• 1/2 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup chopped Pluots or strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of cherries or grapes
  • 1/2 bunch curly kale (about 4 to 5 cups), chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces with thick ribs removed
  • 1/3 cup feta, goat, or parmesan cheese, crumbled or shredded
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (I used unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (I used unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mandarin balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Greek yogurt (I used 0% fat, sour cream may be substituted)


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions, likely cooking with 1 cup water to the 1/2 cup dry quinoa. Transfer about half of the cooked quinoa to a very large bowl. I don’t use all the quinoa for the salad and save the rest for another use. I find it too difficult to cook less than 1/2 cup dry quinoa.
  2. Add the kale, berries, grapes, cherries, cheese, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and stir to combine; set aside.
  3. To a glass mason jar with a lid (or similar jar with a lid), add the orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, seal with lid, and shake vigorously to combine; about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the Greek yogurt and shake until creamy and incorporated, about 1 minute. Taste and check for seasoning balance, adding more salt, pepper, etc. as necessary.
  5. Add desired amount of dressing to salad, toss well to combine, and serve immediately. Extra dressing will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week; shake vigorously before using.
This homemade salad combines fresh berries, sweet juice and vinegar, and kale with cherries, crunchy sunflower seeds, and walnuts, while quinoa provides protein and heartiness, all complemented by the savory element of cheese for a delicious and balanced flavor reminiscent of a Whole Foods salad bar offering.