Almond Kale Quinoa!

Quinoa has been pretty popular lately in commercials and for good reason; it is so hard to pronounce if you are not familiar with the word, at least for me!! These commercials might be my all time favorite (food nerd) and now Ryan has picked up on my food humor and uses it against me every time I make quinoa so it was a must on my anniversary menu! When planning what I was going to cook I really wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and make some dishes that I wasn’t familiar with or took my creativity to another level and I am very glad I gave them a shot!! Even though some of these recipes might seem intimidating, once I got started I was very surprised about how simple they really were to throw together. I believe the only way to ever get good at cooking is to just try!! I hear a lot of people say they aren’t good at cooking and just like everything else in our lives cooking is a learned skill. When I first started cooking for two, we ate grilled chicken (on a foremen griller), pasta and steamed vegetables…. Almost every night!! It wasn’t until I made an effort in the kitchen to try new recipes did I realize how simple it really can be! At first I would follow every recipe to the ‘T’ and then I would leave out or add certain ingredients and that’s when I realized … there really isn’t a right way when it comes to cooking, you just have to please your taste buds!! Today’s side dish will please most everyone’s palate and if not then change things up! Don’t like cranberries?! Use raisins… Don’t like almonds?! Use walnuts!! Don’t have fresh herbs?!? Use premade seasonings!! I promise it is very hard to mess up most of my recipes!! So lets get to our recipe for today: Almond Kale Quinoa!!

Almond Kale Quinoa
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
  1. 1/2 cup of quinoa
  2. 1 1" piece of kombu (optional)
  3. 1/3 cup of died cranberries
  4. 1/4 cup of almonds, chopped
  5. 3 large kale leaves, hand torn
  6. 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  7. 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  8. 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  9. 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  10. 1/2 fresh lemon juice, squeezed
  1. In a sauce pot add quinoa and rinse throughly with water and drain. Then add 1 cup of fresh water and kombu (optional) to the quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes or until al water is absorbed. Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl and let cool.
  2. After quinoa has cooled, add in cranberries, almonds, parsley, basil, sea salt, kale, olive oil and fresh lemon juice. combine ingredients well and serve!
Blonde Pantry

While the quinoa was cooking I added all the ingredients besides the olive oil into a bowl so when the quinoa was finished I just combined them and added the olive oil


That green ‘thing’ in the quinoa is the kombu! You can find kombu in the asian food section at the grocery store, it just adds flavor to whatever you cook it with. Kombu is best known for being used in miso soups!




Lastly, I wanted to share the dessert!! Like I mentioned on Monday’s post Hannah Joy’s Cakes made our one year anniversary cake and it was over-the-top amazing! If you have read my about me page you know that I love sweets but they can really turn your healthy lifestyle upside down if you are not careful!!

One of my favorite dessert tips is to spilt it!!

After dinner Ryan and I were both so full from all the amazing food that we spilt a piece of cake, I know someone somewhere is currently rolling their eyes and I get it, that used to be me too!! But the trick is to tell yourself if you want more later you can have another piece, a lot of people have what I call

last supper syndrome

meaning- you think you have to eat everything on your plate because your not sure when you are going to eat again (physiologically of course). When you tell yourself, I am going to have this small piece now and tomorrow I can have another small piece, you realize you no longer have all of that anxiety associated with eating cake! You are allowing yourself to enjoy it without the guilt and that is a very important step to living a healthy lifestyle!! You might not be perfect the first time you try this tip but you will get better with time!! Below are a few of my favorite photos of the cake! If you live in the Houston area and have an event or party coming up soon I would highly recommend Hannah Joy’s Cakes!






Do you have any good tips for not overdoing it on desserts?! I would love to hear!! 



About Marla

Welcome to my slice of the internet I’m Marla, a dietitian & creator of The Blonde Pantry. A website that encompasses food, health, nutrition, travel, lifestyle, & home decor. Here you will find what makes me, me and hopefully, I can add something tasty to your table, something beautiful to your home and something thoughtful to your mind.


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