Warm Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Kale Salad (+ video)

Looking for a comforting, healthy lunch – packed full of plant-based protein and vitamins? Try this vegan and gluten-free Warm Quinoa, Sweet Potato & Kale Salad tossed with a refreshing orange vinaigrette. See the video below!

overhead shot of a bowl of warm quinoa & sweet potato kale salad with pomegranate arils sprinkled on top

Eating healthy when traveling is not always easy. I want to taste the local food (including when it’s not that healthy!), try a few restaurants and most of the time, cooking is not an option so I can’t completely control what I’m eating.

And you know what? It’s ok! It’s what traveling is for too – discovering new things and stepping out of your routine for a moment.

But with our move to Canada and our three-week vacations, well… that “moment” has been pretty long and to be honest, towards the end I was desperately craving healthy food.

I was craving a nice home-cooked meal, full of good-for-you ingredients like this Warm Quinoa, Sweet Potato & Kale Salad!

a small glass with orange dressing on a white napkin with a pomegranate in the background

In my head, I was describing what would be one of the first thing I would cook when we arrive in Montreal and I finally have a kitchen.

It would have a comforting and nutritious warm quinoa, sweet potato & kale salad. Can you do healthier than that? I don’t think so.

Then this healthy quinoa salad would need a touch of color and freshness: pomegranate arils and red onions are the perfect candidates!

I finally got to cook this delicious sweet potato kale salad a few days ago and it’s as delicious as I hoped it would be. The only thing I added was a simple orange-olive oil dressing.

Here’s the improved recipe 🙂 Enjoy!

 close-up of a bowl of vegan warm quinoa sweet potato kale salad tossed with an easy orange olive oil dressing

If you tried this Warm Quinoa Sweet Potato & Kale Salad recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

A healthy, delicious and comforting quinoa salad with sweet potato, kale and pomegranate. A winter favorite! Vegan and naturally gluten free | Find the recipe on NotEnoughCinnamon.com
4.84 from 6 votes

Warm Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Kale Salad

Looking for a comforting, healthy lunch - packed full of plant-based protein and vitamins? Try this vegetarian Warm Quinoa, Sweet Potato & Kale Salad tossed with a refreshing orange vinaigrette. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword clean eating, healthy office lunches, healthy salad recipes, kale salad, meal prep recipes, orange vinaigrette, pomegrante arils, quinoa salad, sweet potato salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 386 kcal


  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium/large sweet potato peeled, chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3 packed cups kale stems removed, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa or 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water (only if you're using uncooked quinoa)
  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 1 cup fresh pomegranate arils


  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice from about 1-2 oranges
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • sea salt


  1. If you don't have cooked quinoa, start with that. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water for at least 2 minutes. Drain. Rinsing quinoa before cooking will remove its natural bitter or soapy taste. 

  2. Transfer to a saucepan, cover with stock, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes on the lowest setting. Turn off the heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside. (This will make a little bit more cooked quinoa than what you will need for the salad).

  3. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Add sweet potatoes and paprika. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Stir to cover the sweet potatoes with the spice. 

  4. Cook on medium heat until brown on the outside and soft on the inside, about 10 minutes. When they are almost ready, stir in maple syrup and finish cooking.

  5. Add kale and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add 3 cups of cooked quinoa, stir and cook until warm.
  7. Turn off the heat and add onion and pomegranate.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice and olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Drizzle over warm salad, toss and serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

If making this salad ahead, add the dressing at the last minute. Quinoa will soak up all the moisture.

Nutrition Facts
Warm Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Kale Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 /4th)
Calories 386 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 39mg2%
Potassium 828mg24%
Carbohydrates 64g21%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 9160IU183%
Vitamin C 64mg78%
Calcium 113mg11%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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posted in
All Seasons Recipes Clean Eating Dairy Free Fall Recipes Gluten free Main Dishes Quick & Easy Meals Recipes Salads Vegan Vegetarian Winter Recipes
  1. The best kale recipe so far! I saw it on Pinterest and had a sweet potato so why not try it. I am so glad I did. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Hi Kim! Pomegranate arils are difficult to substitute because they have such a distinctive taste and texture. I think the closest thing that would work in this recipe would be dried cranberries, but again it won’t be quite the same. Hope this helps 🙂

  2. I made this for myself and loved it. Because I didn’t have quite all the ingredients, I added brussel spouts to fill in for not enough kale. I am not a fan of pomegranate so I did sub with dried cranberries and that did the trick. Since I was using for a main dish I added chicken and also some pecans. I know its not the pure form of the recipe, but thanks for getting me started….Yummo!

