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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.
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).
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.
- Squash of all kinds
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.
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
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.
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.
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
- 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
Put the quinoa into a large mixing bowl.
Slice the tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
Cut avocado into small chunks and add them to the 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.
Pour fresh lime juice over everything in the bowl.
Sprinkle the spices into the mixing bowl.
Toss, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.
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.
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.
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More Quinoa Salad Recipes
- Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
- Baby Kale Quinoa Salad
- Chicken Quinoa Salad With Apples
- Chickpea Basil Quinoa Salad
Avocado Quinoa Salad Recipe Card + Video
Avocado Quinoa Salad
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- 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
- Put the quinoa into a large mixing bowl
- Slice the tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
- Cut avocado into small chunks and add them to the 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.
- Pour fresh lime juice over everything in the bowl.
- Sprinkle the spices into the mixing bowl.
- Toss, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve as a side dish or main course.
Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 4/5/12.