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Today: Let your avocado flag fly free.
We're all a little bit obsessed with avocados. I jump at any opportunity to add avocado to a salad; I swoon over kale that has been “massaged” in layers of creamy green flesh; I pin and like and repost every image of avocado toast as if I had never seen it before; and I blend this decadent fruit into pasta sauces, chocolate pudding, smoothies, salad dressings, and more.
This recipe is an excuse to let your avocado lover’s flag fly without blending or chopping or slicing the fruit. Instead, you’ll allow it to shine as itself, by cutting it in half and placing it directly on a hot grill, where it will proceed to develop the most enticing grill marks across its creamy surface. The contrast of a little char against avocado’s natural unctuousness is pretty irresistible—whether or not you’re an established avocado devotee.
The other half of this summery dish is an easy, versatile quinoa and black bean salad. I make this dish, or some variation of it, for countless working lunches each and every summer. I also serve it as a dinner side or a potluck offering, and I dig into the leftovers for savory breakfasts. It’s simple enough, but the cumin dressing makes it sing, and you’ll find yourself reaching for the recipe again and again—when you’re not too busy scooping into yet another avocado, of course.
Serves 4 to 6
For the grilled avocado:
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
Salt and pepper
For the cumin-spiced quinoa and black bean salad:
1 cup dry quinoa
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup diced red bell pepper (or substitute cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup raw corn kernels (from about 1 ear)
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can beans, rinsed)
10 to 15 basil leaves, chiffonade
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Photos by Alpha Smoot