May 2, 2013

Going With the Grain {Avocado, Quinoa & Edamame Salad}

Quinoa is one of those "hot topic" foods and has been for a while now.  Everywhere you look, it seems to be there.  I mean if I can find a box of quinoa in little Eunice, can be found just about anywhere.

So I thought I'd go "with the grain."  This week's I Heart Cooking Clubs theme.

I've used quinoa a couple of times.  And by "a couple" I truly mean exactly two.  Once in a black bean quinoa salad type of thing.  And once as a substitute for rice in shrimp jambalaya.  I was down with that, especially the jambalaya.  The Husband and The Boy not so much.

So, for maybe a year now I've been living with this attitude that I'm the only one in the house who eats quinoa.  Could maybe, perhaps, quite possibly be a superior attitude at that.

Smugly, I decided to make Yotam Ottolenghi's (you know I still have to look up how to spell the dude's name every single time!) Avocado, Quinoa & Fava Bean Salad for my lunch a week or so ago.  I prepped as many of the components as I could a head of time.  Omitting the radishes because I don't like them.  Swapping, adding, subtracting this and that for things I had on hand.

I thought it looked pretty good.  The first few bites were.

Then it became too much of the same thing.  Over and over.

The next day I decided it needed some texture to make up for the lack of radishes.  Pine nuts tossed in.  Tomato for color.  And...why not...some goat cheese.

Unfortunately, I was never really down with this particular quinoa dish.  I liked the avocado and the dressing, but the quinoa didn't do it for me.

IHCC Ottolenghi Leek Badge resized

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The original recipe can be found HERE

Avocado, Quinoa, and Edamame Salad
adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

1 cup quinoa
2 handfuls shelled edamame
2 medium lemons
2 small ripe avocados
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili flakes
Salt and black pepper
2 big handfuls spinach leaves

*other additions: 1 Roma tomato, diced, 2 Tbsp pine nuts, goat cheese

Cook the quinoa according to package directions.  Toss in the edamame just before draining if using frozen.  Drain, rinse, and transfer to a sheet pan to cool and dry.

Peel the lemons, removing the white pith along with the peel.  Segment the lemons into a large bowl.  Squeeze the juice from the membrane into the bowl.  Peel, deseed, and slice the avocado into the bowl with the lemon.  Toss the avocado with the lemon segments and juice.

Add the olive oil, cumin, chili flakes, and some salt and pepper to the bowl.  Gently mix.  Add the quinoa, edamame, and spinach.  Toss gently to dress.  Serve with paprika sprinkled on top.


  1. Sorry you were a bit disappointed with this one, Michelle. I made this way back in spring, and have had it sitting in draft ever since, so planning to actually get it posted this week. I really liked this salad, but then I'm really big on quinoa, and I enjoyed it for lunch over a couple of days. I love your addition of the tomato, pine nuts and goat cheese the next day. This really lends itself to adding in anything that takes your fancy.

  2. Would it be better as a small side dish for brunch? It looks good and I really like the look of your gussied up version. :)

  3. Hmmmm....maybe The Husband and The Boy were right about quinoa...

  4. Michelle - I have tried and tried to like quinoa. I want to like it but I just can't handle it. It's a strong taste and no amount of adding anything really detracts from it. It always tastes bitter and the texture is just strange. Makes me feel like a bird eating seeds or something. I think the salad itself sounds good and I like the addition of the creamy avocado, but I'm thinking it'd probably be better with a different grain. So yeah, maybe the husband and the boy were right about the quinoa.

  5. It's so crazy how many times I've flipped through plenty and yet can't for the life of me remember ever seeing this recipe! That book is magic I swear. sounds like an awesome salad!

  6. You know, quinoa is all the rage it seems - but I have never had it. Maybe a different grain would be better? The other ingredients sound wonderful :) Thanks so much for linking up to Let's Get Social Sunday last week :)

  7. Quinoa is something that I have yet to try! You are right, there are so many quinoa recipes in bloggerland, and I am rather curious to try it. Sorry to hear that this is not your cup of tea! Hope the next quinoa recipe you try would be a winner for you!
    Have a great week ahead!

  8. I think I am with you, I have tried quinoa a few times....but more often than not it doesn't really excite....& like you I find that a little goat cheese makes most things better :)

  9. It's funny. I always think of quinoa as the palette on which to build other starring flavours's so nutritious and kind of nutty tasting that I like it, but it would never stand alone. I think you did well adding the feta and tomatoes to this salad ... sorry it still didn't come up to snuff!

  10. I'm with you, I've tried cooking Quinoa a couple of times but it didn't go over well with my family, I thought it was just me not quite knowing what to do with it but maybe not :)

  11. This looks great! I am putting this on my 'cook quick' list.

  12. Well we LOVE quinoa, and we've just "discovered" edamame here (it's new for us), so I just must try this salad.
    I'm sorry you were disappointed with this salad, but I'm sure I'm going to love it
    Thanks so much for the recipe Michelle :)

  13. Too bad this wasn't more of a hit for you. I like quinoa so I have a feeling I would like it--love that you added the tomato, feta and pine nuts to it too. ;-)


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