When I first saw this salad in my Observer Food Monthly magazine I said to myself straight away: got to make it. I just so happen to be madly in love with quinoa. Not only does it looks gorgeous, little golden balls, that brighten up any salad, but they are also so good for you that one would be a fool not to have them every so often. Did you know that they are claimed to be the one of the most complete foods there are? The first time I had them was in this one delicious salad where they were coupled up with corn kernels. I only posted it in my Portuguese language blog. I will post it here as well since it will certainly be done over the summer at my house. Going back to the salad, in addition to the lovely quinoa, it also has beautifully red and ripe tomatoes, sexy wedges of avocado, and parsley plus coriander (cilantro to many of you). Visually, it won my heart. In a rational-brainy way, it won my mind and heart again. Well, stomach had to be pampered as well. So on Monday I was already preparing it as soon as got home from work. And Tuesday we had a repeat.
The picture does not make it justice. A picture taken at night is never the same. A spring/summer salad certainly deserves to be shone upon by sunlight. However, as we say back home ‘If your hunting dog is not available, take your cat hunting with you’ (make do with what you have). I took the picture with artificial light.
I have been getting avocadoes delivered with my organic box for the last three weeks now. And it is all in the name of lovely salads and spring/summer meals. I was brought up in a culture which treats avocado as a fruit which is used in sweet dishes, smoothies.. So avocado in salads and other savoury concoctions is an eating habit I developed quite recently. I remember my school days and the countless number of avocado shakes/smoothies mum used to feed us with at breakfast, before going to school. It used to be pretty filling. Deliciously creamy. The native avocado variety in Brasil (excuse the ‘s’and not the ‘z’ – I’m going native here) is different from the one I purchase in
100g of quinoa – ¾ cup
1 good handful of parsley
2 good handfuls of coriander (cilantro)
Cherry tomatoes – loads ( this time I used vine tomatoes chopped in four as I have quite a lot of them hanging around)
2 small ripe avocadoes, sliced in wedges
One red chilli, deseeded and cut into little, thin strips
For the beautiful dressing which I unfairly forgot to talk about above – it is the soul of the salad in my opinion:
a small clove of garlic
extra virgin olive oil – be generous without being unhealthy on the amount used
Cook the quinoa first by boiling plenty of water and adding salt to it, as soon as it reaches boiling point. Add the quinoa grains to it, reduce the heat and let it cook for around 15 minutes. Whilst the quinoa is busy getting ready, get a salad bowl (or whatever you find appropriate for your salad) and place the herbs on it, then the tomatoes and the avocado wedges. If you are using chilli as well, scatter them over the salad at this stage. Once the quinoa is ready drain it and quickly run it under a tap of cold water. Then throw it over the salad.
To prepare the dressing just put your clove of garlic (no skin please!!) in a mortar and crush it. Then add the salt and black pepper crush it a bit more. Add the lime juice and olive oil. God, it is good.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad, get some charming salad ‘mixers’(often in long spoons shape) and toss everything together nicely. Then, what are you waiting for?