Avocado Quinoa Salad Recipe

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This healthy avocado quinoa salad recipe is the perfect meal to make ahead and enjoy throughout the week! It’s loaded with protein and flavor.

You can enjoy this as a vegan or vegetarian dish based on what broth you use for cooking your quinoa. Aside from that, the recipe is naturally vegan. But for meat-eaters, chicken is a great addition.

An up close view of a blue bowl filled with this Avocado Quinoa Salad.

Quinoa is light and tasty, and because it’s a seed, it’s full of protein as well. In fact, it’s quite possibly the only “grain” we have that has all 9 amino acids. Meaning, it’s a complete protein just like meat!

I love this recipe because it’s full of good, healthy fats from the avocado and is also a very versatile dish. If cilantro isn’t your thing, try some other herbs like tarragon or basil. Any way you make this, it will be wonderful. And if you prefer to have meat, you can always add some on the side, or cut some up to mix into the salad. You can’t really go wrong with this one, and it’s also perfect for warmer months because it’s just as tasty when it’s cold (though it tastes a little better closer to room temperature).

Quinoa FAQ’s

What Is Quinoa?

Quinoa is a plant in the amaranth family. The parts we eat are the seeds. They are highly nutritious and contain all 9 amino acids, making it a very popular food for vegans and vegetarians.

What Does Quinoa Taste Like?

If you’ve ever cooked quinoa without rinsing it first, you know that the flavor is quite bitter. But if you do a good job rinsing it before cooking, you get a mild-flavored “grain” that pairs well with just about anything you add to it. The flavor is mild and slightly nutty.

Does Quinoa Taste Like Rice?

It could possibly be compared to brown rice in flavor. But there is still a difference. If properly rinsed before cooking, the flavor is milder than that of brown rice by quite a bit.

What Can You Add To A Quinoa Salad?

Quinoa goes with anything you care to add to it. Just like rice, it’s a very versatile food that compliments almost anything you add to it.

  • Vegetables
  • Squash of all kinds
  • Vinegars
  • Fruits
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Fish

Does Quinoa Have A Lot Of Calories?

Quinoa has 222 calories per cup of cooked quinoa or a half cup of dry quinoa. Whether that is a lot or not is totally up to you and your eating plan.

A mixing bowl with just mixed Avocado Quinoa Salad. Wooden spoons rest on the sides of the bowl.

Can I Make This Salad Vegan?

Definitely! Use water or vegetable broth to cook the quinoa. Everything else is naturally vegan!

What Protein Goes Best In Quinoa Salad?

My favorite protein addition to quinoa has always been chicken. Particularly with the recipe below.

Tips For Making Quinoa

Rinsing quinoa in a metal, mesh strainer.

Make sure you do a good job rinsing your quinoa BEFORE you cook it. It may get quite foamy at first, but keep rinsing. With a little time under the faucet, the foam will rinse off and the water will run clean. Never skip this step. Doing so will give your quinoa a very bitter taste that does not taste good at all.

Quinoa and broth in a stainless steel pot.

Once rinsed, follow package directions for the amount of water or broth to use. Most packages show a 2 to 1 ratio, but do what the package says for the best results. I always cook my quinoa with broth instead of water. The flavor is much better, in my opinion.

How To Cook Quinoa

In general, you’ll bring water or broth to a boil, then add the quinoa. Cook for the specified time, then cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Let the quinoa sit for about 10 minutes or so, then remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Cool in the pot you cooked it in, or transfer it to a large bowl you can set in the fridge.

Optional Additions

The flavors in this dish are pretty specific, so there isn’t a huge selection of foods you can add to this recipe. But there are a few. They are:

  • Chopped red onion
  • Grated cheese
  • More fresh herbs (anything that works with cilantro is fine.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Shredded chicken
  • Chopped steak
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Corn
  • Try lemon juice instead of lime if that’s your preference.

Ingredients For Making Avocado Quinoa Salad

3 cups cooked quinoa – make sure it’s fully cooled. You can make it with vegetable broth or chicken broth to give it more flavor. See cooking tips above.

1 pint small tomatoes – Cherry or grape tomatoes work best. Cut them in half.

1 cup fresh cilantro – Chopped to your liking.

2 medium avocados – Peeled, cored, and cut into chunks.

1 tbsp. garlic powder – Garlic granules work too.

2 tsp. onion powder – Onion granules work too.

2 medium limes – Juice only. This is approximately 2 tablespoons but can be slightly more or less depending on your limes. 2 tablespoons is very tangy. Use 1 tbsp. for mildly tangy.

Salt and pepper –  to taste

How To Make Avocado Quinoa Salad

A mixing bowl with quinoa in it. Other recipes ingredients sit on a cutting board to the right of the bowl.

Put the quinoa into a large mixing bowl.

Sliced grape tomatoes added to quinoa in a large mixing bowl.

Slice the tomatoes and add them to the bowl.

Avocado added to quinoa and sliced grape tomatoes in a mixing bowl.

Cut avocado into small chunks and add them to the mixing bowl.

Fresh, chopped cilantro added to a mixing bowl filled with quinoa, sliced grape tomatoes and avocado chunks.

Add fresh, chopped cilantro to the mixing bowl. You can chop this as fine as you like, or leave it chunky. I prefer large pieces, so that’s what you see here. Chop to your liking.

Lime juice being poured into a mixing bowl filled with Avocado Quinoa Salad Recipe ingredients.

Pour fresh lime juice over everything in the bowl.

Adding spices to a mixing bowl filled with Avocado Quinoa Salad Recipe ingredients.

