Summer entertaining in our home usually revolves around the grill. Because let’s face it. Cooking indoors during the summer usually ends up hot, sweaty and generally not fun. But some days, grilling isn’t on my to do list, because it’s even too hot for that. Any extra heat production is a no go.
California Avocados issued a Diner En Green challenge for the month of July and I excitedly accepted.
Diner En Green is a fun play on the uber trendy Diner En Blanc. My mission was to create a party friendly dish featuring the lovely green California Avocado. Fun…and delicious!
Back to the too hot to even grill issue. I wanted to create something that required very little cooking and also, something where all the components could be prepared the night before. So yes, even though you’ve got to turn on a stove for the quinoa, you can do it in advance…thus, a cool kitchen to match your chill dinner party (or luncheon).
I wanted my Quiona Avocado Salad to be super colorful and crunchy, so I strayed a tad from the green theme and added yellow bell peppers and tomatoes. However, if you wanted to fully rock Diner En Green, green bells would be a great sub. You could definitely add some green or yellow heirloom tomatoes. The quinoa I chose is the red variety, since I’m basically subbing it for meat in this dish. However, you could definitely use regular white quinoa.
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Since I chose kale and cabbage as my greens, I was able to dress my salad prior to the party and it held up beautifully. A more tender green, like arugula or spinach, should be dressed just prior to serving so it doesn’t get too wilted.
Serve this salad with a nice whole grain baguette and some sparkling water (or wine). It’s perfectly satisfying and refreshing.
- 1 cup red quinoa (you could also use regular, I just like the color from the red)
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 8 ounce bag of your favorite green (I used a mix of kale and cabbage)
- 1 ripe California Avocado, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
- 2 medium sized ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- juice of one large or two small limes
- teaspoon salt
- teaspoon cumin
- 1 small garlic clove
- Add the quinoa and the water to a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and turn to low. Stir in the taco seasoning and let it finish cooking over low heat. Fluff with a fork after about 15 minutes and set aside.
- While the quinoa is cooking, do all your veggie chopping and make the dressing.
- To make the dressing, add the olive oil, lime juice, salt, cumin and garlic to a blender and whizz it up. It should look creamy after about 20 seconds. Set aside.
- There are a few options for salad assembly. You can set it out and let people make their own. You can dump it all in a bowl and toss with dressing. Or my favorite, using a large platter, make a bed of the greens and sprinkle all the tops over the top. When you're ready to serve, drizzle with dressing and toss tableside!
Nutrition: Calories 353; Total Fat 23.7g; Saturated Fat 6.0g; Trans Fat 0.0g; Cholesterol 17mg; Sodium 625mg; Potassium 679mg; Total Carbohydrates 28.8g; Dietary Fiber 5.8g; Sugars 2.9g; Protein 9.1g