  3. I just made this for dinner and LOVED it. I added a dash of cayenne for that spicy-sweet combo and left out the OJ, also adding in glazed pecans. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  4. I wonder if this recipe can be made more quickly using the trader joe microwaveable quinoa- I think each bag has 3 cups and cooks in 3 minutes(?) It just looks so healthy and yummy. And I love the idea of maybe adding chicken for a main dish or serving with a little chicken on the side. The orange dressing sounds incredible

    1. Oh definitely! Simply ignore step 1 and you’re good to go. Adding chicken is a great idea too! Hope you’ll enjoy this salad Barb 🙂

  5. This looks incredible! I don’t have quinoa but I’ve got a whole container full of couscous….do you think a substitution would work?

  6. This was a big hit with husband and the teen crowd in my house! I baked the sweet potato instead of frying (no oil in our house) and eliminated the maple syrup altogether (no sugar either if possible). One orange gave plenty of juice and left out the oil, salt & pepper. Still very delicious! Thanks for making it available!

    1. So glad to hear you all loved this recipe – and thanks for sharing your ajustements, I’m sure it will be helpful to other people 🙂

  7. Just want to let you know I have tried this recipe more than a few times and always a hit with my family. Love the clean eating!

    Thank you

  8. Not only does this salad sound delicious, but it also looks pretty with all those contrasting colors! Serving the quinoa warm makes this even more comforting!

  9. This salad was delicious and beautiful. I added beets for color and flavor and smoked paprika since I was out of sweet paprika. We loved it. A new staple in our home.

  10. I’m wondering what step 2 means when it says “cover with stock” when there’s no stock called for in the ingredients above?

    1. It’s only if you don’t already have cooked quinoa on hands. If you need to start with that, cover the quinoa with either stock or water. I updated the recipe that make that step clearer. Hope that helps!

  11. Delicious! I pre-made this to take as my lunch to work. The only problem was that the recipe says to serve it warm, right away. So I wasn’t sure about reheating it in the microwave later. But I gave it a try and loved it! I just wanted it luke-warm so I microwaved it for about 45 seconds and it turned out great. I also added the entire red onion – 1/4 of a cup doesn’t seem like enough. And my grocery store didn’t have pomegranate seeds, so I replaced it with fresh blueberries. You could also do dried cranberries. Overall, super delicious lunch or side-dish!

    1. Thanks for your comment – it’s great to know it works well with fresh blueberries as well! Glad you enjoyed this recipe 🙂 This salad tastes good cold too, for next time 😉

  12. I love a recipe that allows me to be flexible and use the ingredients I have on hand. I only had 2 cups of quinoa, but proportionately, that was fine for us. We actually would’ve preferred even a little more sweet potato! I cooked the sweet potato (with smoked paprika and a dash of cayenne pepper) in my air fryer to minimize the amount of oil, then added some leftover sliced yellow onion towards the end of the cooking time for extra flavor. I still added some uncooked diced red onions along with the pomegranate arils at the end for crunch. Speaking of crunch, I used other’s suggestions and also added some nuts (I had walnuts). I didn’t happen to have orange juice either, but I did have a small amount of orange marmalade and a lemon that needed to be used up, so Voilà…OJ that worked perfectly fine in this recipe! Since I used marmalade that already added sweetness, I added only a dash of maple syrup since I still think that flavor pairs well with sweet potato. Thank you…this is definitely going on my Food Favorites board!

    1. Hi Sheri! Oh, reading your comment just made my mouth water! Thanks so much for sharing your version and tips!

  13. So yummy!
    I always cooked quinoa with beans but since I grow pomagrate and have kale in the fridge so I decided to give this a try.
    It’s so delicious, light and packed with flavors!!
    Thank you for sharing the recipe!

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