Sprinkle the spices into the mixing bowl.

The Avocado Quinoa Salad mixed in a stainless steel mixing bowl.

Toss, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.

The finished Avocado Quinoa Salad, served in a blue bowl.

Serve as a side dish or main course.

How Long Does Quinoa Salad Last In The Fridge?

This will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days if you cooked your quinoa with chicken broth, and up to 4 days if you used vegetable broth or water.

Can You Freeze Quinoa?

By itself, yes. Quinoa freezes quite well.

The recipe here, however, should not be frozen. The added ingredients won’t hold up in the freezer well.

An overhead view looking down into a bowl filled with this Avocado Quinoa Salad. Two tomatoes and an avocado sit next to the bowl.

Can You Make Quinoa Salad Ahead Of Time?

You can! This is a fantastic make-ahead dish! It keeps well and travels well and can easily be served straight from the fridge if you don’t have the means to warm it up. This particular dish is best served at room temperature. So if it’s been in the fridge, let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe Supplies

Click on the image to see the product on Amazon.

Nested mixing bowl set with lids and grater attachments sold on Amazon.
Cutting board sold on Amazon.
Manual citrus juicer sold on Amazon.

More Quinoa Salad Recipes

Avocado Quinoa Salad Recipe Card + Video

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry
An up close view of a blue bowl filled with this Avocado Quinoa Salad.

Avocado Quinoa Salad

Delicious lime, cilantro, and tomatoes are the prevalent flavors in this plant-based dish that you can enjoy as a side dish or a vegan or vegetarian main course.
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Course: Grains, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 248kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (make sure it's fully cooled)
  • 10 oz. package grape or cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 2 medium avocados (peeled, cored and cut into chunks)
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 medium limes (juice only – approx 2 tbsp for very tangy, 1 tbsp. for mildly tangy)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Put the quinoa into a large mixing bowl
    A mixing bowl with quinoa in it. Other recipes ingredients sit on a cutting board to the right of the bowl.
  • Slice the tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
    Sliced grape tomatoes added to quinoa in a large mixing bowl.
  • Cut avocado into small chunks and add them to the mixing bowl.
    Avocado added to quinoa and sliced grape tomatoes in a mixing bowl.
  • Add fresh, chopped cilantro to the mixing bowl. You can chop this as fine as you like, or leave it chunky. I prefer large pieces, so that's what you see here. Chop to your liking.
    Fresh, chopped cilantro added to a mixing bowl filled with quinoa, sliced grape tomatoes and avocado chunks.
  • Pour fresh lime juice over everything in the bowl.
    Lime juice being poured into a mixing bowl filled with Avocado Quinoa Salad Recipe ingredients.
  • Sprinkle the spices into the mixing bowl.
    Adding spices to a mixing bowl filled with Avocado Quinoa Salad Recipe ingredients.
  • Toss, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.
    The Avocado Quinoa Salad mixed in a stainless steel mixing bowl.
  • Serve as a side dish or main course.
    The finished Avocado Quinoa Salad, served in a blue bowl.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible. Data does not include the addition of any meat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 669mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 520IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 4/5/12.

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29 Comments

  1. graciouspantry says:

    Kimber – That sounds wonderful!!

  2. graciouspantry says:

    Alice – Fantastic! Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. graciouspantry says:

    Michaelatopalov – Wow! Sounds wonderful!

  4. graciouspantry says:

    Lee – Oh how delightful!!

  5. graciouspantry says:

    Disxiechilders – I hope you enjoy it!

  6. Lauren Elizabeth Ingram says:

    Just tried this tonight–it’s like a bowl full of spring! So delicious. Can’t wait to try this with tomatoes from my garden this summer.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Lauren – Haha! I love that! Glad you enjoyed your bowl full of spring!

  7. graciouspantry says:

    Dora – My pleasure! I’m so happy you both enjoyed it!

  8. Tara Richelle says:

    Love this, I can make mine vegetarian than add meat in it for DH. Thanks, pinned this!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Tara – Wonderful! Enjoy!

  9. graciouspantry says:

    Christina – Fantastic!

  10. Mendyclarke says:

    Love this! Will definitely have to try it 🙂 Last night I made quinoa with chopped zucchini, peppers, garlic, onion, eggplant….it was amazing

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  12. A terrific recipe. Made it vegetarian and added a little ground sea salt crystals. This has become one of my all time favorites. Thanks.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Wonderful! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

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  14. I just made this for dinner tonight. SO GOOD! I added ground turkey and Italian seasoning instead of cilantro. Will definitely be making it again soon!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Awesome! So glad you liked it!

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  16. Can this be made ahead of time? I worry about the avocado turning brown, does the lime prevent that?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      I wouldn’t make it too terribly far in advance. It’s best when it’s fresh. But I would think 2-3 hours ahead of time might be okay. The lime does help, but doesn’t completely stop the browning.

  17. txchick811 says:

    This is SO yummy!! I had never ate quinoa before, my mom wasn’t the adventurous type, but this looked so good I had to try it and I am so glad I did!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      txchick811 – Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  18. Alison G. says:

    Recently made this for a picnic we went to and it was a super hit with everyone. Lots of people heard about The Gracious Pantry that day! 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Alison G – That’s wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing my blog. 🙂

  19. My family is doing a Mexican dinner night soon and I am looking forward to trying your Pineapple Chicken Verde. You suggested putting it on top of brown rice or quinoa. Do you think this recipe and the Pineapple Chicken flavors would clash or go well together? If you think they wouldn’t go well could you point me into a good quinoa recipe? 🙂 Thanks!

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