Thursday, July 26, 2012

Quinoa, Red Pepper and Cucumber Salad

OK, I'll come clean. What you see at the top of the blog is not the real name of the salad. It's real name is "Quinoa, Red Pepper and Cucumber Salad with Avocado and Lime". As a lover of brevity, that's too much for me. So I shortened it. Just shoot me.

This recipe sat on my desk for a week until I was off to go shopping at Whole Foods. I wanted only the freshest ingredients for this salad....and boy, did that pay off in spades. This is one of the tastiest, freshest salads I have had in a long time. Great flavors...lime, shallot, red pepper, jalapeño and fresh garlic along with an amazing contrast in textures...avocado, cucumbers and quinoa.

The recipe calls for the vast majority of the veggies to be diced. To save time, I hauled out my food processor and pulsed the shallot/jalapeño together and followed by the red pepper/cilantro. If you have one, it saves a lot of time. This recipe serves 4-6 people.


For the Dressing
1 large clove of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 large jalapeño, seeded and diced
3 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Salad
1 cup quinoa
1 medium red pepper, halved, seeded and finely diced
1 medium English cucumber, cut into 1/4" dice (dice by hand, do not use food processor for this)
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
2-3 ripe avocados, sliced


  1. Make the dressing: Put the garlic, shallot, jalapeño and lime juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add olive oil and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. Make the quinoa: Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Add quinoa. Return water to a boil, the cover pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 12 minutes. Drain quinoa and spread out on a baking sheet to cool to room temperature. (NOTE: To save time, I actually slid the pot of the drained quinoa into the freezer for 10 minutes, stirring half-way through.This was a lot easier and less to clean up.)
  3. Arrange the sliced avocados on individual serving plates. Season avocado with salt and drizzle a little dressing over each slice.
  4. Make the salad: Put quinoa, red pepper, cucumber and cilantro in a medium bowl. Drizzle half the dressing into the bowl and mix well. Taste and add more dressing or salt as needed.
  5. Spoon the quinoa salad on and around the avocado slices. Serve.

Wine pairing: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

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