|The cup of red quinoa doubles in volume when cooked, but is still trumped by all the veggies, herbs, fruit and nuts in this delicious salad. Sub mangoes or cantaloup for nectarines.|
|Just two cups of quinoa (one cup uncooked) and piles of veggies and fruit dressed in lime, mint, cumin and olive oil make enough salad to please a potluck crowd.|
Quinoa, Avocado, and Nectarine Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa. I like the nuttier flavor of red or black, but white is OK
- 2 cups water
- Pinch of salt
Cooking the quinoaI've learned that most quinoa sold in the USA is already rinsed, but just in case, I rinse it anyway. Dump it into a fine strainer and swish it around in a bowl of water. Transfer into a pot with a lid, add the 2 cups of water and a dash of salt, heat covered over medium to a gentle boil, turn the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes, or until water has disappeared. (If you start on high heat, the quinoa boils up and sticks to the side of the pan. you won't like it.) Remove lid and fluff with a fork. It works well to cook the quinoa ahead and let it cool before adding all the stuff below.
Warning: This recipe is designed for a crowd—it'll feed up to 12 people. Cut by a half or two-thirds for four servings or less. Most quinoa salads will keep well for a few days, but the avocados and nectarines give this salad a shorter life.
Don't be scared off by all the ingredients, and do NOT run to the store if you're missing something. (Running to the garden is permitted.) You really can't go wrong. Substitute what you have on hand, or leave things out.
- 3 medium to large ripe nectarines or peaches, cut into chunks. They should be ripe but not soft. Mangoes are a great alternative in this salad. Add these and the avocados last.
- 2 large red, yellow or orange sweet peppers, or enough small sweet peppers to equal 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped into medium-sized pieces.
- 1 medium sweet onion or four or five green onions, diced.
- large handful of fresh pea pods, cut into pieces. (I used these only because they're going crazy in the garden. If you don't have them, no worries.)
- 2-3 medium avocados, cut into chunks and drizzled with lime juice. Set aside and add last. Slice a half of an avocado to decorate the top, if you want a jazzy presentation. Be sure to sluice slices with lime so they don't turn blackish and look like turds.
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 6 or 7 chard leaves, center stem removed. Roll and slice into thin strips, then cut strips in half.
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh spearmint, minced. Cilantro or basil are good substitutes.
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh flat Italian parsley, minced.
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste