Thursday, May 06, 2010

Recipe for Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Radishes, Cucumbers, and Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Radishes, Cucumbers, and Cumin-Lime VinaigretteDo I dare confess that I was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed this quinoa salad with avocado, radishes, cucumber, green onions, and a spicy cumin-lime vinaigrette? I've definitely been a slow adopter when it comes to quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) but recently when I wrote about cooking with quinoa for BlogHer.com, I made a promise to myself that I would try using it. Quinoa is loaded with nutrients, as well as being gluten-free and a source of complete protein, and it has a pleasant, somewhat nutty taste and slightly crunchy texture. Now that I realize I like quinoa so well, you can bet I'll be trying other experiments with this interesting seed that's cooked as a grain; meanwhile if you're also a quinoa novice, give this tasty salad a try and see what you think.

Nearly all quinoa has to be rinsed well with cold water, because the seeds are coated with saponins, which give the quinoa a bitter taste if they aren't rinsed off. You'll need a very fine mesh strainer, or you can use a paper towel inside a strainer to catch the tiny quinoa seeds.

You can cook quinoa in a rice cooker, but I just use the stovetop method. Use 2 cups water for 1 cup rinsed quinoa, and simmer about 15 minutes (or until all the liquid is absorbed, keep an eye on it.)

While the quinoa is cooking, dice the avocados and toss with lime juice, thinly slice green onions, and chop radishes and cucumbers in same-size pieces. I left just a little cucumber skin for color, and scraped out the seeds so the cucumber wouldn't make the salad watery.

Here's how much the cooked quinoa expanded (about 3 times the volume.) When the water is all absorbed, let the quinoa cool a little and then fluff with a fork. I cooled it in the salad bowl for about 30 minutes before I mixed the salad together.

While the quinoa cools, whisk together the lime juice, cumin, Spike Seasoning, Vege-Sal (or salt) and olive oil to make the dressing.

When the quinoa is cool, mix in the diced radishes, diced cucumbers, and thinly sliced green onions.

Stir in enough dressing to moisten the quinoa and vegetables (you may not need all the dressing if you prefer your salads on the drier side.)

Then gently stir in the diced avocadoes, season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve. This was okay after being in the refrigerator overnight, but I don't think it would keep for more than a day or two without the vegetables losing their crispness.

Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Radishes, Cucumbers, and Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa (rinsed well with cold water)
2 cups water
2 avocados, peeled and diced in 3/4 inch pieces
1 T fresh-squeezed lime juice (for tossing avocado)
1 cup chopped radishes (diced in 1/2 inch pieces)
1 large cucumber (peeled with thin green stripes remaining, seeds scraped out, and diced in 1/2 inch pieces)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

Dressing Ingredients:
3 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or use other all purpose seasoning blend of your choice)
1/2 tsp. Vege-Sal (or use 1/4 tsp. sea salt)
2 T extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:
Put 1 cup quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer (or put a paper towel inside your strainer if it's not fine enough to catch the quinoa seeds.) Rinse quinoa well with cold water. Bring 2 cups water to boil in a small saucepan, stir in quinoa, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. (Keep an eye on it, because it may take more or less than 15 minutes, depending on exactly how high you have the heat. You can also cook the quinoa in a rice cooker if you prefer.)

Let the cooked quinoa cool for a few minutes, then place in salad bowl, fluff with a fork and cool until quinoa is room temperature, about 15-30 minutes.

While quinoa cooks and cools, peel avocado, dice into 3/4 inch pieces, place in small bowl, and toss with 1 T fresh-squeezed lime juice. Peel cucumbers, leaving thin green stripes, scrape out seeds, and dice cucumbers into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut off root and stem end of radishes, wash if needed, and dice into 1/2 inch pieces. Thinly slice enough green onions to make 1/4 cup.

In a small bowl, stir together the 3 T lime juice, ground cumin, Spike Seasoning, and Vege-Sal, then whisk in the olive oil.

When quinoa has cooled to room temperature in the salad bowl, stir in the diced radishes, diced cucumbers, and thinly-sliced green onions. (Don't add avocado until the end.) Stir in enough dressing to moisten salad to your liking (you may not need all the dressing.) Gently stir in diced avocado, season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve immediately.

This was okay when I kept it in the fridge overnight, but I don't think it would keep for longer than a day, and it was better freshly made.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Even though quinoa is technically a seed and not a grain, it's considered phase two for the South Beach Diet. This low-glycemic salad would make a great side dish for any phase 2 or 3 meal.


More Ideas with Quinoa:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Black Bean, Quinoa, and Red Pepper Salad with Chili Lime Vinaigrette from The Perfect Pantry
Lime Quinoa Salad with Mint from Gluten Free Goddess
Quinoa and Black Bean Salad from Mandika Moments
Colorful Quinoa Salad with Cilantro (Coriander) and Lime from Nami Nami
Quinoa with Chicken and Black Beans from Life's Ambrosia
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit

54 comments:

  1. Welcome to quinoa heaven! This dish will surely grant you admission. Because I don't like raw onion (or scallion), I'd lightly saute those first, then add to the salad. A quite saute takes the edge off (as does soaking in cold water, though for me that's not quite enough). Looking to more SBD-friendly quinoa recipes.

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  2. I was getting into quinoa for a while and have tapered off for some reason. Not sure why, because I really love it (as I do, most grains). I like the combination of fresh vegetables and flavors you've added here.

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  3. I love the color the radishes add and I bet that dressing is fantastic.

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  4. Quinoa is always in my pantry. Delicious dish you've made here. Thank you for the recipe!

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  5. I love quinoa and this looks excellent! The dressing sounds really good!

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  6. Your recipe sounds a bit similar to one I did recently but with plenty of crunch! I like the idea of giving it a bit of Mexican flair.

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  7. I love quinoa as a pilaf , in the bottom of a soup bowl or as a salad. I like the tiny crunch it adds texture wise and the the way it accepts flavors.

    Your salad is full of texture, color and things I love to eat. It will be a perfect side dish for our weekend Mother's Day BBQ.

    Thanks for the recipe Kalyn!

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  8. Welcome to the quinoa club! I've never had avocado with quinoa, but I think it sounds like a great combination. I have a ton of quinoa that I need to eat before I move in June, and I think this is the perfect solution.

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  9. This looks like a perfect side dish salad, or one to take to school for lunch.

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  10. Quinoa is one of my all-time favorite foods--so glad you decided to give it another try! Whether salad, pilaf, or as a bed for curry, I adore it. This salad looks terrific--I think this may even get me to like radishes. ;)

    PS--I've read that most brands of packaged quinoa are now pre-rinsed so you don't have to worry about the saponins as much. I try to rinse, but often forget--and the quinoa has never tasted bitter to me. :)

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  11. What a beautiful salad... I keep meaning to try cumin in a salad dressing. I think this will be it.

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  12. MMm, I love quinoa~ thank you.

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  13. I can't wait to make this. I always love a good quinoa salad!

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  14. I love quinoa and this salad looks really great. I might even bring it to a mom's day brunch on Sunday. I particularly like the addition of the radishes- kind of unexpected but probably great!

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  15. I am still trying to 'like' quinoa. Actually it's my kids I need to convince, because just like you say it's high in protein, and full of nutrients.

    Maybe this salad will do the trick!

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  16. Lovely! This is a perfect salad for Summer picnics. I've grown to like quinoa too. It gives me so much energy!

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  17. What a gorgeous quinoa salad.
    Just the kind of thing I like.
    Must make this! Yum!

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  18. Thanks everyone for all the nice thoughts about my first foray into quinoa salad! I can tell I need to buy more quinoa.

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  19. I just LOVE the idea of cooking quinoa in a rice cooker - so easy. And, thanks for another beautiful dish.

    Donna

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  20. I'm going to prepare this recipe on Saturday!!! I was trying to think of something unique to serve to my vegetarian daughter and I just know this will be a huge hit! Thank you very much for this post!! (can you tell I'm excited???)

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  21. This looks delicious. I love the ingredients. We enjoy quinoa at our house often.

    I posted your Roasted Radishes today. Thanks for the great recipe.

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  22. I just ate a quinoa salad for lunch today with avocado and cucumbers! I'm going to have to try your cumin lime vinaigrette with it next time!

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  23. OMG what a delicious dish! (Well, I haven't tried it yet, but am excited to!)

    I love, love, love your vegetarian recipes. Thanks a bunch!

    This might just become one of my favorite go-to-meals!

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  24. Perfect option for a lunch at work, I will be making this soon, in fact I have some red quinoa in the pantry... never used red before, looks so cute

    Great post, Kalyn!

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  25. I have all the ingredients for this yummy looking salad. I am going to make it this morning.

