This herby quinoa salad with avocado and chickpeas packs a flavor punch with cilantro, basil and mint shining through.
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We eat quite a bit of quinoa in our household.
It's one of the foods my very picky three year old will almost always eat plus it's healthy. Here are seven solid reasons quinoa is worth having in the pantry at all times. And my husband who mostly avoids pasta and grains will eat it too.
It tastes great hot off the stove, or cold mixed up as a salad. You can throw almost anything in quinoa - everything from avocado and black beans to avocado and mango. Want a mediterranean quinoa salad? Throw in some feta, kalamata olives and cucumbers with a simple vinaigrette - boom, done. Well you get the point, this grain is versatile. And I love it for that reason above all else. If you want to use up some ingredients it's great for that. I love to top quinoa salad with avocado as I always have it on hand and it goes with so many ingredients.
How to cook your quinoa:
Cooking quinoa is really simple. Much simpler than cooking rice in my opinion. I have finally found a method to cooking rice that comes out perfect every time. Quinoa isn't as high maintenance. Just follow these simple steps.
- Simply add your quinoa and cooking liquid with a 1 to 2 ratio into a saucepan. For example, if you have one cup of quinoa then you need 2 cups of water. Season with salt.
- Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn heat down to medium low and let simmer. Do not cover your quinoa. Every time I've done this it comes out mushy. And quinoa mush is no good!
- Stir occasionally to make sure all pieces of quinoa are absorbing liquid.
- Once all liquid is completely absorbed remove from heat and let cool.
Quinoa Salad with avocado? Yes, please.
My husband loves to garden. And I love to cook. Which means we have so much awesome produce I can't even keep up with it all. We have bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, cucumbers, yellow squash, strawberries, tomatoes and fresh herbs.
Last Christmas I bought him five different varieties of specialty tomatoes including these beautiful yellow cherry tomatoes you see in this picture. They taste even better than they look. If I'm being honest I've never been the type to pop cherry tomatoes in my mouth and eat them straight. But these guys converted me. I do it all the time now.
Many people don't realize there is a difference between cherry and grape tomatoes - especially since actual cherry tomatoes can be hard to find. Cherry tomatoes are rounder but more important than that the skins are thinner and the flesh is sweeter. Cherry tomatoes are the way to go for this salad if you can find them.
Anyways, I wanted to use up some of our garden loot for this recipe plus I love herb central recipes. This salad has an herby punch for sure.
How to make the herby dressing for this quinoa salad:
I measured all the herbs loosely packed into dry measuring cups. Then I basically threw everything into my immersion blender's measuring cup and whizzed it all together with my immersion blender. If you don't have one I highly recommend it. I use it for all my dressings and dips plus for soups.
If you don't have one a mini food processor would work as well. Just scrape the sides until all the herbs are finely pulsed and the mixture is emulsified.
Have neither? Well there's certainly nothing wrong with the ol' fashioned away. Mince up all your herbs, throw them in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and whisk until emulsified.
Some other variations for you:
If you would like to tone down the herbs and up your protein a little you can add fresh mozzarella to your salad. Simply buy the mini balls of mozzarella or tear apart a larger one and add to your salad to taste.
This quinoa salad would also work well with feta. Or if you love quinoa but aren't so in love with herbs like myself try out this Salmon Quinoa Bowl with Chipotle Mayo.
Hope you enjoy this salad as much as I did. Cheers.
Herby Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Chickpeas
- Immersion blender, small food processor or chef's knife and cutting board
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups water
- ½ t. kosher salt
- 2 T. loosely packed mint
- ¼ Cup loosely packed basil
- 2 T. loosely packed cilantro
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T. fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 t. honey (use maple syrup or agave for vegan)
- pinch kosher salt
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 avocado, sliced
- First start your quinoa, place 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups of water and ½ t. kosher salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn heat down to medium low and let simmer until all liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally to make sure all pieces are absorbing liquid. Do not cover.
- While quinoa is cooking place mint, basil, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, honey and a pinch of salt in a tall measuring up and whizz with your immersion blender until herbs are finely pulsed and mixture is emulsified.
- Once all the quinoa absorbs all the liquid, remove the pan from the heat and cover for 5 minutes.
- If you don't have an immersion blender use a mini food processor and scrape the sides until herbs are finely pulsed. You can also finely mince the herbs with a knife and simply whisk everything together instead.
- Add the quinoa to a medium sized bowl. Add your chickpeas and herby vinaigrette and stir. Refrigerate until cooled then add in your cherry tomatoes and top with avocado.
- Add a squeeze of lime and pinch of salt to avocado and enjoy.