and why you oughta give it a try.)

Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa) Recipe {Two Healthy Kitchens}

No worries, though, if you can’t find freekeh or just don’t have any on hand. Don’t stress! This is THK, so you know we’ve got options for you! We also tested this salad with quinoa (which is how the gourmet grocery store makes their version), and can totally recommend it as a great substitute. In fact, we couldn’t get our taste-testers to agree on whether they liked this kale salad better with freekeh or with quinoa – honestly, it’s fantastic either way!

And with all the unbelievable nutrition packed into each mouthwatering bite … this is one celebration you won’t feel even a tiny bit guilty about!

Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa) Recipe {Two Healthy Kitchens}

So go find a reason to celebrate … and party on, friends!

THK Signature Gretchen & Shelley cropped

We’d like to thank Freekehlicious for providing samples of their products, which we used in testing this recipe. We were not compensated for our work in any way, however, and also purchased additional packages of Freekehlicious, as well as other brands of freekeh. All opinions, as always, are our own.

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Looking for More Salads Filled with Hearty Grains? Check Out Our:

Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa)
Shared By: 
Yield: About 11-12 cups
 
Ingredients
SALAD:
  • 1 cup uncooked freekeh (or quinoa, see note)
  • 3 ½ cups finely chopped kale, tough stems removed (from about ¾ pound kale)
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots (see note)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (about 6 ounces)
  • ¾ cup finely chopped yellow pepper (from 1 small pepper)
  • ⅔ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped celery (from about 1 stalk)
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
VINAIGRETTE:
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Preparation
  1. Cook freekeh (or quinoa) according to package directions and allow to cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, combine freekeh (or quinoa) and all other salad ingredients and mix well.
  3. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper, whisking to combine. Pour vinaigrette dressing over salad and stir thoroughly so dressing evenly coats all salad components.
  4. Serve immediately or chill, covered, until serving.
Notes
Freekeh: When using freekeh for this recipe, we generally choose cracked freekeh, which cooks much more quickly than whole freekeh. Both work fine, but cracked freekeh is simply faster to prepare. Cracked freekeh cooks in about 15-20 minutes, depending on the brand (roughly the same amount of time as quinoa), whereas whole freekeh requires about 45 minutes.

Carrots: To save time, we usually purchase matchstick carrots and finely chop them. Simply line the matchsticks up so they're mostly facing the same direction and chop them into tiny cubes. About 1½ cups of matchstick carrots will yield 1 cup once finely chopped. You can, of course, also begin with regular, whole carrots instead.

Make-Ahead: You can cook the freekeh (or quinoa) a day or two ahead and refrigerate the cooked grains until you're ready to finish assembling the salad. Once completed, this salad refrigerates beautifully for several days.

Yield: This recipe makes a large salad – perfect for sharing at parties or for refrigerating to eat throughout the week. You can easily make a smaller batch, though – simply halve all the ingredients.

 

Our Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh recipe has been mentioned or featured in:

More Cluck for Your Buck: Freekeh with Chicken and Brussels Sprouts at Stetted
100 Healthy Holiday Side Dish Recipes at Jeanette’s Healthy Living
The Great Thanksgiving Side Dishes Round Up at Pastry Chef Online
Recipe: Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh at Greenwheat Freekeh

 
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Comments

Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa) — 42 Comments

  1. Pingback: Citrus Quinoa and Chickpea Salad

  2. Pingback: What is Freekeh? (And How Do You Cook It?)

  3. Pingback: 100+ Healthy Recipes

    • Oh thank you so much, Eveline! This kale salad truly does pack a HUGE flavor punch! And you’re right – with all those great colors, it’s just gorgeous – you can totally feel great about taking it to a potluck or serving it to guests at a dinner party (they’ll be so impressed! 😀 )! I’m really glad you popped by – have a fantastic weekend! ~Shelley

  4. I finally got around to making this salad and it was a huge hit at a party we went to. I actually would make it a day or two ahead next time as it tasted even better after the flavors had a chance to meld. I was a little worried after I cooked the Freekeh. I cooked it according to the directions (cooked for 45 minutes). When it was done cooking and I set it to the side for 5 minutes (actually it was probably half and hour as I got sidetracked…) there was still water in the pot. I was thinking it should have all absorbed. I just drained it and let it cool before throwing it all together and everything was fine. So my question to you is, should the water have all absorbed or is it normal for it not to?

