Pay homage to Meatless Monday and kiss the Quinoa! Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah, not kee-NOH-ah), is a wonderful grain full of goodness, easy to prepare, gluten free and comes in many varieties. There’s white quinoa which is commonly found everywhere, but I especially enjoy the red and black varieties. I’ve used Organic Rainbow Quinoa for this recipe which is a mixture of all three and is available at most grocery or health food stores. Rinse the grains in cold, running water (quinoa has a natural bitter coating of saponins, which dissolve when quinoa is rinsed) and lightly toast quinoa in a hot pan for about one minute, before adding boiling water and cook according to packet instructions (usually 12-15 minutes). I always cook more quinoa than I need for a recipe and store excess in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. That way I’ve got some on hand for adding to salads, or as a breakfast porridge instead of oatmeal.
I’ve adapted this recipe from one recently made by my friend, Jody Bowman. It was so delicious that I couldn’t wait to make my own as soon as possible. I’ve changed up a couple of ingredients but only because of the produce I had available in my fridge at the time. That said, the base ingredients of quinoa, orange segments and avocado should remain, and the vinaigrette is what makes the salad, so I leave it as is. Jody’s salad had grilled asparagus and grilled chicken thighs but I substituted black beans for the chicken (any other beans would work) and had to forego asparagus that day, as sadly I didn’t have any.
Make this recipe your own, it’s great served as an appetizer, lunch or a light dinner. It’s pretty on the plate, light and delicious!
Serves: 4 to 6
3 cups cooked Quinoa, cooled
1 Avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Orange, peeled and segmented
1 cup Black Beans (if canned, drain off liquid and rinse well under running water)
2 tablespoons chopped Parsley
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt and 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Butter lettuce, or Romaine lettuce, leaves to serve (washed and dried)
3 Tablespoons “Garlic Explosion” infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil (see note below*) or your favorite Garlic infused olive oil
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed Orange Juice
2 teaspoons Honey (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon “Potlatch Seasoning” (see note below**) or your favorite spice blend
1. Whisk all the Vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined, check for seasoning. OR the ingredients can be placed in a Mason Jar and shaken well to combine. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl add quinoa, avocado cubes, orange segments, beans, parsley, salt and pepper and gently combine with two wooden spoons.
3. Pour over most of the vinaigrette, reserving a tablespoon to drizzle over the salad when serving. Gently stir in the vinaigrette taking care not to break down the orange and avocado, check for seasoning, cover bowl and place in the fridge for an hour for the flavors to meld.
4. Spread the lettuce leaves onto your serving plate and spoon the salad onto the leaves. Drizzle over the reserved vinaigrette before serving.
5. Leftover salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.