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There are so many delicious ways of whipping of a salad without any leafy greens, and this quinoa avocado salad is a perfect example. Made with simple pantry items, it’s easy to throw together and perfect as a main dish or side salad. For a similar idea, try this quinoa salad stuffed in avocado bowls!
Quinoa is packed with protein so it makes this grain salad very hearty, healthy and filling. If you haven’t thrown quinoa in a salad before, get tossin!
Ingredients to make quinoa avocado salad
You’ll need one cup of quinoa, the most beautiful large avocados you can find (I share tips in this article for how to pick avocado), cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and cilantro. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, I definitely recommend substituting another herb like parsley, dill or mint. It just takes this light and fresh salad to another level of light and freshness. Thank you herbs.
The dressing is a mix of olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, dijon mustard and garlic, It’s tangy, smooth and balances out the creamy avocados really well.
I bet you already have most of these ingredients in your fridge or as part of your weekly grocery haul.
How to make quinoa avocado salad
Start by toasting the quinoa. To do this, I recommend not rinsing or soaking the quinoa. Just place it dry in a heated pan on medium heat and stir frequently. You don’t need salt, oil, or water. Just the quinoa and some heat. Within a few minutes, you’ll start to hear the popping sound and the sweet nutty aroma of the toasted quinoa.
That’s when you know it’s time to add the water, cover and cook it. When it’s done cooking, make sure to fluff it with a fork so it’s not clumpy in the salad.
Next, you’ll make the dressing by whisking together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Because there’s garlic in there and I love smooth dressings, I’ll often use my mini blender/food processor to get the dressing smooth and emulsified. You don’t need to do that though. You can press the garlic and mince it, or even use garlic powder.
Next, you’ll assemble the quinoa avocado salad. Start with the quinoa as the base. Then add the other ingredients.
Pour the dressing, and give it a nice gentle toss. It’s ready!
How fabulous is my cherry tomatoes matching nail color though?! Hahaha. But seriously that’s all it takes to whip up this protein-packed salad!
Tips for making quinoa avocado salad
- Chop the vegetables finely. Because the quinoa looks like a fine grain, I love chopping the vegetables pretty small so that every bite has a little bit of all the vegetables and enough quinoa. It’s no fun grabbing a bite from this quinoa avocado salad and just getting a large tomato. To make it easier for chopping, I use cherry tomatoes and just halve them. I also use the small persian cucumbers so it’s less chopping.
- Don’t skimp on the ingredients. Because there are so few ingredients in the salad, be sure to use the best quality produce you can find (especially those avocados!). And it’s important that you use extra virgin olive oil because that’s the base for the dressing that really pulls it all together.
- Add the avocado and mix before serving. Like all salads, it’s best to toss the dressing right before you serve the salad. In this case, the salad will hold up well if tossed in advance, but it’s best to add the avocado fresh right before serving for no browning situations.
- Chill before serving. Because the quinoa has been cooked, it’s best to let it get to room temperature before mixing with the vegetables. Then, I recommend chilling it in the fridge for at least half an hour before tossing and serving.
This is one of those feel good recipes that is filled with protein from the quinoa, healthy fats from the avocados and olive oil, and a ton of vitamins from the tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions. You can serve it on its own as a side salad or lunch salad. Or you can even pair it with shrimp, salmon or chicken for a more filling dinner portion salad. However you eat it, I think you’re really going to enjoy this superfood salad!
For more quinoa recipes, check out:
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Quinoa Avocado Salad recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Quinoa Avocado Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1 large cucumber diced
- ¼ cup red onion finely chopped
- 2 large ripe avocados chopped
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Place the quinoa in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Toast without oil or salt for 5-7 minutes until the seeds start to pop and become aromatic. Add 2 cups of water to the quinoa and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low. Cover and simmer the quinoa for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep covered for an additional 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt.
- To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, Dijon mustard, garlic and salt.
- When the quinoa is cool, place it in a bowl and add all the ingredients for the salad on top. Pour the dressing on top and stir gently to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.