Quinoa, Chickpea, and Avocado Salad

Quinoa is the newest cool food. If you want to pretend that you have any type of culinary knowledge, "quinoa" (pronounced "KEEN-wah") should now be apart of your vocabulary. Quinoa is the new greek yogurt, just like greek yogurt was the new sundried tomatoes. There is always a new "in" food, and quinoa is currently all the rage.

This grain has received lots of attention due to its high protein content (nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source of complete protein-pretty impressive for a grain!). Quinoa is also high in fiber, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Basically, this is a miracle grain.
I must admit that I have been reading a lot about quinoa, but just recently bought some for myself. I have many quinoa recipes bookmarked, but Sugar-free Mom's is the one I decided to try first. This recipe includes an avocado dressing, which immediately caught my attention. While the "dressing" resembles the texture of guacamole more than salad dressing, the flavors are on point. All in all, this is a great recipe for quinoa first timers.

Quinoa, Chickpea, and Avocado Salad
(Serves 4-6)

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth 
2 medium tomatoes, chopped 
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained 

1 avocado, chopped 
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

Place uncooked quinoa and vegetable broth in a pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let the quinoa simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, make the avocado topping. Put the chopped avocado in a bowl and mash with the back of a fork. (If you want this to be less like guacamole and more like a dressing, I recommend using a food processor or blender.) Add lemon juice, parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil to mashed avocado. Stir all ingredients together. Taste; adjust seasonings if needed. 

Once the quinoa is cooked, stir in the tomatoes, red onion, garlic, and chickpeas. Put mixture in refrigerator until cool, about 15 minutes. Top with the avocado mixture once quinoa salad is ready to serve.

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Nutritional Information:
6 servings
Per serving:
Calories: 272
Fat: 11g
Fiber: 6.5g

-Versatile (add different vegetables or herbs)
-Can be served as a light dinner or as a side dish
-High in fiber

-Quinoa is not available at all grocery stores (here is a list of stores that carry quinoa)

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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