a new food group March 24, 2013

There’s a small food group I acknowledge that not many people know about. It’s the “When I’m Alone” category. A select few foods that I am rabid for…but others in my house may not be quite as enthusiastic about. Tofu is in that group. So are smashed avocados on toast. Ramen noodles also get filed in there. Hearts of palm are another one – I could eat an entire can of them simply dressed with some vinegar and herbs as a meal (I sometimes do).

Mike was in London for almost a week and I ate this salad – or some variation of it – at least once a day. I cooked a big batch of red quinoa and made some sort of jumbled together salad. Sometimes it had some chopped roasted red peppers in it. Others, scallions and whatever herbs were in the fridge to use up. The constants, though, were avocado and heart of palm. This particular combination that I’m sharing on the blog was my favorite – the nutty texture of the quinoa, the creamy avocado, a little tooth from the garbanzos. It’s just delicious. Use this as a springboard to add whatever other produce you have on hand that you’re craving – some cilantro or fresh oregano would be great in this, too.

Red Quinoa Salad with Avocado & Hearts of Palm – serves 2 as a hearty lunch or 4 as a side dish

  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 large ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 can/jar hearts of palm, drained and chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp. great quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

– Using a super fine mesh strainer, rinse the quinoa under cool water and allow to drain.

– In a medium sized pot (one that has a lid), pour in the quinoa and allow to toast over medium heat for a minute or two. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

– While the quinoa is cooling down, combine the diced avocado, heart of palm, chickpeas, onion, red pepper, olive oil and vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the cooled quinoa gently as to not mush up the avocado and hearts of palm. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, to taste and adjust the amount of vinegar if you want more tang. Serve at room temperature.


Lynn Mar 24, 2013 07:03 pm

I have not had red quinoa before. This looks wonderful – I will definitely try this. (Anything is good with an avocado – I love them so much.)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar Mar 24, 2013 07:03 pm

I love the look of this! Yum!

DessertForTwo Mar 24, 2013 10:03 pm

I am such a fan of ‘single-girl meals.’ Without our men, we eat a lot more salads, yes?

Did I gather from Instagram that you & the Mr are getting hitched?!

kellie@foodtoglow Mar 25, 2013 05:03 am

I am also inordinately fond of quinoa, finding it a brilliantly nutritious and filling scaffold for inventive salads, such as this. I love salads like this with toasted seeds and flecks of goats’ cheese. When my family is away skiing (I don’t do cold) I comfort myself with pho, and my tofu twist on shawarma.

Jessica Mar 25, 2013 09:03 am

This looks really good and sounds easy to make. I’ve never made quinoa myself so this might be the perfect time to try it. Just an fyi, the list of ingredients is missing the avocado but you do have it in the directions.

tami Mar 25, 2013 09:03 am

Jessica – noted…and fixed! Thank you for the heads up. Some days, I need an editor :)

Meghan Mar 25, 2013 10:03 am

I always neglect heart of palm – you’ve inspired me to pick-up a jar. Beautiful salad!

Carrie Neal Walden Mar 25, 2013 10:03 am

Love doing my own thing! This looks like a different challenge for me since I am quinoa novice!

Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking Mar 25, 2013 12:03 pm

I am the same way! Anything pickled, I eat tossed in a salad when my husband is away. He is not a big veggie/salad fan so I indulge while he is away.

kerry surface Mar 25, 2013 03:03 pm

this looks soooooo yummy. i adore hearts of palm also. great combination.

Caroline Mar 25, 2013 08:03 pm

Love this type of salad so much! The addition of hearts of palm is awesome…I could eat the whole can myself. :)

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com Mar 26, 2013 02:03 am

I love hearty and beautiful salads as such :)

Yum! See, my alone foods aren’t nearly as healthy. They’re like… triple decker grilled cheese sandwiches and ben and jerry’s or something.

Nik@ABrownTable Apr 3, 2013 04:04 pm

This is the perfect season for such a delicious and colorful salad.

Denise Apr 11, 2013 12:04 am

I am behind in reading, otherwise, I would have made this on Monday. Lenny has been traveling, allergies have me busted, and yep I ate cereal every day and night. Haven’t done that since college. Now, I feel like a weighted down mammal. UGH.

Alison Jun 27, 2013 10:06 am

As always the allure of avocados drew me to your post. It looks divine and look forward to sampling it.