Citrus, Avocado and Quinoa Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Yes, it’s another quinoa salad.  And you better believe I put avocado in it too.  Can’t get enough avocados ever.  Someday I will have an avocado tree in my yard.  Oh, yes, that is going to happen.  Avocados are in season right now and because we love them so much, we buy them four at at time.  This Citrus, Avocado and Quinoa Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette might be something to add to your menu this weekend.  A healthy alternative to, or accompaniment for, other Mexican-inspired dishes for Cinco de Mayo.

This week I’ve been working really hard this week to clean out my fridge and use up the food in it.  There’s a dirty little secret we food bloggers don’t often tell you–a lot of food gets wasted.  I know–it’s a tragedy and I hate when it happens.  Wasting food makes me feel sick.  It’s been a goal of mine this year to make sure to use up everything and let nothing go to waste.  We’re getting better at it, I’m happy to report.

So yes, another quinoa salad that involved me using up bits of this and that and the other and incorporating the goodies from my CSA.  This week we got a bunch of cilantro.  I don’t have great luck growing cilantro before it goes to seed, but my friend Efra from La Nay Ferme does.  The farm’s cilantro is beautiful and I can’t wait to get more.  While I still do love that creamy cilantro dressing the same as everyone else, I do like a refreshing, lighter vinaigrette just as much.

If you want a more substantial meal, you could add some beans, roasted veggies, chicken or shrimp.  Even a fried or poached egg for a healthy breakfast.  And if you’re also looking to clean out your fridge?  Add whatever you have on hand–diced fruit like mango and pineapple would be great.  So would diced cucumber, shredded carrots, tomatoes, or jicama.  No spinach?  Perfect!  Use baby mixed greens or romaine lettuce.  Whatever you have will be great.  It’s a great way to use up leftover quinoa or another way to use it if you cook a large batch each week like I do.

Citrus, Avocado and Quinoa Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Cooked quinoa tossed with a fresh cilantro-lime vinaigrette, topped with oranges, red pepper, and avocado.
Ingredients
  • For Citrus, Avocado and Quinoa Salad:
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2-3 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced or diced
  • 1-2 navel oranges, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise or into segments
  • 4 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • For Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoons honey or agave
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup packed fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • For garnish:
  • sprinkle cayenne pepper
  • smoked sea salt
  • extra green onions
Instructions
  1. Prepare vinaigrette first. Whisk lime juice, olive oil, honey or agave and salt together. Stir in the cilantro. Taste and adjust salt or honey as desired. Set aside.
  2. Toss the quinoa with green onions and red pepper. Add a little of the vinaigrette. Toss and let stand for a few minutes. Arrange spinach on plates with some of the quinoa salad on alongside. Top with ¼ of the avocado and orange slices. Drizzle everything with a little more of the vinaigrette. Garnish with extra green onions and sprinkle with pinch of cayenne and smoked sea salt.

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7 Comments

  1. Lindsay, this looks amazing. I happen to have a big bag of quinoa right now and I love avocados too so I will need to try this! Your photos are awesome…

  2. I was doing some research on agave as it seems to be more in vogue that other sweeteners. My research leads me to believe that agave is produced in the same way as high-frutose corn syrup.

    What are your thoughts. Marketing from the producers says one thing (positive) other say negative. Your comments would be appreciated.

  3. Daniel, I have heard and thought similar things. It is processed, so if you’re looking for something more in a raw, unprocessed form, stick with raw honey. I like the mild flavor of agave, but use it mostly for adding a little sweetness to dressings or on top of oatmeal, etc. I still like that I can use less of it than white sugar, which is something that I don’t like to use much other than when needed in dessert recipes for instance.

    I really like using real maple syrup as another option to processed sugars. Even brown rice syrup (which I like) is processed, but I still prefer it to corn syrup. I wish I knew more about all of it. Overall, I just try to leave out sugar as much as possible with the exception of the occasional treat.

    Other natural white sugar alternative that I like are sucanat and coconut sugar. This is more info than you asked about, but I thought I’d comment on it anyway. :) Thanks for bringing this up! I think it’s worth more research. I can tell you that I have friends who eat natural, clean, whole food diets that stay away from agave for the reason you listed.

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