Sunday, January 23, 2011

Amazing Quinoa Avocado Salad

I was at my friend's house the other day, and she wanted me to try a recipe that she came up with...and I fell in LOVE!  I couldn't stop thinking about it!  It was so fresh and hearty and light and flavorful all at the same time...and it reminded me of summertime in a bowl!  (We're smack dab in the middle of a Michigan winter, so anything reminiscent of summertime is greatly welcomed!)  Anyways, after asking her how she made it, and trying to get an idea of how she did so (she is a non-recipe-user/recorder such as myself), I went to the store, got the ingredients, and tried to duplicate its perfection as best as I could!  This is what I came up with, and boy is it good!  Thank you so much, Christa, for sharing this awesome recipe with me...I hope I did it justice!!!  The health benefits you'll get from this salad are amazing...tons of protein and essential carbs from the quinoa, cell-sustaining healthy fats from the extra virgin olive oil and the avocado, vitamin C from the tomatoes and citrus juice...and plenty of fiber from all the ingredients!  This is the type of meal that you make a big batch of, and have on hand to eat whenever you need to grab something quickly...I love it so much!!!

Bring 4 c. water to a boil and add 2 c. quinoa.  Cook according to the instructions on the quinoa package.  While that is cooking, let's make the lemon vinagrette!

1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 t. sea salt
2 t. freshly smashed garlic

-Mix all these together with a whisk, and slowly drizzle (as your still whisking):

1 c. extra virgin olive oil

-This should create a thicker, dressing-like liquid.  It will taste pretty strong of citrus, but don't worry, you're pouring it over quite a bit of quinoa, and it's just the right amount!

-When the quinoa is done, pour half of the vinaigrette over it, and gently toss to coat.  (Be sure not to mix it too much, or your quinoa will get mushy like rice does).  Place in the refrigerator to cool down.

-Once quinoa is relatively cooled, add:

1 c. chopped cilantro (or more if you want!)
1 c. chopped grape tomatoes (again, if you want more, you can add more)
1 avocado, chopped (one more time, you can add more if you want)
the remaining vinaigrette

-Toss everything together and enjoy! 

-The longer everything has to set in the vinaigrette, the better the flavor is...however, I didn't have the patience to wait, so I ate it right away and it was amazing!!

-Note:  we also discussed adding chopped green onions and sliced black olives to if you feel so inclined, that would jazz it up a bit...OR if you wanted it a little more hearty, you could add a can of rinsed black beans!  Whatever you decide to do, you're going to love this, and I can 't even express to you in words how amazing this is!!!  I can't wait to have it for lunch today!

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