This recipe is my absolute favorite, and my go-to for an easy lunch or dinner dish. I usually keep a bit of cooked quinoa in my fridge so that I can throw this delicious and nutritionally impressive dish together at a moment’s notice!
The full recipe can serve eight as a side at dinner or two as a main, and when it’s just me I’ll make 1/3 of the recipe. I love the versatility of this salad: despite the filling power of the quinoa and avocado, which makes it a great main, it’s still light enough to act as a side.
I developed this salad while looking for a filling, low-calorie and nutritionally complete dish. One third of the recipe boasts only 53g carbohydrates (mostly from quinoa) of which 14g are fiber, 37g fat (mostly from avocado and olive oil), and a whopping 13g of protein, 2g of which (from nutritional yeast and hemp hearts) are complete proteins. These macronutrients come in their healthiest forms, ready to provide energy and a feeling of satiety.
This particular combination of ingredients also provides substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals: in one third of the recipe iron, magnesium, manganese, folate, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, lycopene, vitamins A, C, E and K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and B12) are all present in nutritionally significant amounts.
Worried that the family might not react well to a new superfood being put on their plates? (Although I love it, I’ll be the first to admit that nutritional yeast doesn’t look OR smell that great, and I’ve seen some skepticism towards quinoa and hemp hearts too!) I first introduced nutritional yeast, or nooch, to my family by encouraging everyone to try a single leaf with a little sprinkle of it--that worked for my teenage sisters, who went from suspicious to piling nutritional yeast on their avocado toast in no time! I got it into my little brother, meanwhile, by simply mixing the nooch into the salad before serving--he benefits from a complete protein and suite of B vitamins and is none the wiser.
I’d recommend that you make the quinoa ahead of time--even days ahead--so that it can completely cool before being added to the salad, and so that when you decide that a salad sounds great you can be eating it in the time it takes to put arugula in a bowl and chop an avocado.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! I’d love to hear any substitutions or additions you make in the comments below--this is a constantly evolving project and I’m eager to learn from you!