As you may have noticed I have a slight obsession with these type of salads.  There’s just something about the combo of a simple vinaigrette combined with various vegetables or fruits, and a healthy starch.  I love to explore different combos.  I’ve already preached my love for quinoa, and with something as healthy and delicious as quinoa, I think it’s something everyone should try.  This was a great recipe to introduce quinoa to people who hadn’t tried it.

I was surprised at how well the flavors complimented each other.  The coriander, cumin, and paprika all combine really well with the lemon zest and juice.  Not one spice flavor is over-powering.  The dried raisins (or currants, like I used) and dried apricots add a touch of sweetness.  Don’t skip the avocado!  It really brings it together.  Even The Boy who is not a fan of avocado really enjoyed this salad.  I’ve made this a few times, and I’ve already got plans to make it again!  Make it for your next cookout as a super healthy side.



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Lemon Cumin Quinoa with Avocado, Raisins, and Apricots

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. raisins (preferably a mix of dark and golden), or currants
2 Tbs. dried apricots, thinly sliced
1 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed well
Kosher salt
1 large lemon
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
1 medium firm-ripe avocado (6 to 7 oz.), pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 medium scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (I omitted)
2 to 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped toasted almonds (I used sliced almonds)
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

In a medium bowl, soak the raisins and apricots in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 2 cups water, the quinoa, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (The outer germ rings of the grain will remain chewy and white. Some germ rings may separate from the grain and will look like white squiggles.) Immediately fluff the quinoa with a fork and turn it out onto a baking sheet to cool to room temperature.

Finely grate the zest from the lemon and then squeeze 1 Tbs. juice. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with the olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika, and 1/4 tsp. salt. In a large bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the quinoa, raisins, apricots, avocado, scallions, and almonds. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.