I used a three-color mix of quinoa because I love the different colors, and I’ve heard the red and black varieties have more nutrients than white quinoa. It should be rinsed before being cooked, and the cooking process is a quick hands-off 20 minutes of simmering. After cooking, the quinoa was left to cool. Meanwhile, I made the vinaigrette with lemon juice, minced shallot, and sherry vinegar. Grapefruit sections were supremed and then chopped into big chunks. Almonds were toasted and chopped, and cucumber and celery were diced. The cooled quinoa was combined with the cucumber, celery, grapefruit, and some lemon zest. The vinaigrette was incorporated, and then the almonds were folded into the salad. I had a pretty head of butter lettuce from my CSA, so I served the quinoa salad in some lettuce leaves. It was topped with sliced avocado and crunchy, flaked sea salt.
There are a lot of great flavors and textures here, and the sweet, citrusy grapefruit with the tender avocado was as delicious as always. I particularly love the mix of grapefruit, avocado, and shellfish, so I served roasted shrimp with the salad. Crisp celery and cucumber and crunchy nuts added nice variety. If you only add the avocado as a topping to each serving, the salad can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. I think it would also be perfect with some sliced, leftover turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!
Citrusy Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Cucumber, and Almonds
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from The Kitchn Cookbook .
Serves 4 to 6
Once we nailed down how to cook quinoa perfectly every time (our post on making quinoa still brings thousands of readers to our site every day), a whole new world of seed salads opened up. Tossed with grapefruit segments, cucumber, and toasted almonds, and topped with creamy avocado, this quinoa salad makes a great lunch dish, or a side for dinner.
1 cup quinoa
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 teaspoon zest and 1 1/2 tablespoons juice)
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 Ruby Red grapefruit
1/3 seedless English cucumber (about 1/4 pound), unpeeled and diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced, for serving
Flaked sea salt
Rinse the quinoa for 2 to 3 minutes in a fine-mesh strainer, rubbing vigorously. Drain. Heat a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and add a teaspoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the quinoa and cook, stirring to coat the quinoa with olive oil, for 1 minute. (The quinoa may pop, so be prepared to stir right away.) Pour in the broth, bring to a boil, cover, and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit, with a folded dishtowel over the pot lid, for 5 minutes. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and spread out the cooked quinoa in an even layer. Let it cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Whisk together the lemon juice, shallot, and sherry vinegar. Slowly stream in the remaining oil while whisking, until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Set aside. To prep the grapefruit, peel away the top and bottom of the grapefruit rind until you can see the flesh. With a sharp knife, peel away all rind and pith along the curve of the grapefruit. Then cut between the white segments and cut out the flesh. Roughly chop the grapefruit segments and set aside.
Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and add the cucumber, celery, grapefruit, and lemon zest. Add the vinaigrette and toss gently. Fold in the almonds. Taste and adjust the salad to taste with salt and pepper. At serving time, top the salad with the avocado, a sprinkle of flaked sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. This dish will keep in the refrigerator for 1 day in a sealed container.
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