This healthy Baked Tofu Kale Quinoa Salad with Glory Bowl Dressing recipe is the perfect all-seasons meal, and it is so simple to make. The savoury and delicious Glory Bowl Dressing is adapted from the notorious Whitewater Cooks cookbook and is a definite crowd-pleaser.
Every week in the spring through to late fall, we receive our weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) vegetable box. No matter what the month is, fresh kale, beets and carrots fill the bulk of our fridge, and every Monday night we look forward to this healthy Baked Tofu Kale Quinoa Salad Recipe with Glory Bowl Dressing. If you have never heard of the notorious Glory Bowl dressing, you are in for a treat. The perfect combination of savoury, creamy salty goodness that brings any salad bowl recipe to life.
How To Bake Tofu for Kale Quinoa Salad
How To Press Tofu
This step is not essential but helps to remove some excess water from the tofu creating a more firmly textured tofu that some prefer. Simply place the block of extra-firm tofu on a cutting board in-between two pieces of paper towel, or a clean dishtowel. Set a heavy object on top, such as another cutting board with a cast iron pan on top, and let press for 30 minutes.
To save on prep time, instead of pressing your tofu, another option is to freeze your tofu prior to use which also helps to create a firmer textured tofu when cooked. Simply freeze your block of extra-firm tofu, and defrost before use – no pressing required.
Preparing the Baked Tofu
Slice tofu into 1/4 inch thick slices prior to baking. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the sliced tofu evenly on the tray. Dress with sesame oil, soy sauce and pepper and bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, flipping halfway.
Tips on Making A Kale Quinoa Salad
Using Shredded Kale
For a salad, the kale stems need to be removed (freeze stems to save for later use in smoothies). Kale can be chopped, or shredded – for shredded kale roll up the kale leaves into ‘logs’ and slice the ‘logs’ of kale into thin slices. Option to massage the kale for 30 seconds with a little salt, oil or lemon juice (or all three) to soften the kale slightly – I find this step isn’t necessarily needed with this creamy dressing which also helps to soften the kale.
Preparing The Beets and Carrot
No need to peel or cook the carrots or beets as many of the nutrients are water-soluble (disperse into water) and are held just under the skin. Simply scrub well and grate or shred. I love using my julienne peeler for long, thin shreds of carrot.
Making Perfect Quinoa
If not prepared properly, quinoa can have a bitter taste thanks to the naturally occurring saponins. To remove saponins, simply run quinoa under running water for 30 seconds in a fine-mesh sieve. Cook quinoa at a 1:2 ratio quinoa to water at a light simmer, then when the water has absorbed let the quinoa ‘steam’ for 5 minutes with the heat off and the lid on.
Kale Quinoa Salad Meal Prep
This salad is filled with hearty vegetables that won’t go soggy. To meal prep for the week, spread the quinoa over the desired amount of containers, top with kale, shredded beet and carrot mix, and then baked tofu. Keep dressing and seeds separate, as well as any vegetables that have a high water content including cucumber and tomato if using.
Variations On Kale Quinoa Salad
Cooked Kale Quinoa Salad
For anyone not sold on kale, or if the thought of massaging your kale doesn’t appeal to you, there is the option to cook the kale beforehand. Simply remove the stems (or leave them on for more fibre!) and saute shredded kale in 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until kale has slightly wilted. Roasted sweet potato, yams, mushrooms, Brussel sprouts or onion can also be added.
Spinach Quinoa Salad
Spinach can be used in place of kale and does not need to be massaged or shredded. Spinach can be a great choice and is one of the highest sources of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants important for eye health. For those following a plant-based diet, I generally give preference to kale over spinach due to the oxalic acid found in spinach which can reduce the absorption of calcium in our bodies (see What Foods Are High In Calcium In A Vegan Dairy-Free Diet).
Kale Quinoa Salad with Black Beans
Black beans offer protein, a slow-digesting carbohydrate source, and a great source of soluble fibre. They can be a quick and easy addition to this kale quinoa salad bowl. Simply rinse a can of (BPA-free) black beans, and add this to the finished salad. This will increase the protein by 6 grams, and the fibre by 4 grams.
