Coconut Quinoa & Kale Salad with Cashew & Coriander Pesto

It’s January (in case you hadn’t noticed) so everyone* is eating healthy and “detoxing”. Detoxing is a whole load of horse shit. Eating healthy, however, isn’t. I see plenty of people slamming detoxing and lumping the people that are just generally eating better into their ridicule. I’m also not trying to claim that I’m eating better just because it’s January. I generally eat ok (those that follow me on Instagram may not believe me based on the number of burgers I post, but it’s what you don’t see that makes up 80% of my diet) having soup or salad for my weekday lunches and something packed full of veg for my dinner.

Quinoa & Kale Salad

Over winter I usually stick with soup and salad takes up most of spring/summer/early autumn. I have however been getting a bit bored of soup lately so thought I’d go back to the salads for a little bit. Last summer I experimented with a  few Kale based salad recipes. They were great, but not overly sustainable money/timewise. For instance I made a miso & baked tofu one, which was wonderful but time consuming (and miso isn’t cheap/easy to find, not in Leeds anyway), and then a warm salad with mushrooms, peppers, balsamic etc, the snag with that one being that it needed serving fresh and warm.

Quinoa & Kale Salad

This Coconut Quinoa & Kale salad with Cashew & Coriander Pesto is great because you can prep it in advance and (while it does obviously taste better fresh and warm) it’ll still be good over the next couple of days (I freshen it up with a bit of Soy Sauce). I adapted a recipe I found here. The pesto is great and something I’m going to make again and use with a few different things.

Coconut Quinoa & Kale Salad with Cashew & Coriander Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 5 portions
  • **For the salad**
  • 1 bag Kale (I use a bag of pre-chopped Kale as it’s all the local supermarkets have)
  • 1 Cup Quinoa (Black works well for this, the 1 cup will turn into about 3 cups once cooked, rinsed for a couple of minutes)
  • 235ml light coconut milk
  • ½ small to medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 Grilled Chicken Breast (per person, I grilled several up at once)
  • **For the Pesto**
  • Bunch of fresh Coriander (leaves and stalks)
  • Small handful of cashews
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 115ml olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • ½ a chilli (Optional, and heat to your own preference)
  • Stick of Lemongrass (Optional)
  1. In a medium saucepan bring the coconut milk and 230ml of water to the boil. Add the quinoa, cover and cook for 15-17 minutes. The water should be completely absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, make the Pesto. Place all of the items into a blender or food processor, apart from the oil. Start processing it and pour the oil in slowly as it starts to blend.
  3. In a large bowl combine the quinoa, kale, pesto and onion. Mix well until everything is coated in the pesto.
  4. To serve, make a bed of the kale & quinoa mix and slice the chicken breast up into pieces. Garnish with Coriander and have soy sauce on the side if you wish.