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Today's Lean:  Blueberry, Kale, and Quinoa Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette
Ricki Heller, author of the blog Diet, Desserts, and Dogs, shares with us her fresh recipe packed with protein, antioxidants, and calcium.  This is a great summer salad that can be eaten on it’s own, or paired with other picnic favorites!

RH:  Of all leafy greens, kale is my favorite. I never tire of the frilly, nutrient-dense leaves.  When summer rolls around and fresh blueberries are abundant, this salad is a great way to enjoy kale in a unique dish that also showcases fresh fruit. Along with the quinoa and hemp seeds, the salad provides a hefty serving of protein as well.

For the Salad:
1 cup water
1/2 cup raw quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 bunch kale (6-8 large leaves), stems removed
1 Tbsp avocado or olive oil, preferably organic
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
sprinkling of hemp seeds, for garnish

For the Dressing:
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup avocado or olive oil, preferably organic
juice of 1 lemon
1 large clove garlic, chopped

Make the salad: Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot; add the quinoa, cover, and lower heat to a simmer.  Cook for 18 minutes; check the quinoa to ensure that all the water has been absorbed.  If there is still water in the bottom of the pot, cover and simmer another 5 minutes; check again.  Keep checking and cooking until all the water is absorbed, then remove from heat and turn the quinoa into a large bowl to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, wash and dry the kale.  Chop into bite-sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl with the 1 Tbsp oil and salt.  “Massage” with your (clean) hands by kneading and squeezing the kale between your thumb and fingers until it becomes shiny, softer and a shade darker. This will allow the kale to be digested more easily.

Add the tomatoes, red onion and blueberries to the bowl and toss.

Make the dressing: combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy (I used a hand-held blender and it worked perfectly). Pour over the salad and toss to coat.  Add the cooled quinoa and toss again.  Sprinkle with hemp seeds just before serving. 
Makes 4-6 servings

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