Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Tequila Lime Chicken

A guest post by Elizabeth Thomas
Gluten-free/dairy-free/omit the almonds to make nut-free.
  I’m still loving quinoa and recently picked up this month’s issue of Fine Cooking magazine, which includes an article celebrating avocados and this recipe for Quinoa Avocado Salad with Dried Fruit, Toasted Almonds and Lemon Cumin Vinaigrette. It is one of those salads you make on Sunday and spend the rest of the week with your fork in the bowl! Fine Cooking gives instructions for cooking quinoa on the stove, but I used my rice cooker. The quinoa cooked while I prepped the rest of the ingredients and tried to entertain my kids and I didn’t have to worry about it burning on a hot stove.

I’ve also added Ina Garten’s Tequila Lime Chicken recipe because I think it would be a great compliment to this salad, and because Amish skinless, boneless chicken breast is currently on sale at Sunset Foods for $2.99/lb.

Quinoa Avocado Salad (Fine Cooking Magazine)

3 Tbs. raisins (preferably a mix of dark and golden)
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
2 medium firm-ripe avocados (6 to 7 oz. each), pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 medium scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 to 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped toasted almonds
Freshly ground black pepper

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

Cook the quinoa in the rice cooker according to instructions.   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.

Tequila Lime Chicken (Ina Garten)

  • 1/2 cup gold tequila
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on

Directions

Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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