Making A Seasonal Kale Quinoa Salad
Beets and carrots are available through the summer to late fall and are great cold-storage vegetables for the winter. Other seasonal options:
Seasonal Spring / Summer Vegetables
- sliced cucumber
- sliced tomato
- sliced peppers
- shredded red cabbage
- sliced radishes
- chopped green beans
Seasonal Fall / Winter Vegetables
- roasted parsnips
- roasted sweet potato or yam
- roasted butternut squash
- roasted Brussel sprouts
- roasted mushrooms
- sliced apple
Alternative Dressings to Tahini Based Glory Bowl Dressing
- Another one of my favourite tahini-based salad dressings is this Japanese Salad Bowl with Miso Tahini Dressing which is equally as delicious and creamy.
- This kale quinoa salad uses an apple cider-based dressing, and miso, just like apple cider vinegar is a fermented product rich in live-active cultures which can contribute to gut health (see 5 Tips On How To Improve Gut Health Naturally – Prebiotics, Probiotics and Fermented Foods).
- Another favourite creamy, tahini-free, plant-based dressing is this Vegan Hemp Ranch Dressing.
- Make your own using this guide – The ULTIMATE Guide On How To Make Salad Dressing.
Notes On Making A Kale Quinoa Salad
Make It Gluten-Free
Use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos in place of soy sauce in the Glory Bowl Dressing and on the baked tofu.
Make It Grain-Free
If you want a grain-free salad bowl, use brown lentils as the base in place of the quinoa. Roasted sweet potato and yam can also be used as the base. Option to just have the salad, topped with tofu and dressing.
Make It Soy-Free
Instead of baked tofu, serve the kale quinoa salad with 3 tablespoons of hemp hearts per serving, along with quinoa for sufficient protein. If eggs are OK, serve with 2 boiled eggs per serving. Use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce.
What More Salad Recipes?
Love salad as much as I do? Try one of these tasty salad recipes:
- Baked Tempeh and Cabbage Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing
- Best Lentil Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
- Kale Salad with Beet Apple and Dill
- Japanese Salad Bowl with Miso Tahini Dressing
Kale Quinoa Salad with Baked Tofu and Glory Bowl Dressing
- 1 cup quinoa dry
- 1 350g block extra-firm tofu organic
- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari organic
- 1 large bunch kale de-stemmed
- 2 medium beets peeled and grated
- 2 medium carrots grated
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds / pepitas raw
For the salad dressing
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari organic
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar unpasteurised
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 1/2 tbsp tahini
- 1 clove garlic
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To prepare the quinoa, rinse 1 cup of quinoa in a sieve under running water for at least 30 seconds to remove the bitter saponins. Add to a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium and let simmer, with the lid half on. The quinoa will be ready when all the water has evaporated, about 30 minutes. When it is finished, turn off the heat and cover to let it 'steam' for a further 5 minutes. This step is important in letting the quinoa kernels pop open, creating fluffy quinoa.
- To prepare the tofu, option to press tofu for 30 minutes beforehand for firmer consistency (see instructions in notes*). Cut tofu into rectangles about 1/4 inch thick. Toss with 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil and 1 tbsp soy sauce. Spread onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Option to flip the tofu halfway through the cooking process for even crispiness.
- While the quinoa and tofu are cooking prepare the salad. First, wash the kale and remove the stems. Roll the kale leaves into logs and chop into bite-sized pieces, or shred into thin strips, add to a large salad bowl. Wash the carrots and beets well, leaving the skins on, and grate or shred, adding these to the bowl with the kale.
- If you have a small blender, preparing the dressing is as simple as whizzing all the dressing ingredients together. Otherwise, mince the garlic and add all ingredients to a mason jar. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until well combined.
- When the quinoa and tofu are done, assemble by serving the quinoa in a bowl topped with the salad and pumpkin seeds. Add the tofu and dressing on top.
- Leftovers store well in the fridge for up 5 days.
Want To Save This Baked Tofu Kale Quinoa Salad Recipe For Later?
Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.