Gourmet Salad with All-Flavour Dressing

If you are like me, a foodie, you probably thought at least once that salad could never be a main dish. You are wrong! Ever since I discovered this very filling salad, I have the joy of making it every so often. 

By the way, in the Indian ancient medicine called Ayurveda, they talk about holistic approach of eating a balanced meal and one is utilizing all 5 tastes. The 5 tastes are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent (pungent might not be a familiar term, but it basically means spicy). When those 5 tastes are present in a dish, it naturally tastes delicious.

One of the easiest ways you can incorporate this practice is to make a dressing. I never buy a dressing because it's so easy to make it at home and no weird ingredients this way. In the ingredients list for the dressing below, I outlined what taste each ingredient can bring to the dressing. I didn't use any pungent taste this time, but if you use chili oil, chili flakes, or gochujang, for example, you have all 5 tastes. So easy!

Serving: 4  Prep time: 1 hour


1 bunch Kale 

1 cup Quinoa*

1/2 canned Chickpeas

3 mini Sweet peppers 

1/4 Long English cucumber 

2 stalks Celeries

1/2 pack Smoked Tofu or Miso-grilled salmon**

Topping - pumpkin seeds, toasted pecans, pine nuts


Olive oil

Miso-grilled Salmon

1 fillet Salmon

1 Tbsp Ginger Miso


1 Tbsp Tomato Koji (or Shio Koji, white Miso) - Salty

1 Tbsp Kimchi juice (or lemon juice) - Sour

1 tsp Olive oil (or avocado oil) - Bitter

1 tsp Yuzu jam (or any citrus jam)*** - Sweet

1 tsp Maple syrup - Sweet

1 tsp Balsamic vinegar (or apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar) - Sour, Sweet


  1. Preheat the oven at 350 F degree.
  2. Boil water and cook quinoa. Let it cool.
  3. Massage kale with a pinch of salt and olive oil until the color gets darker. It takes a few minutes. 
  4. Toast pecans in the oven for 10 minutes. If you are using salmon, bake it here together.
  5. Chop / slice all the vegetables and combine with kale, chickpeas, and quinoa. If canned chickpeas are on the hard side, you can add them to the pot of cooking quinoa toward the end. 
  6. Combine all the ingredients for dressing and set aside.
  7. On your plate, assemble the mixed vegetables and place your choice of protein on top. Put all the toppings and drizzle the dressing.

I like using tri-color quinoa as it's more flavourful and nutritious.

** For salmon, marinate it with Ginger Miso for a few hours in the fridge before baking it. You can also steam or pan-fry it if you prefer.

*** You can substitute more maple syrup for jam.

Gourmet Salad

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