Yesterday marked the first day of #The100DayProject, which is a celebration of process that encourages everyone to make, create and share (via Instagram) for 100 consecutive days. Pretty cool, right? For my 100 days I’m preparing 100 salads. Yesterday, I made a Pea, Pesto and Spinach salad, which is easy, light and exceptionally flavorful. Today, my equally as flavorful salad offers a bit more heft and sustenance thanks to protein-packed quinoa. Quinoa is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies don’t produce and therefore must acquire from the foods we eat. It cooks in about 15 – 20 minutes, the same amount of time as most rice, but with the added benefit of additional protein.
If you’re following along in my 100-day series, I recommend that you do as I have and cook a full cup of quinoa, which yields about 3 cups once cooked. I used half of my cooked quinoa for this dish, and I’ll use the other half later in the week.
Even though I know that half an avocado is an adequate portion size, I could easily devour an entire one on my own, possible even several. But, despite my desire to believe that one can ever eat too much avocado I’ve practiced restraint here. Needless to say, when choosing a lime to make the dressing, make sure to buy one that’s plump and juicy. You’ll need at least 3 tablespoons of lime juice for this (more if you wish). But if the limes you’re finding are less that stellar, go with a squeezable bottle of lime juice —your secret is safe with me. And as for the peppers, I don’t always remove the seeds and membranes, and neither should you, if you, like me, like it hot every now then. I recognize that not everyone is a fan of cilantro — either you love it or hate it. Naturally, if you don’t love it, leave it, and consider adding parsley instead. Enjoy!
Avocado & Quinoa Salad
Makes 2 lunch portions or 4 smaller side portions.
1½ cups cooked quinoa, completely cooled fluffed with a fork
1 avocado, cut into large chunks
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
¼ cup red onion, small-diced (about ½ small red onion)
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 medium jalepeño or medium Thai chili, seeded and diced (use the seeds if you like it spicy)
⅓ – ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 large lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ fresh ground black pepper
Start by making the dressing. To make the dressing add the lime juice, olive oil, sea salt and pepper to a medium-sized bowl. Add the avocado to the dressing and give it a gentle stir. Be sure to cover all sides of the avocado with the citrusy dressing to keep it from browning. Then, add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and gently toss. Serve and enjoy.
Be sure that the quinoa has completely cooled, otherwise it will brown the cilantro and avocado.