    • I’m so thrilled to hear that this salad was such a big hit! Don’t you just love when something healthy turns out to be a smashing success?!? When food is super-delicious, people don’t care one bit that it’s healthy, too – they just gobble it up! 😀

      Now about your freekeh question … not to worry! Different brands vary slightly in how they suggest that you cook their freekeh. Freekehlicious, for example, instructs you to use a bit more water than some other brands we’ve worked with, but then directs you to drain off any excess water that’s left after cooking. Other brands specify that you use slightly less water, with the expectation that it will all be absorbed. Just depends on the brand, and we’ve had success cooking freekeh either way. If you feel that your freekeh is cooked to your liking and there’s a bit of water left, don’t ever be concerned at all about draining it away. So, basically, you did exactly the right thing! High-five!!! 😀 ~Shelley

    • Trish, this salad is both amazingly gorgeous and totally delicious! With the holiday weekend coming up, this could be the perfect time to really WOW your friends! And it’s super healthy!!! 🙂 ~G&S

  5. YUMMY!!!!
    You’ve done it again ladies! Thank you! Love love love this salad girls… I did make a little change. I omitted the feta to make it completely “plant-strong” and then added some chopped strawberries and sunflower seeds to the party!!! Dinner is done for tonight 🙂 Love your recipes!

    • Hi, Gretchen! We’re so thrilled you’re making this salad, and totally appreciate that you popped by to tell us about it! Great adaptation for your family, too – strawberries and sunflower seeds sound terrific! One thing we love about salads like this is that, once you have a basic recipe, they’re so easy to change a bit based on personal preferences or even just what you happen to have on hand. Yum!!! Really hope you love it as much as we do! 😀 ~Shelley

    • Lol! Freekeh really is a pretty hilarious name, isn’t it?!? Right there, you know it’s worth trying! Plus, it’s so jam-crammed with great nutrition – perfect for making utterly delicious summer salads that everyone just gobbles up (and which are still stealthily good for them, too!). Happy summer, friend! 😀 ~G&S

    • Oh, yeah, Katie! You’re gonna looooove making this at home! You can totally control the ingredients (as in: lots and lots of yummy berries, nuts and other goodies 😀 ) and it keeps so well for days in the fridge! We just love it and are sooooo excited for you to make it, too! 😀 ~G&S

  6. Congratulations to you TWO Fabulous Super Moms! Absolutely love, love, love salads with berries. This celebration salad looks fresh, vibrant and healthy. How about a little glass of chilled Prosecco with a few blue berries along your salad???
    Cheers,
    J+C

  7. You two are to be admired. After your health talk (wish I could have been there!), you continued your pursuit and created this! Way to go. A round of applause indeed. :))

    Looks yummy! I like the idea of making a big bowl and stashing it in my frig and reaching for that for a few days when the hunger pangs strike. No guilt! Fantastic!

    • Thanks, Lori! That’s truly sweet of you! 😀 And I’m so totally with you on the big bowl thing – especially in the summer, I love having three or four different salads like this in the fridge, to enjoy my own custom gourmet salad bar all week for lunch and snacks! ~Shelley

  8. I’ve tried blueberries, nuts, feta and quinoa in a salad before and it was absolutely delicious, so I definitely believe you that this was a winner! I still haven’t got around to trying kale in a recipe … yes, I have totally been living under a kale-free rock (aka Greece). But I know I should … along with some freekah!
    Congrats on the presentation. That must have been so nerve-racking but it sounds like it was really successful. 🙂

    • A kale-free rock – lol! Well, not to worry … now you’ll be able to find lots of the ingredients you were missing out on in Greece! You’ll love working with both freekeh and kale. They’re two totally versatile ingredients but also so jam-crammed with nutrition that you’ll be inspired to find all sorts of recipes for them! Yay for new adventures in the kitchen! 😀 ~G&S

  9. Congrats on your successful speaking engagement! I’m sure you have inspired many with your delicious recipe ideas. As for the freekeh train, I’ve yet to embark on it. I’ll be looking forward to the next installment! 🙂 Have a great weekend!!

