Crispy kale, squash and pecan red quinoa salad

This crispy kale and quinoa salad is one of my favourite lunch recipes in the Dairy-Free Delicious cookbook. For lots of reasons…

If you head over to the Healthy Food Guide website you’ll find the recipe for this crispy kale and quinoa salad. along with a guide I’ve written on how to eat healthily on a dairy-free diet. The guide explains how much calcium you need each day and alternative sources, plus some of the other things to bear in mind if you’re cutting dairy from your diet.

When they asked me for a recipe to go with the guide, I knew it had to be this colourful warm salad. It’s nourishing and filling without being heavy. The kale is an excellent source of calcium and fibre, and quinoa – as I’m sure you know – is an easily digestible and nutritious form of protein.

It’s also a nostalgia dose in a bowl for me. In 2012 I got the chance to spend the autumn (or should I say fall) living in New York City. It’s such a wonderful time of year to be in Manhattan – boat trips up the Hudson to see the fall foliage, farmers’ markets full of apple cider stands, and pumpkins and squashes piled high outside the delis and bodegas.

We had a tiny studio apartment, where the ‘kitchen’ consisted of a two-ring hot plate, a small fridge and a toaster oven. So this stovetop dish was something I cooked regularly, making use of produce like pecans and New England cranberries.

It was also the height of kale mania in New York, and I used to pan-fry Tuscan kale (better known in Britain by its Italian name Cavolo Nero) to stir into the quinoa. For the version in the book I’ve used curly kale as it’s available most of the year round in Britain, but by all means substitute it for shredded Cavolo Nero. If you can’t get hold of red quinoa, try the mixed red and white quinoa available in most supermarkets. The red stuff really does have a superior, nutty flavour to the white.

Get the crispy kale, squash and pecan quinoa salad recipe on Healthyfood.co.uk or find it in Dairy-Free Delicious (£18.99; Quadrille). Out now. All photography: Laura Edwards.

Planning a trip to NYC? Here’s my guide to dairy-free dining in the city.

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