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With protein-packed quinoa, creamy avocado, grape tomatoes, and crisp cucumbers, this Quinoa Avocado Salad will quickly become a lunchtime staple! A zippy red wine vinaigrette brings it all together, adding lots of flavor while still keeping things light.
Table of Contents
- Recipe At a Glance
- Ingredients you’ll need to make quinoa avocado salad
- Popular Substitutions & Additions
- How to Make Avocado Quinoa Salad
- Tips for making the best quinoa avocado salad
- What to Serve With Quinoa Salad With Avocado
- How to Store Quinoa Avocado Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Quinoa Recipes
- Quinoa Avocado Salad Recipe
Not a fan of leafy greens? That doesn’t mean salad is off the menu! This avocado quinoa salad brings lots of flavor and plenty of veggies to the table, but it’s made with a base of protein-rich quinoa instead of lettuce. (For a similar idea, try this quinoa salad stuffed in avocado bowls!)
While a leafy green salad can leave you feeling hungry shortly after your meal, this quinoa salad with avocado has staying power! Both the protein and the healthy fats from the avocado and olive oil will keep you full and satisfied.
Recipe At a Glance
Cuisine Inspiration: Mediterranean meets California cuisine
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free
Key Flavor: Bright, tangy
Skill Level: Easy
- A meal-worthy salad: This is a salad that works as a side, or you can serve it as a bigger portion (or top it with Instant Pot Shredded Chicken) to make it a meal. The combination of fiber, protein, and healthy fat creates a balanced dish.
- Easy to make: As with most salad recipes, this one comes together with minimal effort!
- Bright and bold flavors: The vinaigrette combines fresh lime juice with red wine vinaigrette, which gives it lots of zip and zing—just what quinoa needs to pep it up! Cilantro and lots of veggies add freshness, and Dijon gives the recipe some depth.
- The perfect reset: Quinoa avocado salad is fantastic for those days when you need to recover after indulging a little too much. (In other words, it’s the perfect post-holiday lunch!) It delivers lots of vitamins and minerals, and it’s also satisfying while still being light.
Ingredients you’ll need to make quinoa avocado salad
- Uncooked Quinoa: Unless the package of quinoa says it’s pre-rinsed, give it a good rinse in a fine mesh colander before cooking with it. Quinoa has a natural bitter coating, but it easily rinses away.
- Salt: Cooking the quinoa with salt flavors it from the inside out.
- Water: For cooking the quinoa.
- Grape Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are also fine, but you’ll likely need to quarter them to make them easy to eat from a fork.
- Persian Cucumbers: Persian cucumbers have fewer seeds than garden cucumbers, which means they won’t make your quinoa avocado salad watery. English cucumbers can be substituted.
- Red Onion: You can soak the red onions in ice water to take away some of their bite if you want a milder onion flavor.
- Ripe Avocados: Here’s how to pick avocados.
- Cilantro: If you’re not a fan of cilantro, I recommend substituting another fresh, soft-stemmed herb like parsley, dill, or mint.
- Olive Oil: You can use a good, fruity extra-virgin olive oil here, but any EVOO you have on hand will do.
- Red Wine Vinegar and Lime Juice: These acids make for a vibrant vinaigrette.
- Dijon Mustard: An easy way to infuse a dressing with punchy flavor.
- Seasonings: Oregano, salt, and pepper finish the vinaigrette for this quinoa salad with avocado.
Popular Substitutions & Additions
- Make Quinoa Avocado Bowls: Use inspiration from my Mediterranean Hummus Bowl or Chicken & Quinoa Bowl and use the quinoa avocado salad as a base for a meal bowl. A scoop of hummus, pita chips, and falafel can turn this simple salad into a restaurant-style meal!
- Give It a Mediterranean-Style Spin. Omit the avocado, swap the lime juice for extra red wine vinegar, and add kalamata olives, roasted red pepper, and chickpeas.
- Make It Tex-Mex. Add rinsed and drained black beans, then swap the cucumber for thawed frozen corn. Omit the Dijon from the dressing and instead add taco seasoning for flavor.
- Add More Protein. A can of rinsed and drained white beans or chickpeas will add some extra protein to this quinoa salad with avocado.
How to Make Avocado Quinoa Salad
You’re just a few minutes away from a satisfying lunch! Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Make the dressing
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
- Whisk well until the dressing is emulsified.
Cook the quinoa and assemble
- Toast the quinoa, then add the salt and water and cook it until it’s tender.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- Add the quinoa to a large bowl with the other salad ingredients.
- Toss to coat with the dressing.
Tips for making the best quinoa avocado salad
- Chop the vegetables finely. Because the quinoa looks like a fine grain, I love chopping the vegetables pretty small so that every bite has a little bit of all the vegetables and enough quinoa. It’s no fun grabbing a bite from this quinoa avocado salad and just getting a large tomato. To make it easier for chopping, I use cherry tomatoes and just halve them. I also use the small Persian cucumbers, so it’s less chopping.
- Don’t skimp on the ingredients. Because there are so few ingredients in the salad, be sure to use the best quality produce you can find (especially those avocados!). And it’s important that you use extra virgin olive oil because that’s the base for the dressing that really pulls it all together.
- Add the avocado and mix before serving. Like all salads, it’s best to toss the dressing right before you serve the salad. In this case, the salad will hold up well if tossed in advance, but it’s best to add the avocado fresh right before serving to prevent it from browning.
- Chill before serving. Because the quinoa has been cooked, it’s best to let it get to room temperature before mixing with the vegetables. Then, I recommend chilling it in the fridge for at least half an hour before tossing and serving.
What to Serve With Quinoa Salad With Avocado
How to Store Quinoa Avocado Salad
Store any leftovers in an airtight container. If you’re not planning to finish the salad all in one day, it’s best to add the dressing only to the portion you’ll be eating right away.
How Long Will Avocado Quinoa Salad Last in the Fridge?
Leftovers will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have bad luck with quinoa, the culprit is likely too much water. It’s better to err on the side of less and keep an eye on the pot as it boils—you can always add more if you notice it’s looking dry! This quinoa avocado salad has the perfect amount of water, so you shouldn’t have to worry about the quinoa being waterlogged.
Yes, cooked brown rice or another grain can be used in place of the quinoa.
Some people do like to soak quinoa in a mixture of water and vinegar several hours before cooking, but it’s not necessary. This is done to break down the phytic acid, which causes digestive upset in some people.
This easy avocado quinoa salad is a feel good recipe filled with protein from the quinoa, healthy fats from the avocados and olive oil, and a ton of vitamins from the tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions. Serve it on its own as a side salad or lunch salad, or pair it with shrimp, salmon, or chicken for a more filling dinner portion. However you eat it, I think you’re really going to enjoy this superfood salad!
More Quinoa Recipes
- Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
- Quinoa Burger
- Quinoa Breadsticks
- Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini
- Pizza Quinoa Bites
- Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- Southwest Quinoa Salad
- Avocado Stuffed Quinoa Salad
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This Quinoa Avocado Salad was originally posted on January 22, 2019. It has recently been updated with new photos and step by step images. The recipe has not changed.
Quinoa Avocado Salad
- Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Toast for 5 minutes, or until the seeds start to make popping sounds. Add the salt and water, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep covered for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large salad bowl to cool.
- To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, Dijon mustard, oregano, salt and pepper.
- When the quinoa is cool, add the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, avocados and cilantro. Pour the dressing on top and stir gently to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.