Avocados – most definitely one of my food obsessions. I have missed them so! I really didn’t eat much of them this winter. Confession: I am a cheapskate about heating and cooling costs. The baseline temperature on my thermostat was absurdly low this winter – 63 degrees! – a fact many people who know me find astonishing given my love of heat (I’m that girl who sits in full-blown 90-degree sun at a baseball game, sweat dripping off of me and perfectly happy). My key to keeping toasty in a colder clime? A lot of layers – I’m talking robe over second robe over pajamas layers. But avocados don’t really have the ability to layer, or even to wear a light sweater, so my house was not an optimal environment for their ripening this winter (I tried – they weren’t having it). So I’m excited that the weather where I live in Michigan has gotten generally warmer in the last month; I say generally because we went from the low 80s to the low 50s in the span of a day this weekend! But overall, it’s been optimal avocado-ripening weather lately, and I had a batch of good ones, so I was inspired to feature them in this cold quinoa salad. There are few things better in life than a perfectly buttery, melt-in-your-mouth avocado! Add the other fresh ingredients – the sharp onion, the vibrant cilantro, the crisp orange bell pepper – and a delightfully flavorful yet still light and healthful dish that won’t weigh you down poolside emerges.
-1 cup white quinoa
-2 cups water
-1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped into small chunks; plus an additional one to slice and use as garnish
-1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut into small chunks (I cut mine into eighths)
-1/2 cup diced orange bell pepper
-1/4 cup diced onion
-1/2 of a good-sized jalapeño, diced and with seeds removed
-1 tbs. finely diced cilantro
-Juice of 1 lime
-1 tbs. olive oil
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. black pepper
-1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Rinse quinoa and cook according to package instructions (for me, that meant bringing the one cup of quinoa in two cups of water to a boil, then covering it, reducing the heat to a simmer, and boiling for 10 minutes). When ready, transfer it to a large mixing bowl and let cool. Once it’s fairly cooled, add the other ingredients and toss well. Serve chilled, garnished with slices from the additional avocado. Yields three good-sized servings.
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