Toasted Pecan, Quinoa and Maple Mustard Kale Salad

Submitted by:

American Pecan Council | Gena Hamshaw, The Full Helping

This power-packed, vegan salad combines pecans, kale, golden beets, green beans and quinoa. Topped with a maple mustard dressing, it makes for a delicious meal, wholesome appetizer or colorful side dish.


  • For the salad:
  • 2/3 cup fresh pecan pieces
  • 4 golden beets (see recipe notes)
  • 3/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed through a fine sieve (see recipe notes)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1 small bunch curly kale, stems removed and chopped (see recipe notes)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the maple mustard dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons olive or pecan oil or tahini
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tamari, Bragg Liquid Aminos, or coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water, if needed


    1. To make the salad: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Trim the beets and wrap each one in foil. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the beets are fork tender. Allow them to cool for ten minutes or so, then run them under cold water and slip the skins off (they should come off very easily; if you coat the beets with a little oil before roasting, the skin removal is even easier). Chop the beets and set them aside.
    2. While the beets roast: add the quinoa and water to a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the quinoa, and simmer for 8 minutes. Uncover the pot, add the green beans, then re-cover and continue simmering quinoa for 5 more minutes. Remove the quinoa and beans from heat and allow them to stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the grain with a fork, re-cover, set aside.
    3. Place a small frying pan or skillet over low heat. Add the pecan pieces and toast, shaking the pan about every 30 seconds, until they smell nutty and toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pieces to a plate right away (they’ll keep cooking if you leave them in the pan).
    4. To make the dressing: Combine the oil, maple syrup, mustard, tamari, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and nutritional yeast in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk to combine. If the dressing is thicker than you’d like, whisk in the warm water as needed. (Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the dressing will keep for 1 week; it makes 1/2 cup.)
    5. To complete the dish:  When all of the ingredients are ready, add the kale to a large mixing bowl, along with 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale, rubbing the pieces between your fingers, until the kale is softened and well coated with dressing (but not soaked; you’ll be adding more vinaigrette in a second!). Add the cooked quinoa and green beans, beets, and pecan pieces to the mixing bowl and mix everything together. Keep adding dressing until the salad is dressed to your liking. Taste and add salt if needed and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve.

    Recipe Notes:

    1. You can use 4 golden beets, or however many you have from one small bunch.
    2. If you’d like to prepare the grain ahead of time, this will amount to 2 cups of cooked quinoa.
    3. One small bunch curly kale, stems removed and chopped will amount to about 5 ounces after preparation.
    4. The quinoa and beets can be prepared up to three days in advance of making the salad. The dressing keeps for a week in an airtight container in the fridge, and can be made 5 to 6 days ahead of time.

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