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  26. I am always look for new ways to enjoy quinoa and this recipe is right up my alley. I rarely think to use radishes, but I'll bet their heat goes well with the cumin-lime vinaigrette.

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  27. I love this idea. I recently got into eating radishes, but only when they are roasted. I can't stand the bite, but SusanV from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen posted a recipe with quinoa and roasted radishes. I made this recipe with raw cucumbers, avocado, and green onion, then roasted some garlic and radishes. Delicious

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  28. I'm so glad you tried quinoa- I thought you'd love it. It's my favorite go-to dish in the summer. This combo with avocado sounds delicious.

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  29. This looks fantastic. I am so trying this out soon - love love love quinoa salads :)

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  30. How fun! I just bought my first quinoa and now here is this great salad- I'm excited to try it. I'm sure I won't be disappointed, I've loved everything I've made from your site. Thanks for the recipe!

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  31. I just adore quinoa! This flavor combination looks particularly delish.

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  32. I just made this (minus onions) tonight for tomorrow's lunch and I tried it and liked it a lot!

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  33. esper_d, so glad you liked it!

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  34. I'm glad you discovered you like quinoa, now we can all look forward to sharing more recipes ;)

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  35. YUM! I love all the ingredients (esp. cumin & lime) & quinoa has such a nice bite to it. Cheers!

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  36. i love this slightly mexican twist on the quinoa! It is one of my go-to grains and i so much prefer quinoa as a substitute for rice now-a-days. Rinsing was the only thing that I found a bit painful, but then I discovered the Bob's red mills pre-rinsed quinoa which makes making quinoa ever so much easier and no bitter taste either. I am looking forward to more quinoa recipes from you now!

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  37. PJ, thanks for the tip about the Bob's Red Mill pre-rinsed quinoa. I haven't seen that but will look for it.

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  38. I'm back...just wanted to tell you that I made this recipe on Saturday and it was a huge hit! Everyone loved it.

    I prepared everything except the avocado ahead of time and then threw it all together at dinner time. It's just delicious. The avocado is a wonderful addition...very creamy and smooth and a nice complement to the dressing. Yum.

    By the way, I use Ancient Harvest quinoa and it doesn't need rinsing, either.

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  39. Cheryl, glad you liked it, and thanks for the tip about that brand of quinoa.

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  40. Hello kalyn!!
    I made this tasty recipe of yours & I so loved the refreshing flavours!!

    Thanks again for this brilliant dish!

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  41. Sophie, thanks for letting me know you liked it; always love to hear that!

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  42. I made your recipe for white fish with peppers, onions, olives and feta cheese....it was sooooo good!

    Now I'm going to check in every day for one of your fabulous recipes - thank you so much

    Sandra

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  43. AMAZING! I found you through tastespotting and had to make this quinoa dish promptly! We had it for supper last night! Seriously delicious! I had fresh green onions and radishes from our garden, so our kids ate it with excitement!
    I'm going to link back to you and share this recipe! Thank you!!!ina

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  44. I made this last night - delicious! I did leave out the radishes because I am not a fan and it was still wonderful. I thought about adding in some cherry tomatoes but decided to just try it without. It was a lovely light dinner. Thanks for the recipe!

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  45. Glad you liked it. I'd say radishes are completely optional.

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  46. This is good! I just made it. Didn't have avocado, but wanted to try quinoa; it's the first time I've made it and eaten it. I added a little bit of Better Than Bouillon chicken base to the water I cooked it in. I think quinoa and this salad are both are a keeper. Thanks!

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  47. My son is a vegetarian and we've tried a lot of quinoa recipes this past year. This has been the family favorite. DELICIOUS!!!

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  48. So glad your family has enjoyed the recipe so much! Thanks for taking time to let me know.

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  49. I was looking for a gluten-free side dish for my husband, and since Kalyn's Kitchen is my go-to website, typed in "quinoa" and found this. Absolutely delicious! I prepared all the ingredients ahead of time and then mixed up 1/2 for dinner, then plan to have the rest for lunch today. The combination of the nutty quinoa, crunchy veggies and smooth avocado is just wonderful. Certainly I think you could add other ingredients that you like, but I think I'll leave it just as is! Thank you once again, Kalyn.

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  50. Amy, so glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the vote of confidence for my blog. I do appreciate the nice feedback so much.

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  51. Looks great, sharing on my post today!

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  52. Thanks Gina, always appreciated!

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