5 Ingredients-or-Less Series Recipe #1: Kale and Quinoa


So an interesting thing happened over the last “Pow Wow” phone sessions with my client. She actually challenged me to create, or recommend recipes that uses 5 ingredients are less.

My client challenging me? Awesome!

But it’s really a nice way for her to say, “Kim the recipes on your website suck. They’re too long and complicated.”

I can read in between the line, ya know. 😉

But hey, I appreciate her honesty and feedback. I created my website with her and YOU in mind.

And if I don’t get feedback, I would never be able to figure out what I can do to improve and actually help you!

So I decided to dedicate a section of my website to the “5-ingredient or Less”series.

The 5-Ingredients or Less is for you, if:

  1. You don’t have time to cook today. (or any day)
  2. You want to make nutrient-dense foods for yourself or family.
  3. You recently started learning to cook.
  4. You want to live a healthier lifestyle and McDonald’s 20 piece chicken nugget meals are not on the meal plan anymore. Besides they are yucky.
  5. You’ve been buying frozen food at Trader Joe’s and want to cut back on the cost.
  6. Recipes with long list of ingredients are more annoying than your neighbor’s cat.
  7. You don’t want to be a slave in the kitchen.
  8. You want something quick and delicious



And you’re in luck because I will make it my personal goal to share these type of recipes once a week on either Saturday or Sunday afternoons. I figured most of you probably do your grocery shopping and meal prepping on the weekends.

And if you’re not meal prepping, what the heck are you doing?!

So here’s a simple, but highly nutritious recipe that was inspired by Costco and brother-in-law.

I visited my brother-in-law and his 6-month old twins this weekend. He gave me a giant bag of frozen kale and spinach from Costco. With twins, his wife being a radiologist, they hardly have time or energy to cook.

My first reaction would be, “C’mon that’s no excuse.” But after 4 hours of babysitting the twins, holy spitballs…I didn’t have the energy to even take a shower after putting them to sleep!

So I get it.

And I admire their efforts to eat healthy and wanting to have some convenient bags of frozen food available.

On some nights I’d rather be watching Walking Dead or soaking in an Epsom bath than cooking dinner too.

This recipe is perfect to have around, just for those type of nights.




Now this recipe may be simple but it’s just genius! It really is a lifesaver for several reasons.

  1. It’s super healthy, combining two super foods in one. Kale is very nutrient-dense and by cooking it down, or massaging it (like in this salad) it miraculous becomes sweeter, more tender and delicious. Quinoa is technically a seed, so for those who are cutting back on eating grains, it’s the perfect substitution. It’s perfect because of all the nutrients including protein, fiber, vitamins and mineral. It acts like a rice, and can be eaten like rice. 
  2. Perfect way to add more leafy greens to your meals without thinking about it too much.
  3. Convenience. Just add another protein of choice like tempeh, lentils, pastured eggs, or if you prefer meat, organic chicken. Done! You have a complete meal.
  4. You can also cook a large batch and use is as part of your meal plan for the week. Just rotate  other protein and vegetables in. For example, quinoa and curry…quinoa and soup….quinoa and baked sweet potatoes. You can also store them in zip lock bags and keep them in your freezer for emergencies.
  5. It’s much, much cheaper. I did the calculations. Check it out.
  • 3 cups of quinoa from Costco ($2)
  • 1 bunch of organic kale ($1-2, depending where you get them)

**This recipe makes about 6 pouches from Costco. Total= $3-4

  • The bag of frozen organic kale and quinoa from Costco costs $12 for 6 pouches. Each pouch is enough for 2 people. So it’s about a savings of $8-$9 per bag. 


How to Copy Costco’s Kale and Quinoa
Recipe Type: 5 Ingredients-or-Less
Author: Lettuce Be Healthy w/ Kim Lam
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
  • 1 bunch or organic kale
  • 3 cups quinoa (red or brown)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 5 1/4 cups water
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  1. Soak quinoa for a few hours to release enzyme inhibitors.
  2. Rinse really well.
  3. Add quinoa to 5 1/4 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  4. Once it starts to boil, lower heat, put a lid on it. Let simmer for 10 minutes or until quinoa is cooked.
  5. Meanwhile, wash and chop kale. Cut it really small.
  6. Add minced garlic to a tablespoon of coconut oil. Saute garlic, and add the kale.
  7. Saute kale until it’s cooked and wilted.
  8. Add quinoa in the pan, dash of Himalayan salt and stir.
  9. After it cools, transfer to tupperware and store in refrigerator or freezer.
  10. **Note that to avoid the quinoa being to mushy, start off with less amount of water than the directions on the package (usually 2:1 ratio water to quinoa). You can always add more water if needed.