    • Awwww, Sharon – thanks!!! And about the freekeh train … hop right on, girlfriend! It’s just one more awesome reason to eat more whole grains! If you love heartier grains like wheat berries or maybe barley, you’ve definitely gotta check out freekeh! Plus, it’s got some fabulous nutrition stats! Bonus! Hope you have a terrific weekend, too! 😀 ~G&S

  10. Congrats on your speaking gig! So many milestones lately…which means lots of reason to celebrate and I’ll never turn down that opportunity! 🙂 This salad looks AWESOME! I’ve never had freekah, but I’ve been wanting to try it. Now I have the perfect recipe to try it with. Pinning now!

    • Totally true – never turn down a celebration! You’re our kinda girl for sure! And yes – you’ve gotta get some freekeh! It’s got some impressive nutrition stats (hint hint … more on that in our upcoming post on freekeh nutrition and how to cook freekeh 😀 ). Plus, the nutty, chewy texture is just another great option when you’re trying to find more ways to eat whole grains! Let us know what you think for sure! 😀 ~G&S

  11. What a beautiful salad! I’ve been eating freekeh since I was turned onto it in Israel a few years ago. I posted it probably before your time-so to speak! And speaking of speaking-how fun was that? Great job!

    • Thanks so much, Abbe! We do truly love the opportunity to talk to people in our community about our passion (healthy eating!). We’ve recently worked with a couple of darling Girl Scout troops on healthy eating badges, too – talk about fun!!! 😀

      Anyway, I just checked out your recipe for freekeh pilaf with walnuts, jalapenos and cumin – sounds so fantastic! Now that I’ve tried freekeh and am totally hooked on its chewy, nutty flavor and texture, I see how it pairs perfectly with such a broad range of other flavors in so many types of dishes. Definitely pinned your recipe quick, quick to our Freekeh Recipes board! Thanks for the tip! 😀 ~Shelley

  12. beautiful! Beautiful! And congrats on rockin’ (or at least getting through) your speaking gig! Awesome! I love me some kale! I have a pool party next weekend, and so I’m having kale salads each lunch day in the hopes of having a bikini body, or at least fewer jiggles. 😉 I think I’ll try your add-ins. I love that you chopped the carrot shreds like that. awesome!

  13. Congrats on rocking your first public speaking appearance!! Sounds like you both did an amazing job on a very important topic!! As for this salad, I LOVE your quinoa celebration salad so can’t wait to try this beautiful and colorful salad as well! I am always looking for inspiration in the salad department! And as for Freekeh, I neeedd to get my hands on some ASAP – this is my first time hearing about it 😀 Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for a wonderful and bright salad recipe!

    • Hey thanks, Ceara! The topic of helping kiddos learn to eat more healthfully really is one that’s very near and dear to our hearts! And we’re so glad to hear that you love the Mediterranean Confetti Quinoa Salad! This kale salad has a totally different, sweet-tangy vibe going on, and we definitely think you’ll love it just as much! And yes – track yourself down some freekeh! We love playing with lots of different nutritious grains, and freekeh is a fab one for sure! Can’t wait to hear what you think about it! 😀 ~G&S

  14. Yum. I recently discovered my love for kale/fruit salads, and this one looks like a winner! I just got back from my last MOPS meeting this morning; I’m jealous of the group that got to have you two as speakers – and on such a relevant topic. Congrats!!
    Question – do you typically store your salad with the dressing, or add it just before eating?

    • Awww … we love MOPS! Thanks so much for your sweet words, too! We really had an awesome time doing that presentation for such a truly lovely group of ladies! We both miss our kiddos’ preschool days (sniff sniff), and it’s such fun to reconnect with moms who are at that darling (although sometimes challenging! 😀 ) stage!

