Guacamole-Inspired Quinoa Salad

Some of my favorite flavors from summer are Mexican food flavors. So it's not a coincidence that I absolutely adore guacamole. I could probably eat it by the truck load if I had the option. Isn't it the perfect food? I think so!

Speaking of perfect foods...meet quinoa. It is probably my favorite cooked grain. It is so humble. It doesn't have an overpowering flavor and it is really healthy for you. Did you know it is a complete protein? It is also an awesome source of fiber and magnesium (source). Bonus! Plus, it is such a pretty little grain.

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Uncooked white quinoa

So, let's figure out a way to get more quinoa into your diet. Oh wait! I know how. You can make this salad. And if you like guacamole as much as me, you will love it. 

It is a perfect side salad for a summer BBQ or as a light lunch. The quinoa adds a delectable crunch and the avocado adds a perfect smooth texture. I used red quinoa for my salad because I think it is gorgeous. But you can use white or black quinoa as well.

Guacamole-Inspired Quinoa Salad
makes 10-12 servings

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 large avocado, diced
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 limes, juiced
2 Tbs canola oil
1 clove of garlic, minced finely or pressed
1/4 tsp honey (just a couple of small drops)
salt & pepper to taste

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Start by rinsing the quinoa in a fine sieve under water for about three minutes. Quinoa has a bitter substance called saponin on the outside of the grain that you'll need to rinse off well. Then put it in a medium-sized saucepan along with the two cups of water. Allow to bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low heat to simmer. Put a lid on the pot and allow to cook about 15-20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Set aside to cool.

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I'm using grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes because they looked the best.

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Chop the tomatoes. My tomatoes were a larger size, so I cut my grape tomatoes in half lengh-wise then in half width-wise.

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Chop the bell pepper in bite-size pieces. You can also use red or orange bell pepper. Add it in a bowl with the chopped tomatoes.

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Cut the avocado in half length-wise and remove the pit. Score large bite-sized pieces with a knife and scoop out with a spoon. Add it to the bowl with the tomatoes and bell pepper.

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Combine the lime juice, canola oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and honey in a small bowl and whisk well. Pour over the avocado, bell pepper, and tomatoes and give it a good stir.

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Oh! Almost forgot the onion and cilantro. Add the cooked quinoa and stir well. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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