When I made some variation of this salad for my sister several years ago, she liked it so much that she said “Salads are really your forte! you should open a salad bar!” Maybe some day I will. But for now, I’m sharing the recipe with you:) This quinoa salad with avocado is my favourite. This is often my lunch, very satisfying and really quick to assemble. I tried to keep the recipe really basic, just 5 ingredients, so that it can easily become one of YOUR own recipes. After you get hold of it, you can improvise and add other ingredients or make a more sophisticated dressing.
It is probably one of the tastiest AND healthiest salads you can come up with – nutritionally rich quinoa, fatty acids of avocado and olive oil, and plant fibre. Eating it will make you feel good, for sure.
To me salad is not about eating leafy greens, no no! It is about finding a perfect combination of fresh veggies (or fruits), greens and herbs, some good carbs, good fats, and sometimes even proteins. This way, a salad becomes a meal in itself. If you go for this kind, you will never again think of salad as boring or unsatisfying.
How to Cook Quinoa Salad with Avocado
Cooking quinoa is the toughest part of this recipe. If you do not know how to do it – simply place quinoa in a double amount of water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat to medium-low, and let it simmer until all water gets absorbed, and quinoa is cooked through, but still crumbly. This will take 15 to 20 minutes. It is important not to overcook it! When overcooked, quinoa tends to get sticky and becomes too bland.
While quinoa is cooking, cut veggies and greens. Peel and slice an avocado. Big chunks! I really love this salad in big chunks.
Mix cooked quinoa with the rest of ingredients, except for romaine leaves. Season with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice (if you’d like a tang). The reason why I add salad leaves in the very end is that they are most tender, and after a good mixing with all other ingredients, they start looking really tired. And nobody likes tired salad.
The key to this recipe (and many others) is – you will be surprised – a quality rich tasting olive oil. Harsh flavour of olive oil can kill the taste of your salad, and a weak one will make it too dull. So, if you are a salad lover or just trying to transition to a greener menu, do not buy just any olive oil. Find the one that really comforts your taste buds (that’s the feeling a good olive oil gives me). My personal favourite which I recommend for you to try is an unfiltered olive oil. It contains some residue of olive pieces, and is less clear than a filtered one, but to me – definitely more flavourful. Keep in mind that it usually has a shorter product life.
I used baby romaine when shooting this recipe simply because I find it more aesthetically pleasing, and have been buying it lately. Feel free to use standard romaine, or even substitute with other greens you have in the fridge – spinach or lettuce work well too.
You can also replace chives with spring onions or chopped red onion. However, chives possess a milder onion taste that does not stand out too much.
This quinoa salad with avocado goes really well with a piece of chicken, smoked salmon or other type of fish. When I don’t have much time, I pair it with canned sardines or mackerel. This way, it literally takes me minutes to prepare a weekday lunch, especially if I have pre-cooked quinoa in the fridge. I hope you enjoy this salad just as much as I do. Good luck in your kitchen endeavours!
PS: give me a high-five in the comments section, and let me know if you liked this recipe!
Basic Quinoa Salad with Avocado
- 1/2 cup / 90 grams uncooked quinoa ( or use 1 cup cooked quinoa)
- 250 grams / 8 ounces cherry tomatoes (red + yellow looks merrier)
- 110 grams / 4 ounces/ 1 1/2 cup romaine salad leaves (sub with spinach/lettuce/red leaf lettuce)
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/4 cup / 30 grams chives, cut in 2 cm (1/2 inch) pieces
- 3 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook quinoa: place quinoa in a sauce pan, add 1 cup of water, add salt to taste, bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and cook without a lid, until all water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked through (15 to 20 minutes). If the water evaporates too quickly and quinoa gets dry at the top, add a little bit more water and mix quinoa with a fork.
- While quinoa is cooking, cut tomatoes in half, cut or tear salad leaves, chop the chives. Peel and slice an avocado.
- Place cooked quinoa (it will increase in volume to about 1 cup) in a salad bowl, add tomatoes, avocado and chives. Season with olive oil and lemon juice (optionally), salt and pepper to taste, mix. Add salad leaves in the end and gently mix them into the salad. Enjoy!