Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Avocado, and Almonds

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Are you sick of quinoa yet?  No?  Not quite?  ME NEITHER!  I love this stuff. I love the flavor, texture, and how it makes anything you add it to into a filling meal in itself.  Now, some of you may think I need to move on from quinoa, and you might be right, seeing as this is my 4th quinoa recipe in a year.  (See: Little Quinoa Patties, Tabouleh Salad, and Quinoa with Corn, Scallions and Mint)  But, they’re all so different!  Which, I think, just goes to show how versatile of an ingredient it is, no?

DSC_0055Ok, I can hear myself going a little over the top on the quinoa.  That’s not even really the point of this salad.  It helps, but it’s not the whole story.  As shallow as this sounds, the point of this salad is that it’s pretty.  Let me explain.DSC_0057

For the past year, I have been a stay-at-home-mom.  It’s great.  I love it, I really do.  But let’s just say… it ain’t glamorous.  I spend a majority of my day watching sesame street, cleaning bodily fluids out of all kinds of things, crawling around the house on all fours after this little guy (and also this little guy), and in general, being a domestic servant.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.  I feel very blessed to be at home with my munchkin.  But every once in a while, I stop and think… “I’m hungry.  And I don’t want to just eat whatever is leftover on the high chair tray, darn it.”

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When this feeling strikes, I want to make myself something pretty to eat.  Something quick and easy, but pretty.  And tasty, of course.  And it has to be filling enough to get me to afternoon nap time.

Pretty tall order, I know.  But I think this salad fits that description perfectly. It’s light, pretty, totally delicious, nutritious and filling.  I, for one, LOVE salads with a bit of citrus on them, and when I have one, I always have to have a bit of avocado.  Something about the creamy avocado and the tanginess of the citrus are just too perfect together.  The mustardy vinaigrette is amazing with the citrus, but also plays surprisingly well with the quinoa. That said, for all my earlier rambling about quinoa, I have to say that this salad would be equally tasty sans the quinoa, as a side salad with dinner.  Blasphemy, I know.

DSC_0071 Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Avocado, and Almonds

inspired by this recipe

The second time I made this, I used grapefruit in the place of the oranges and liked it even more than the original. Either works, or I bet a combo would be great, too.

Also, if you need a tutorial on how to supreme citrus fruit, this one is fairly decent, as long you ignore the ridiculous knife he’s using to do it. (Hint: use a very sharp chef’s knife.) But the music is pretty radical, so it’s worth overlooking.

For the Dressing:
1 tablespoon lime juice (about 1 lime)

1 tablespoon orange juice (about the amount left over in the remaining orange after cutting out segments)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste
For the Salad:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

4 oz spring mix or other lettuce greens

2 medium oranges, cut into segments

1 avocado, sliced

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped

Bring 1-3/4 cups lightly salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa and reduce heat to low; cover and cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. (You can also use leftover quinoa.  If so, then obviously skip this step.)

Whisk together the lime juice, orange juice, and mustard. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil. Season generously to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss quinoa with about 1/3 of the dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide amongst serving plates or place on a large serving platter. Toss greens, orange segments, avocado, and onions in a large bowl with just enough dressing to coat. Again, season to taste with salt and pepper. Top quinoa with dressed greens and sprinkle with almonds.

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Filed under Salad, Side Dish

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