I cook the quinoa as per the directions on the box with vegetable stock. Then I use a can of chickpeas and blister it with some taco seasoning to give it a little punch. And combine the two with the salad ingredients - avocado, beefsteak tomatoes and some red onion.
The dressing is just a little olive oil and lots of lemon to keep it fresh. If you have fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro, it will be a nice addition to this salad, but I didn't have any on hand and it was still great.
Quinoa salad with chickpeas and avocado
1 cup quinoa
1 ¾ cup liquid (water or broth)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 14 oz can unsalted chickpeas
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
½ large ripe beefsteak tomato - about 1 ¼ cups chopped
1 avocado, chopped into ½ inch pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve to get rid of the bitter coating in quinoa called saponin. Place the washed quinoa with the water or broth and ¼ teaspoon salt in a 3 quart sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes till all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow the quinoa to cool a bit.
2. Transfer to a serving bowl and add the juice of ½ a lemon and set aside.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a small skillet and add the drained chickpeas. Toss for a minute and add the taco seasoning and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook over a medium flame for 5 to 7 minutes till the chickpeas get a brown color and are beginning to blister. Remove from the pan and add it to the quinoa and mix.
4. When the quinoa and chickpeas have cooled, add the chopped red onion, chopped tomato, avocado, juice of the remaining ½ lemon, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and a healthy dose of freshly ground black pepper and toss lightly.
5. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 3 as a main course and 4 as a side