Moroccan Quinoa Salad with Lemony-Orange Avocado, Almonds & Scallion

December 11, 2010 § 2 Comments

This is going to sound dramatic, but sometimes I get to feeling as though my body houses two different people: Debbie Downer & Calm Cucumber.  At times I get overwhelmed with anxiety — due to lack of a clear life trajectory — with so many unknowns in this weird, limbo state between school and more school (but wanting to fill the gap with “experience”).  On these days I feel unable to organize, piece apart or analyze; but thankfully, they are often offset by good friends who offer their two-bits of no-stress, laugh-inducing distraction.

One of these chums came over this week and we gabbed over this hearty Moroccan salad (presentation inspiration from this incredible site).  I prepared it earlier in the afternoon — a luxury that comes with severed job hours — and served it at room temperature.  After spending the better part of the evening talking about skydiving and doomed dating stories, I walked her back to her car, down the crunch-crunch gravel covering the alleyway behind my bitty house, feeling satiated, in stomach and noggin.  Ballooning stress quelled, I felt quietly lucky to have the fortune of a few, rock-star friends and a bit of extra time to see and cook for them.

1 cup quinoa, raw
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons dried blueberries & cherries

1 cup almonds, chopped and toasted*
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 eggplant
1 winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc.)
2 avocados, chopped
juice of 1/2 large orange (approx. 1/4 cup)
juice of 2 lemons, separated
6 garlic cloves
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt

* To toast almonds, place in a 350 degree oven on an ungreased baking sheet and roast until lightly browned and fragrant — about 8 minutes.


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Chop eggplant and squash in quarter-inch slices and lay on greased baking sheet.  In a small bowl, pour a tablespoon or two of olive oil and mix with chopped garlic.  Slather on to the tops and sides of squash and eggplant.  Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.  Roast until crisp, flipping halfway.  Depending on size of slices, approximately 25-35 minutes total baking time.

2.  Meanwhile, combine quinoa, spices and dried fruit in a pot with two cups of water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, covered.  Cook until al dente.  Set aside.

3.  Prepare the quinoa dressing: Whisk together orange juice and juice of one lemon, a tablespoon (or more, to taste) olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and pepper.  When quinoa has finished cooking, fluff with a fork and stir the dressing in, until incorporated.

4.  Chop avocado.  With remaining lemon, toss avocado in juice to prevent discoloration.  Chop scallions and cilantro.

5.  When all ingredients are prepped, layer quinoa mixture in the bottom of a bowl and line the sides with prepped ingredients, including the toasted almonds.  Enjoy mixed together — hot, at room temperature or chilled.

Diet Notes: Gluten-free, vegan


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§ 2 Responses to Moroccan Quinoa Salad with Lemony-Orange Avocado, Almonds & Scallion

  • Kathi says:

    This is one of the prettiest posts and almost looks too good to mix up and eat! Beautiful.

  • RJ says:

    Hellooooo, Regina!

    I am moving to my own place soon and will be cooking for myself again! Hooray!

    Do you have any tips on staples? Such as- which seasonings are most versatile? Etc.

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