This salad was based on a recipe by Katie Lee featured on the FoodTV show The Kitchen. It was originally made with green grapes, avocados, cucumbers, and a lime dressing. Obviously, the idea was to have a sort of monochromatic green salad with bright and sharp flavors. I changed things around by using red grapes instead. Red grapes are quite a bit sweeter, and added a contrast of color I found particularly pleasing. But, let me tell you, no matter what you decide to add to your quinoa salad, please try the cooking method I describe after the recipe. It is nothing short of life-changing. Yeah, you read me correctly. Life-changing. For better.
QUINOA SALAD WITH RED GRAPES AND AVOCADO
(adapted from Food TV Network)
(as written, it makes a lot of salad, I more or less halved this recipe, eyeballing most ingredients. I kept the amount of dressing unchanged)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
2 cups green grapes, halved
1 1/2 cups diced cucumbers
fresh parsley, roughly chopped (or fresh cilantro)
1 avocado, diced
In a large bowl, whisk together lime zest, lime juice and olive oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Toss the quinoa, grapes, cucumbers, parsley, and avocados together with the dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
to print the recipe, click here
Now, take a moment to look at the beauty of this perfectly cooked quinoa.
It is really too bad you cannot taste it through the screen, because the texture turned out sublime. The secret? Cooking the seeds in less water than most recipes recommend, and simmering them for only 6 minutes. I cannot take credit for it, so here is the link to Elaine’s blog, where I found it.
And here is what I did…
For each cup of quinoa, add 1 + 1/3 cup lightly salted water
Bring to a boil in a saucepan…
Reduce heat, simmer for exactly 6 minutes. That is 360 seconds. Do not open the pan. DO NOT. (I will slap your hand if you try to open it… )
Turn the heat off. Wait 20 minutes with the pan covered. DO NOT PEEK. DO NOT.
Open the pan (finally!), be mesmerized, amazed, awed by the beauty of the perfectly cooked quinoa, fluff the seeds gently with a fork and use them in any preparation you like.
For the salad, I simply allowed the cooked quinoa to cool to room temperature, and added all the ingredients plus the simple dressing. The salad keeps well in the fridge for several days and is a great option for a light lunch, if you so desire. Another tip I’d like to share with you: make sure the avocado has a firm texture and only add the pieces when you are about to serve the quinoa. I did not care for the mushy texture of overly ripe avocados I used the first time I made this dish. On my second time around, I also added sliced celery. Turned out delicious, very refreshing. But, you know by now how much we love our celery…
Elaine, thanks so much for sharing your method for perfectly cooked quinoa!
I won’t be cooking it any other way from now on…
My life is changed. For better.
ONE YEAR AGO: Strawberry Coffee Cake
TWO YEARS AGO: Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins
THREE YEARS AGO: Mascarpone Brownies
FOUR YEARS AGO: Salmon Tacos
FIVE YEARS AGO: Cinnamon Turban Bread
SIX YEARS AGO: Summertime Gratin