By Case D. Fischer
It’s avocado season – one of my favorite times of the year. Even though we are lucky enough to buy this delicious fruit year-round, we all know that the best time to buy any type of produce is when it is actually, truly in season. There are so many ways to use an avocado, I am sure each of you have a favorite application. One restaurant that we frequent when in College Station offers a delicious grilled avocado filled with chimichurri sauce on top of a bed of sweet corn salsa – it is amazing. Before you get too excited though, that is NOT the recipe I am sharing with you today, sorry. I need to practice my avocado grilling before I feel confident talking about that. What I do want to share is a wonderful, easy to prepare salad that is full of delicious, healthy ingredients. This is a recipe that I know will be approved of in healthy eating circles, and it also has enough good, creamy fat it in to make it appealing to the rest of us. It can be ready in less than half an hour and can be customized to your liking by changing up the ingredients. I’m talking about a Tart & Tangy Quinoa & Avocado Salad.
First, assemble all your ingredients. If you are cooking quinoa from scratch, go ahead and get that started. I like to use the bagged quinoa that you can just microwave – it works great. I also like protein in my salads. I usually use chicken, but you can literally use anything you have like steak, salmon or fish, even deli meats. Most of the rich creaminess comes from the avocadoes, but don’t forget to add black beans, corn, tomatoes and onion if you like. Some hard boiled egg would be delicious too – more creamy goodness. Toss all these ingredients together and squeeze fresh lime juice over all of it – that’s the tangy part. Then toss all of that in with the lettuce of your choice.
Now for the final addition – dressing. I feel that this salad is healthy enough to carry a good ranch or creamy cheese dressing, but another great choice (and the tart part of the recipe) is a good Italian dressing or a vinaigrette. The combination of that tart dressing with the creamy, protein-rich ingredients hits a note for almost every single taste bud. And if someone in your family is opposed to “healthy” items, just pour a little extra ranch dressing on it – let’s face it, that makes everything good!
- 4 cups fresh romaine lettuce
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa + 2 cups water
- ½ cup black beans, drained
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- ¼ cup yellow corn
- ½ red onion, sliced
- 1 large avocado, sliced
- ½ lime, squeezed
- F&W Meyer Lemon & Fig Vinaigrette, Italian Dressing or Ranch Dressing to finish
1. If cooking quinoa from scratch, place quinoa into a mesh strainer and rinse under cool water. Add water to a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the drained quinoa and bring the water to a boil. Turn down the heat to low, cover pot with a fitted lid, and cook for 18-20 minutes.
2. Fluff up quinoa and set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl toss cooked quinoa, black beans, cherry tomatoes, yellow corn and red onions. Pour lime juice over the mixture and mix until well coated.
4. Place romaine lettuce on the base of the plate and top with quinoa mixture .
5. Add sliced avocado to top of the salad and serve with your favorite dressing.