Recipe for avocado quinoa salad with a lemony mint dressing
I had never experienced an avocado growing up in Bombay. I doubt the hot and humid climes of Bombay provides the right environment for growing an avocado tree. Bangalore on the other hand, has had quite a long relationship with avocados.I have heard of quite a few old fashioned bungalows in Bangalore and Mysore having an avocado tree in their grounds. The flesh of a perfectly ripe avocado is the texture of butter that has been kept out of the fridge for a few hours -the tines of a fork passing through it with little or no resistance. It is quite apt that avocado is called ‘butter fruit’ in these parts.
I was trying to recall the first time I ever had an avocado. It was at a friend’s friends’ farm in 2003 or so, where the lady was giving her kid a mashed avocado on toast, educating me that this is a vegan version of butter and that it is extremely good for health. I don’t remember if I tasted it then, but I was intrigued for sure.
To make up for the complete lack of any childhood memories around this luscious fruit, a fat avocado seed is sitting in a cup of water on my kitchen counter as I type this. It is in the hope that the seed will sprout and I can plant in a small pot. I am told that an avocado sapling has the prettiest leaves, making it a beautiful indoor plant. *fingers crossed*
My first definite exposure to avocado was in my US days, when the husband took me out to dinner in NYC at this really lovely Mexican restaurant called Dos Caminos. A large stone pot made its appearance on the table filled to its brim with an unforgettable guacamole. And, I realised the miracle that is a good ripe avocado.
If you are on Instagram, and you have a reasonably food-heavy feed, there cant be a single day when you have not seen an avocado rosette or avocado on toast or baked eggs in avocados or guacamole. The hype is real and the trend is here to stay a while. The husband, an ultra marathoner (usually 100km++), who has been taking his healthy eating to a whole new level these days because he is training for another big ultra, is avocado obsessed these days too.
The day I post the pic of a perfectly ripe avocado on twitter, lightly dressed with evoo, a sprinkle of pink salt and freshly ground black pepper, he will actually message me from whichever city he is in that he is jealous of me eating it all my myself 🙂 🙂 Isn’t that hilarious! Of all the grand dishes I cook for him, he craves for this simple ripe avocado topped with salt and pepper. It’s the hype, I tell you!!
Have you checked out my Avocado Lemon Mug Cake? So simple, quick and satisfyingly delicious.
So I made this avocado quinoa salad for the avocado loving husband and I almost did not blog it. It was a simple salad combining a few good ingredients. After eating it, he told me that this was one of the BEST things he has eaten in recent times. Given that he gets to eat in quite a few fancy restaurants in his travels, that IS some compliment. I know dear friends, how difficult it is to find a perfectly ripe avocado. You keep pampering the raw avocado, checkin on it every morning, and one day, you turn around to a take a call, it decides to go all black and overripe on you, UGH!!! The struggle is real. But when you do get your hands on a lovely ripe avocado, I would urge you to try this Avocado Quinoa salad. No quinoa? Use cooked millets or couscous as a substitute.
Avocado Quinoa Salad
- 1/3 cup black quinoa
- 1 large avocado
- 100 grams purple cabbage
- 50 grams moong sprouts
- 2-3 tbsp dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup diced watermelon optional
- for dressing
- 1/2 tsp dried mint powder
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Wash and soak the quinoa for one hour. Scrub well between finger tips, drain water and place in a saucepan with 2/3 cup water and pinch of salt. Once water comes to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 9-10 minutes until the quinoa is cooked, retaining a little bite to it.
- Thinly slice the purple cabbage.
- Slice the avocado along it’s long circumference, around the seed. Scoop out the seed and then the flesh off the skin. Cut into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle some lemon juice on it immediately, to prevent it from browning and keep aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients for the dressing until smooth and creamy.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, avocado chunks, shredded purple cabbage, mung bean sprouts, cranberries and watermelon cubes (if using). Pour the mint dressing and toss gently to flavour the whole salad.