If you're accustomed to portabella caps or tofu steaks as your vegetarian grilling dish of choice, consider this recipe your new favorite alternative. Creamy, satisfying avocado meets a hassle-free, versatile quinoa salad that works on its own as an anytime summer side dish. —Gena Hamshaw
4 to 6
For the grilled avocados:
1 to 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the cumin-spiced quinoa and black bean salad:
extra-virgin olive oil
apple cider vinegar
black pepper, to taste
diced red bell pepper (or substitute cherry tomatoes)
raw corn kernels (from about 1 ear)
1 1/2 cups
cooked black beans (or 1 can beans, rinsed)
10 to 15
basil leaves, cut in a chiffonade
chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Lightly oil your grill or grill pan and set over medium heat.
Rinse the quinoa through a fine sieve for about a minute. Place quinoa in a medium sized pot with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Cover the quinoa and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow it to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
While the quinoa cooks, cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Brush the avocados lightly with olive oil and drizzle with lemon juice. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Place the avocados, cut side down, on the grill. Allow them to cook for 5 minutes, or until they have nice grill marks. Remove them from heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste.
To a large mixing bowl, add the cooked quinoa, cucumber, pepper, corn, black beans, basil, and cilantro. Dress the salad and toss gently. Season to taste.
Fill each avocado half till it's brimming over with a cup of quinoa salad. Serve, garnished with extra cilantro if desired.
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.