Kale Salad with Quinoa and Steak

This hearty kale salad with quinoa and steak is filling and delicious. In this recipe, I’ll teach you my easy method for making a beautifully seared steak without a grill, plus the secret to tender and tasty kale. So come, on! Let’s make a nutrient-dense salad you’ll want to keep eating all week.

white plate with a kale salad and slices steak and large glass bowl with mixed salad and tongs in the background

Reasons to Love This Recipe

This recipe is awesome because it’s a salad that will actually fill you up. (i.e. you won’t be hungry 30 minutes later.) It has fiber from whole grain quinoa and kale, plus a ton of protein from quinoa (again) and lean steak.

The flavor in this salad will satisfy your tastebuds too. Creamy goat cheese, crunchy pepitas, and a zingy lemon dijon dressing make each bite exciting.

Plus, this recipe has an extra nutrition benefit – it’s packed with iron. More on that in a sec…

Nutrition Tidbits

This recipe is the perfect iron-rich recipe! Beef is packed with heme iron – the easiest form for our bodies to use – while kale and quinoa are great sources of non-heme iron – has to go through a few more steps to be useable for our bodies, but it’s still important.

Iron is absorbed better by our bodies when it is eaten with vitamin C. Lemon juice in this recipe not only adds flavor, it also contributes vitamin C for an extra nutritional boost!

Proper iron levels help your red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. Iron also helps with hormone production and healthy growth. If you struggle with low iron levels, anemia, or if you’re on your period and feeling a little low, this recipe can be a huge help.

How much iron do I need?

  • Men: 8 mg per day
  • Women 51+ years old: 8 mg per day
  • Women 19-50 years old: 18 mg per day (27 mg in pregnancy, 9 mg when lactating)

This recipe provides almost all of your daily iron needs if you’re male or a woman 51 or older!

large bowl with kale, goat cheese, pipits, sliced steak, and quinoa

Preparation Tips

Make Steak Without a Grill

You don’t have to be a grillmaster to make a great steak! (I know I’m not.)

The secret to a great steak is the perfect sear, and a cast iron pan can help you achieve that when cooking a steak inside.

First, take your steaks out, rub them with avocado oil (I use it because of its high smoke point) and season. Let them come to room temperature while you heat up your pan.

Put your cast iron pan in the oven, then heat the oven to 500°F. When your oven says it’s preheated, your pan is ready to go! Use oven mitts (that pan will be HOT) to take the pan out of the oven, then move it to your stovetop and turn the burner all the way up. A hot pan will give you that sear you’re looking for.

Cook the steak for 30 seconds per side, give it a quarter turn (for grillmarks) and pop it back in the oven. After 2 minutes, flip it, then cook for another 2 minutes for a medium-rare steak. Add 1 minute for medium or 1 minute and 30 seconds for medium-well.

Let the steak rest on a cutting board for at least 2 minutes, tented with foil. Slice against the grain and enjoy!

preparation steps for steak and kale salad, including dressing kale, seasoning steak, and making dressing

How to Make Kale Taste Good

Kale does not have to be yucky or bitter. With a little love, it can be delicious.

All it takes is a massage! (Yep.)

After you wash and chop your kale, add some olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to it. Then, give your kale a massage. Don’t be afraid to be really rough with it! This helps break down the fibers in the kale to make it less tough and bitter.

white plate with a kale salad and sliced steak

Recipe Modifications

  • Make your steak a different way – No cast iron skillet? Not feeling like using the stovetop method? That’s okay! You can make your steak however you’d like. Grilled, broiled, baked, it’s all good!
  • Use a different protein – This recipe would be yummy with grilled chicken or salmon! You would just need to modify your cooking time/method accordingly.
  • Vegetarian version – A plant-based protein like marinated tofu or roasted chickpeas would also work.
  • Dairy-free version – Use dairy-free cheese crumbles or substitute in sliced avocado.
  • Try a different dressing – This recipe would work well with just about any tangy vinaigrette. Try a storebought lemon vinaigrette, my lemony hummus dressing, or a balsamic vinaigrette.
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Kale Salad with Quinoa and Steak

This hearty kale salad is filling and delicious. With plenty of protein from steak and quinoa, and added flavor from goat cheese and pepitas, this salad is sure to satisfy.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Resting time2 minutes
Total Time22 minutes
Course: Lunch, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dinner salad, entree salad, hearty salad
Servings: 4
Calories: 643kcal
Author: Chelsea Jackle, RDN


  • cast-iron pan
  • oven mitt
  • jar or small container for dressing
  • large bowl



  • 1 lb steak (thin filet, about ½ in thick)
  • ½ tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper


  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium lemon juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (1/3 cup dry)
  • 12 cups kale
  • ½ medium lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • ¼ cup pepitas


  • If you haven't cooked your quinoa yet, cook it according to package instructions, then let it cool.

For the Steak

  • Place a cast-iron pan in the oven and heat the oven to 500°F. Rub each filet with avocado oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Once the oven is preheated to 500°F, use an oven mitt to remove it from the oven and place it on the stovetop. Turn the burner to high heat. Sear the filets for 30 seconds on one side, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Give the filet a quarter-turn (not a flip), then use an oven mitt to move the pan to the oven. Cook for 2 minutes, flip, then cook for another 2 minutes for a medium-rare steak. (For medium, add a total of 1 minute to the cooking time. For medium-well, add 1 minute 30 seconds to the cooking time.) Move the steak to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let it rest while you prepare the salad.

For the Dressing

  • In a jar, add the honey, dijon mustard, olive oil, and lemon juice. Shake vigorously until incorporated. Taste, then season as desired with salt and pepper.

For the Salad

  • Cut the kale into bite-sized pieces and wash it thoroughly. Place it in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Massage the kale (be rough with it!) to tenderize it. Set aside.
  • Slice steak into strips and add it to the kale. Add goat cheese, pepitas, and cooled quinoa. Add dressing to taste and mix until incorporated. Enjoy!


  • The steak can be made however you like! Grilling or baking work just fine if you’d prefer not to use a cast iron pan.
  • Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used. 


Calories: 643kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 859mg | Potassium: 1485mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 20263IU | Vitamin C: 263mg | Calcium: 357mg | Iron: 7mg

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