      Anyway, regarding the dressing: We always dress this salad immediately and allow the flavors to meld. It holds just fine that way in the fridge for several days (you know how kale really doesn’t get very soggy no matter how you abuse it! :D). However, this salad is delicious right off the bat, just after the dressing has been added, too. So, if you personally prefer to dress your salads right before you serve them, I think you’ll be perfectly happy going that route, as well! Thanks for the great question! 😀 ~Shelley

      • Just made this tonight with a couple of modifications to use up our pantry and fridge items – so, so delicious! Loved the blueberries in the mix – those were our favorite bites.
        I saved the dressing until right before serving, but I think I’ll add dressing to our leftovers to let it sit. Maybe we had a particularly crunchy bunch of kale, but it was a lot of chewing 🙂 Maybe the dressing will soften it up a bit.
        Great recipe – thanks!

        • Hi, Liz! Thanks so much for popping back to let us know how much you enjoyed this!

          About your kale seeming too crunchy/chewy: there are a lot of reasons that could be and several things you can do to help your kale be softer next time (whether for this salad or any other similar raw preparation). Gretchen and I have honestly never had a problem in all the times we’ve made this salad, but raw kale and how tough it seems to people is a true point of debate, so it’s entirely possible that your bunch seemed overly tough to you. So, what to do? First off, be sure to chop your kale really finely – that’s why we like to go the”confetti” chopped salad route with kale. Secondly, you’re absolutely right that you simply might have had a particularly tough bunch, but if you continue to have trouble with the kale you’re finding seeming tough, you might want to seek out dinosaur (also called Tuscan or lacinato) kale. It’s typically a bit softer and (when picked young enough) sometimes also a bit sweeter than the curly (blue) kale that people most commonly find in the supermarket. An additional idea is to massage your kale (seriously – no kidding!) by rubbing the leaves with a bit of olive oil or even with the dressing. To be honest, chopping the leaves really finely is all we’ve ever needed to do, and the whole massaging process seems a bit unwieldy and time-consuming to us, but lots of people swear by it. Lastly, you could definitely just try adding the dressing ahead of time. We’ve always had no trouble devouring the salad right off the bat, and this particular dressing shouldn’t cause significant wilting even after a couple of days, but you may find that dressing this salad ahead softens the kale just enough for you. Hope that helps, Liz! And thanks again for so kindly taking the time to let us know what you thought! 😀 ~Shelley

  15. woah i love the sound of this salad! at first i thought those blueberries were olives and i was like UGH i hate olives! hahaha. I love how finely you chopped that kale..its like a chopped salad loaded with the good stuff. i like salads like this because they are actually fillling. i hate skimpy salads- dont know how ppl eat that haha. i have only used freekeh once in a blue apron recipe- have you ever heard of that company? its awesome. before that, however- i never even heard of it lol. im pinning this! have a good day, ladies!

    • Hi, Christina! That’s totally hilarious about the olives!?!? No worries – just gorgeously plump, sweet blueberries here! And I’m totally with you on how awesome salads like this are – I love keeping two or three different salads in my fridge for the week, and grabbing a bit of each at lunchtime or when I need a snack. It’s like my own gourmet salad bar … right in my fridge! Oh – and I have heard of Blue Apron (which sounds fantastic), but never tried it – too busy testing my own recipes, I guess! Thanks a million for the pin! So good to hear from you! 😀 ~Shelley

  16. This is my kind of salad! I am not familiar with freekeh and don’t usually pay much attention to kale but here I go!

    Thanks for another interesting recipe!

    • Okay, meat and potatoes husband elsewhere for dinner so I made the “kale chopped salad with berries and Freekeh”.

      Had to use Quinoa this time but I will definitely continue looking for the Freekeh as this salad had delightful sensations in taste and texture. I will be making this recipe over and over.

      • We’re just thrilled! The whole reason we started Two Healthy Kitchens was because we truly hoped to inspire others to try more nutritious recipes – to learn about new ingredients and techniques and realize that cooking healthfully could be both incredibly delicious AND incredibly easy! We just can’t tell you how much it means to us to know that we inspired you to try two healthy superfoods all in one recipe! And it means even more to us that you took the time to let us know that you liked our salad so much!! This is why we blog … Mission accomplished. Thank you – really! 😀 ~G&S

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