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Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Dried Fruit, Toasted Almonds, and Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette


Serves 4.

Yields 5 cups.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 103

Besides its attractive maroon color, red quinoa has a slightly deeper, nuttier flavor than white quinoa. Both, however, are excellent in this bright, lemony salad.

  • 3 Tbs. raisins (preferably a mix of dark and golden)
  • 2 Tbs. dried apricots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed well
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large lemon
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 medium firm-ripe avocados (6 to 7 oz. each), pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 medium scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped toasted almonds
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, soak the raisins and apricots in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 2 cups water, the quinoa, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (The outer germ rings of the grain will remain chewy and white. Some germ rings may separate from the grain and will look like white squiggles.) Immediately fluff the quinoa with a fork and turn it out onto a baking sheet to cool to room temperature.

Finely grate the zest from the lemon and then squeeze 1 Tbs. juice. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with the olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika, and 1/4 tsp. salt. In a large bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the quinoa, raisins, apricots, avocado, scallions, and almonds. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 460, Fat (kcal): 29, Fat Calories (g): 260, Saturated Fat (g): 4, Protein (g): 9, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 19, Carbohydrates (mg): 46, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 4.5, Sodium (g): 220, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 11,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Loved it!

I have made this several times and love it. The vinaigrette is great but I don't agree that more is needed. The nutty quinoa needs to shine. Also, I serve the salad on sliced avocado, instead of folding it in. Leftovers are much more appealing that way. More nuts and fruit are always welcome but not necessary. Scrumptious!

Wonderful salad! This might be my favorite quinoa salad. I've made it several times. The dressing is so good...I would definitely recommend doubling the dressing so you have some flexibility, and any extra dressing can be used on another salad.

Excellent! Thanks to user comments, I doubled the vinaigrette, which was needed, Pretty sure I overcooked the quinoa a bit....I will reduce the water ratio next time.

I love this salad! It has a great combination of flavors and textures. Doesn't hurt to add extra fruit/nuts and dressing if you like, but the recipe is still fantastic as written.

Really great salad...even my picky eaters enjoyed this

This was fantastic! I toasted the quinoa and used mango instead of apricots and this was just delicious.

This is a delicious recipe. Agree with other reviewer that more vinaigrette would be better. Also doubled the dried fruits - apricots, cranberries and Montmorency cherries. Used roasted sunflower seeds because I didn't want to take the time to roast almonds. I also found that cooking the quinoa in the rice cooker is really easy. And, since I was going to eat it over a few days - added the avocado just before eating.

I wish I had read the reviews before I made the salad. It definitely needs more fruit and dressing. Next time, I'll probably use pine nuts instead. We really like the flavor - it just needs more of it.

This is a perfect combination for a summer meal. Similar to other reviewers, I also added more fruit including dried cranberries. The dressing is just barely enough for the one cup of quinoa called for by the recipe. It works but don't use extra quinoa. The other good thing about this recipe is that it comes together quickly and does not require a lot of prep work. Excellent all around!

Oh my, this salad is perfection! It is now officially my favorite quinoa recipe. The harmony of flavors and textures is to die for!

I really enjoyed this recipe. I used Avocado, Edamame and Goldenberries in my version. This is a great way to have quinoa!

We LOVE this salad. I used chopped dates instead of raisins and did not soak the dates or apricots as we prefer a chewier texture. We found there was not enough dressing, even when putting it on at the last minute, so I double or triple the quantity. We put the almonds on just before serving so they stayed crunchy. The avocado survived quite well for leftovers the next day.

Fantastic! I omit the dried fruits because I don't care for them. Without them, this makes a wonderful, zesty quinoa salad. I can't get enough of it.

Delicious, however I prefer to substitute dried cranberries for raisins. I made it a lot of times already.

Incredibly easy to make. I had some leftover quinoa and this was the perfect way to enjoy it. I have to say it all of the flavors made for an incredible party of tastes and textures. Next time, I'll add more dried fruit and almonds and maybe a bit more lemon zest.

This is tasty and easy to make. I agree with a reviewer who suggested adding more fruit, nuts and scallions.

Love this and use the dressing for other quinoa based salads, too. For a guacamole version, substitute fresh mango for the dried fruit, cilantro for the parsley, and a little bit of jalepeno in the dressing. I agree with the other users about cooking the quinoa. I've had better luck with 1:1 water to quinoa ratio, and simmering for 8 minutes.

We enjoyed this recipe. I had no avocado but did have corn and black beans that needed to be used and they were a great addition. I may add a little more lemon juice next time I make it. A definite make again recipe.

Great recipe. Takes minutes and is sooooo delicious. More grain recipes please!

This salad is a huge hit every time I make it! And the leftovers are great for days!

SUCH a delicious recipe. I cannot get enough! Nutty, bright, healthy, satisfying. I've made it twice and find the amount of water called for to be a bit on the high side (doesn't absorb in 15 min) - cut it back a bit and you're golden. The rest of the recipe is quite perfect as written. Oh, and I'm nut-free so replaced the almonds with toasted sunflower seeds.

A nice salad, but I would recommend doubling, at least, the fruit, nuts and scallions.

Yumma! I did deviate away slightly as I cooked the quinoa in in chicken broth and added dried porcini mushrooms. I'd omitted the apricot as I didn't have any on hand. The avocado went on top of each serving rather than mixing it into the whole batch (I wasn't sure how well the avocado would survive as a left over.) This batch is too huge for just two people but we're looking forward to having it again this week. Great with fish and lemon ginger veg stir fry.

Incredibly delicious! We made this for a group dinner and everyone loved it. Awesome recipe.

Tasty! A very light dish, great for a spring or summer evening.

This was my first try at quinoa - and we loved it. The vinaigrette is to DIE FOR! I can see using it on many other salads, vegetables, etc. Will definitely do again.

Very tasty! I used mostly white quinoa, regular raisins instead of golden raisins, and substituted sunflower seeds for the almonds (nut allergy.) I also used the juice of the entire lemon.

It was really tasty. I made extra dressing.

Quick, easy and very tasty. The second time I made it I cut back on the olive oil a bit and added a bit more lemon juice because we like tangy dressings. Have also put cucumbers in it when my avocado just wasn't ripening fast enough which was really good too. A really nice side dish with salmon.

Delicious, easy and healthy. The dressing absorbs into the quinoa fast so I recommend dressing it at the last possible second and serving it with extra dressing on the side.

Everyone loved this salad, even those in the family who usually don't like avocado and don't like quinoa (or think they don't.)

This recipe was fantastic - very light and fresh. I made it with barley and clementines since I had them on hand but can't wait to try it with the quinoa and dried fruit. This salad will definitely be a summertime picnicking staple in our house.

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