Quinoa & Avocado with Dried Fruit & Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

Quinoa (keen-wa) is one of those grains that I love to use and it’s so versatile.  I first used this ancient grain back in 2007 and since then its been a staple in my cupboard.  Nutritionally, these grains are supercharged!  Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory rank high in nutrient richness and quinoa provides over twice the amount of calcium as is found in whole wheat.  It’s a perfect food to include on a gluten-free diet.  To prepare quinoa, always rinse under cold water and rub the grains a bit to remove any bitter taste that may remain in the seeds.  If you like this recipe then you may also like:  Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa or Quinoa Salad on Endive Spears.  For more quinoa recipes, view here.

Serves 4
adapted from Fine Cooking – Cook Fresh

3 tablespoons raisins (mix of dark and golden)
2 tablespoons dried apricots, thinly sliced
1 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed well
Kosher salt
1 large lemon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 medium firm-ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 medium scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped toasted almonds
freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, soak the raisins and apricots in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 2 cups water, the quinoa, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (The outer germ rings of the grain will remain chewy and white. Some germ rings may separate from the grain and will look like white squiggles.) Immediately fluff the quinoa with a fork and turn it out onto a baking sheet to cool to room temperature. Finely grate the zest from the lemon and then squeeze 1 tablespoon juice.

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with the olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a large bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the quinoa, raisins, apricots, avocado, scallions, and almonds. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Love the ‘pop’ sensation with every bite!  This is a salad that can sit a bit before serving which makes it a perfect guest at a pot luck or buffet-style dinner.   Happy Labour Day Weekend!


  1. lrugel on September 6, 2012 at 16:22

    Delicious… Great write up! I will give you a site where I got real fruit on powder form, I mix it with milk and ice cream to go healthy. they have mango, soursop, papaya, etc. A lot of fruits and veggies. Enjoy guys! http://www.freshlydried.com

  2. The Culinary Chase on September 10, 2012 at 14:36

    Thanks Irugel!