Inspired by Panera Bread, this Modern Greek Kale Salad is healthy and delicious! Fresh and nutritious kale with romaine are the bed for diced cucumber, kalamata olives, sliced cooked chicken, crumbled feta, toasted almonds and a tomato quinoa sofrito that adds a modern twist and nutritious boost to this salad. Serves 4 in about an hour and is great for meal prep!
A little over a week ago, Malloree finally got her braces. After two years with either an expander or a retainer to hold the expansion, and losing about 8 or 9 teeth along the way, we went in to the appointment hoping for the go ahead and that we would finally be able to make an appointment. I’ve never witness anyone more eager to get her braces on in my life. Long story, short she left that morning check up with a shiny silver grill.
Just when I though she couldn’t be any cuter, she gets braces. So CUTE.
I’ll spare you the details that in the wake of me being excited for Mal getting braces, I slipped on a patch of black ice in the parking lot, landing quick and hard bruising just about the entire left side of my body. My hip taking the brunt, I was emotionally bruised as well (read: embarrassed).
After dropping Mal (and her grill😬) off at school, I had some errands to run and I WAS STARVING. So I stopped by Panera because a) they have a drive through and b) I’m always game for a soup and salad combo. Since my favorite soup and salad is seasonal and temporarily off the menu, I was forced to try something new and so I ordered the first thing I saw on the menu, their modern greek salad, adding chicken to it along with a bowl of tomato soup.
The next day, I made my own version of their modern greek kale salad because I loved it so much and had it again just yesterday when I took Haileigh and Malloree shopping and to lunch.
To Make this Modern Greek Kale Salad You Will Need:
- kale (any kind)
- toasted almonds
- kalamata olives
- Greek dressing
- grilled chicken
- tomato sofrito
In advance I cooked up a few chicken breasts to add to the salad. I just sprinkled them with salt and lemon pepper and cooked them in a skillet until golden and cooked through.
Chop up a large tomato and sauté it with 3/4 cup diced yellow onion in olive oil and once tender I stirred in a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste, but I will include all those instructions in the printable at the end of the post.
I recommend rinsing your quinoa in a mesh strainer, vigorously shaking it while rinsing under cool water before you cook it. I explain it all here. Then add it into a sauce pan along with the sautéed tomatoes and onions, pour in 1 cup of water or broth and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Leaving the pan on the burner, cover and turn the heat off.
Let it stand for 20 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing it with a fork. This tomato sofrito can be added to the salad warm or cold, you choose.
Strip the leaves off the stems Chop, wash and rinse the kale. Then massage the leaves with a little olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt to tenderize. Toss with the chopped (washed and dried) romaine before arranging onto salad plates or bowls.
Top with the tomato quinoa sofrito, sliced chicken, kalamata olives, cucumber, feta, toasted almonds and drizzle with Greek dressing.
I love the modern twists on this salad, adding the kale, the toasted almonds and the sofrito really make it.
To mine I add extra feta and olives because I’m a fuh-reak and love them obsessively.
And of course this modern greek kale salad would not be complete unless it was drizzled in my one and only favorite greek salad dressing.
This made for a deliciously light and healthy lunch that kept feel full all afternoon.
Modern Greek Kale Salad
FOR THE TOMATO QUINOA SOFRITO:
- 1 teaspoon extra light olive oil
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 3/4 cup diced yellow onion
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1 rounded tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
FOR THE CHICKEN:
- 4 chicken breast halves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed, chopped, rinsed and dried
- 1 medium heads romaine lettuce, chopped, rinsed and dried
- 1/2 English cucumber, diced
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds*
- 1 recipe Greek dressing, more or less to preference
- In a skillet, heat about 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-low heat. Add the tomatoes, onion and a pinch of kosher salt. Sautéing until tender, about 5 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste.
- In a sauce pan, add the rinsed quinoa and tomato onion mixture. Pour in 1 cup of water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Then cover, leaving the pan on the burner, turning off the heat. Let the quinoa sit for 20 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork.
- Combined this should take around 35 minutes.
FOR THE CHICKEN:
- While the quinoa cooks/sits I like to make the chicken.
- Season both sides of a few chicken breast halves with salt and lemon pepper. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the chicken for about 4 to 6 minutes a side, or until fully cooked. Transfer to a cutting board to rest before slicing.
FOR THE SALAD:
- In a large bowl, massage a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt into the kale leaves. Add in the romaine and toss to combine. Divide among salad plates or bowls and top with the tomato quinoa sofrito, diced cucumber, olives, feta, sliced chicken and toasted almonds. Drizzle with greek dressing before serving.
- *To toast the almond slices, just add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sliced almonds into a small, dry skillet and toast on medium-low until golden and fragrant.
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