Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quinoa Avocado Salad and Broccoli Chickpea Salad

To cope with the 40 degree weather we had a fortnight ago, I made two salads the day before. I'm not really a salad type gal, I think lettuce based salads are boring and unnecessary but if it the salad is based around beans/grains/noodles then it's a different story. Inspired by Michael's dish at a potluck, we made Quinoa avocado salad which seems to be a popular Melbourne salad lately, Steph recently blogged about and Emily started the blogging inspiration.

Quinoa Avocado Salad
serves 4
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed well
2 large lemons
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
2 medium firm-ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
5 sprigs coriander, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup almonds
4 tbs white sesame seeds (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, soak the raisins in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside (I didn’t do this, but if yours are rock hard, then you should)
Heat saucepan and toast almonds until brown. Turn off heat and crush almonds with a mortar and pestle. Toss in sesame seeds in pan while pan is still hot, and toss it around till brown. Remove from heat.
In same saucepan, bring water, quinoa, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Fluff with fork and leave to cool.
In a small bowl, zest and juice lemons. Whisk in olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
In a large bowl, toss vinaigrette with the quinoa, raisins, avocado, coriander, and almonds. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

This was delicious, although not quite as tasty as I remember Michael's version that I tasted. Maybe it was because I skipped the coriander and sesame seeds.

I also made this super easy broccoli chickpea salad from Martha Stewart but without onion. Unfortunately this was quite boring so I added more mustard and mayonnaise.

Broccoli, Chickpea and Cherry Tomato salad

Serves 6.
  • 1 pound broccoli, separated into florets (4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  1. In a large saucepan with a steamer insert, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add broccoli, cover, and steam until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together Dijon, vinegar, oil, and onion; season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and broccoli. Toss to coat with dressing. Let cool 5 minutes. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
It wasn't the greatest salad in the world but simple and still tasty. I'm kind of biased though since I adore chickpeas and can eat them plain.


  1. When in doubt, add mustard. (Or chocolate. Depending on the sweet vs savoury context.) Both salad definitely photograph well! :)

  2. There is not much in savoury food that a bit of mustard doesn't improve - and I love chickpeas, broccoli and tomatoes so I love the sound of using them in salad