We could hardly wait to make the quinoa-avocado salad we spotted in the most recent issue of Fine Cooking. Eagle-eyed readers will note that the grain in our picture isn't exactly quinoa - craving overruled precision and so a few substitutions were made!
We ran out of quinoa a few weeks ago and have yet to make it to the store for another batch, so we subbed in some farro. The textures are very different, but we thought the sweet-nutty flavors would be similar.
One of our avocados also ended up being bad. We salvaged what we could, but settled for a little less avocado rather than make another run to the store.
Despite these changes and substitutions, the salad was really delicious. We had to hold ourselves back from eating the whole batch, in fact! The avocado was smooth and creamy, which made such a nice contrast to the crunchy nuts and chewy apricots. The farro was a good choice. The flavor was spot on and it had a nice texture somewhere between the nuts and the dried fruits.
The cumin-lemon vinaigrette brought everything together really well. A little bit smoky, but also bright and fresh. We actually could have used a little more lemon flavor, so next time we might use the zest of two lemons. A dash of something spicy would also be great, like a pinch of cayenne or a dash of Tabasco sauce.
This would make a great side dish for any meal, especially fish or grilled meats. Served on a bed of greens, this could also make a satisfying lunch or light dinner.
• Get the Recipe Avocado-Quinoa Salad with Dried Fruit, Toasted Almonds, and Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette from Fine Cooking
Related: Quick Tip: Using Whole Cumin Seeds
(Image: Emma Christensen)