I'm not sure where to start when describing why I love this salad so much.
Let's start with the creamy strawberry dressing. It is addictive to the point that my two daughters were eating it plain like soup. First they were dipping California Avocado slices in it and next thing I know they were spooning it directly into their mouths. While I wouldn't recommend this at all it just shows how yummy it is. It is creamy, sweet and slightly tart and it pairs wonderfully with this simple strawberry California Avocado salad.
The salad starts with a base of delicate mixed greens. Next comes my new favorite thing: crispy quinoa! Have you tried this new trend? If you are getting bored of plain quinoa this quick method will add killer texture and transform it into something special. It is a nice alternative to croutons or crispy chickpeas if you are looking for something warm, savory, slightly crunchy and yet delicate to add to your salad without overpowering it. It is not to be skipped!
The salad gets plant-based protein from the crispy quinoa, hemp seeds and toasted pepita seeds. Every bite has the perfect amount of crunch.
The California Avocados add a cool creaminess to the salad and help to make it more satisfying. California Avocados and strawberries have always been one of my favorite combinations. The cold, creamy avocado slices contrast amazingly well with the juicy, tart, sweet strawberries. Plus, they add healthy fats, dietary fiber and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals such as potassium, folate, vitamin E, C and B6.
This salad is loaded with nutrients but not too filling making it the perfect pre-dinner snack. On days when I have an early lunch leaving a big gap until dinnertime I love making a fresh salad like this to tide me over. I keep the crispy quinoa and dressing on hand so that all I have to do is throw everything together for a quick and nutritious snack.
This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, egg-free and dairy-free.
I hope you love this salad as much as I do. It is so seasonal, colorful and flavorful. If you give it a try, please let me know! Leave a comment below, rate it and tag your photo @eatingbyelaine and #eatingbyelaine on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook so I can see your creations!Print
Crispy Quinoa and California Avocado Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
- Total Time: 20 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
The juicy sweet strawberries paired with the creamy avocado on a bed of greens with crunchiness throughout is just so satisfying. And when you pour the creamy strawberry dressing overtop you will want to dig right in. With a bit of forethought on the dressing and crispy quinoa during weekly meal prep it is quick and easy to make.
- 6 cups mixed greens
- 1 California avocado, sliced
- 2 handfuls fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 2 cups crispy quinoa* (see notes)
- ½ cup roasted and salted pepita seeds
- ¼ cup sliced green onions
- Garnishes: sprinkle of hemp seeds, minced chives and flaky sea salt
- Strawberry Vinaigrette
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- To a large salad bowl or platter add the greens. Layer on the avocado, strawberries, crispy quinoa, pepita seeds and green onions. Garnish with hemp seeds, chives and flaky salt and serve immediately with the Strawberry Vinaigrette.
- To make the Strawberry Vinaigrette, place all the ingredients in a blender and puree on high speed until smooth and creamy.
To make the crispy quinoa simply take already cooked quinoa (here is How to Make Perfectly Cooked Quinoa) and fluff with a fork to allow all the steam to escape. Next, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick 12-inch skillet. Once the oil is hot, add 2 cups of quinoa to the pan and coat evenly with the oil. Form the quinoa into one layer across the entire pan. Press the quinoa down and allow the quinoa to cook untouched for 2-3 minutes before stirring. Stir well and make another thin layer of quinoa and cook untouched for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning. You want to repeat this process of tossing then searing in a single flattened layer until the quinoa is golden brown and slightly crispy. I don't like to cook it for too long or it becomes too crunchy. Before removing from the pan I sprinkle fine salt on top and stir. I like to serve the crispy quinoa warm over the salad.
If making this salad as a snack, I recommend making the crispy quinoa and dressing ahead of time. You can assemble one portion for yourself in a small bowl.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Category: Salad
This recipe is sponsored by the California Avocado Commission. All writing and opinions are my own. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
Is it possible to use frozen strawberries for this vinaigrette?
Elaine Gordon says
Hi Ankur, Great question... I would probably not recommend it. While it is possible it likely won't yield the same flavor or texture as fresh strawberries. If you give it a try and feel otherwise please do let me know! Happy New Year!