It’s been hotter than the Med here in the UK this week and like everyone else, the last place I want to be is in the kitchen. When the weather is this good you want to make the most of it, just in case this might just be our summer! So salads are on the menu every day, but they need to be great salads to keep everyone sustained and satisfied. This avocado quinoa salad is just that, a great salad that is filling, tasty and it’s quick and easy to make.
This avocado quinoa salad comes with warmly spiced crispy chickpeas that add a little sweetness to this salad. They are really easy to make but they do make a huge difference so if you make this don’t leave them out. I used a generous teaspoon of Ras el hanout spice mix to toss the chickpeas in, this is one of my favourite spice mixes at the moment. It really elevates the sweetness of the chickpeas while making them smokey and warmly spiced. If you can’t find it in your grocery store then there is a link in the recipe notes on how to make your own.
I used mixed seed quinoa for this salad but you could use regular quinoa, use whatever you have, this is a flexible salad. Couscous works very well too if you don’t fancy quinoa. Giant wholewheat couscous would be my choice if I don’t have quinoa in the cupboard. If you do use quinoa make sure you rinse it well under the cold tap before cooking so as to avoid bitter tasting quinoa. And if you do opt for the giant wholegrain couscous then toast it in a pan before cooking and it will add another toasty layer of flavour to your salad.
The shallot and mustard dressing for this avocado quinoa salad is tangy and rich and really makes this something more than just veg and quinoa. It is really easy to make and you may have some left over if you do just pour it into a jar with a lid and it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. It is really good with a nice grilled chicken salad or any salad really. This avocado quinoa salad is accidentally vegan and gluten-free, I generally don’t set out to make meals vegan or gluten-free, I’m not vegan nor do I avoid gluten, it’s just the way I cook sometimes. I try to use whatever is in the fridge and come up with something that my family will enjoy, and that really was the inspiration for this salad and the majority of all my recipes are the same.
So we have enjoyed this avocado quinoa salad on its own and we have also enjoyed it as a side salad to grilled chicken or grilled fish. I have also enjoyed this salad with some feta crumbled over and sometimes we have some good crusty bread with it, for days when you are really hungry. This salad is great for taking to work for lunch too, it travels very well and would also be great for picnics, just keep the dressing separate in a jar and give it a good shake before adding it.
Avocado Quinoa Salad with Spiced Chickpeas
- 1 450g can of chickpeas drained and rinsed in cold water then dried in kitchen paper
- 1 tsp ras el hanout spice mix see notes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100 g quinoa (dry weight) just over half a cup
- 2 medium ripe avocados peeled, stones removed then chopped
- 2 stalks of celery chopped
- 1/2 a cucumber (180g) chopped
- 180 g cherry tomatoes (1 1/4 cups) cut in half
- 1 handful of flat leaf parsley finely chopped
For the shallot and mustard dressing
- 1 medium echalion shallot (banana shallot) finely chopped
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
- 80 ml extra virgin olive oil (1/3 of a cup)
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground sea salt
- Heat the oven to 180 C / 356 F Spread out the dry chickpeas on a baking tray, add the ras el hanout then mix until all the chickpeas are covered in the spice mix. Add the tablespoon of olive then toss gently. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes or until the chickpeas are hot and slightly crispy.Tip the chickpeas into a bowl lined with kitchen paper then leave to cool.
- Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions.Once cooked leave to cool. Fluff up the quinoa with a fork before adding to the serving bowl.
Make the dressing.
- In a bowl add the shallots, mustard and apple cider vinegar. Whisk together until they are combined.Slowly whisk in the extra virgin oil then season with the salt and pepper.Leave in the fridge until ready to serve
- In a large serving bowl add the avocado, quinoa, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas and chopped parsley. Toss gently. You can add the salad dressing now if you wish I usually serve the dressing on the side and let everyone add the dressing themselves.Serve with good crusty bread if you wish.
- Calories listed are approximate.
- There is enough dressing to generously serve six people and the calories per serving are 117
- Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve before cooking so as to avoid any bitterness.
- If you want to make this ahead of time, squeeze some lemon juice over the avocado before chopping, make sure all the avocado flesh is covered in lemon juice and it won't go brown.
- If you can't find ras el hanout spice mix in your local supermarket or middle eastern food store then you can make your own. Find out how here.
- Cup sizes are approximate, I use a metric scale to weigh all ingredients.
More fresh and satisfying quinoa dishes:
- Kale and Quinoa Salad
- Roast Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Kale & Feta
- Halloumi Salad with Butternut Squash & Quinoa
- Harissa Roasted Aubergine with Chickpeas & Quinoa
- Harissa Prawns with Jewelled Quinoa
If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious food.