Meatless Monday: Avocado, Corn and Quinoa Salad with Warm Shallot Vinaigrette

Fluffy quinoa is tossed with chunks of creamy avocado and sweet pieces of fresh-off-the-cob corn in this warm summer salad. Toss the grains with a shallot-infused olive oil and apple cider vinaigrette that takes less than 2 minutes to whip up. Ta-Da! Dinner in less than 30 minutes.

The husband and I are getting ready to go on vacation this week, which means we are eating up whatever is left in the fridge, pantry and garden. (Expect to see some recipes that are heavy on red and green peppers ;-).)  I saw a half empty box of quinoa that really needed to be used up, one thing led to another, and yumminess ensued. My husband actually like this dish- he usually eschews anything with quinoa- and scarfed down a second helping.  Score!

Before getting started, here is a tip: let the shallots cook low and slow for about 15 minutes. This allows them to turn golden brown delicious and infuse the oil without creating any bitterness.

Avocado, Corn and Quinoa Salad with Warm Shallot Vinaigrette

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Prepare the quinoa according to package directions and measure out two cups worth; put into a medium bowl to cool. Cut the avocado into cubes and slice the corn kernels off the cob, set aside. You do not need to cook the corn, it is sweet and juicy and can be eaten as is.

Meanwhile, put the shallots and oil into a medium saucepan and cook on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until shallots are browned and fragrant. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add in the cumin. Remove from heat. Pour the shallots and oil into a small bowl and add in the salt and apple cider vinegar. Using a whisk, whip vigorously for 2 minutes until the ingredients combine.

Add the corn and avocado to the quinoa in the medium bowl. Toss.  Drizzle the shallot dressing over the quinoa and gently toss to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.  This can be a main dish for one or a side dish for two.

Enjoy!

– Erin

P.S.: Next time a post goes up, we’ll be in the Emerald Isle- Ireland! Wish me luck 🙂

Southwestern Chicken Burgers

Summer-time is burger season. Let’s stop being slaves to 80/20 ground chuck and get excited about a new kind of burger.

A juicy, fresh, flavorful party-in-your-mouth tasting burger, sans the fat (evil! evil!).

Enter the chicken burger.

Fresh cilantro and lime mayo set this burger up to be fabulous

Don’t be afraid of ground chicken, yes I know it is lean and therefore has a reputation for being dry and tasting like paper towel. It doesn’t have to be like that if you use my fool proof cooking technique.

It all starts with the shape of your patties. Loosely form them into rounds; do not pack! Do not squeeze! This will create a dense hockey puck, ew!

Liberally salt and pepper the patties.

When the meat hits the sizzling griddle, it will form a crispy crust that seals in the flavor and juiciness of the burger.

DO NOT PRESS DOWN on the patties with the spatula. This forces all the juice out of the burger and leaves you with dry nasty chicken.

Cook for six minutes per side and then you’ve got a perfectly juicy taste of the southwest- that fits in your hand. 😀

Southwestern Chicken Burgers

  • 2 tbl mayonnaise (plus 4 tbl for topping)
  • 1/4 cup finely crushed corn tortilla chips
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3 large tbl minced sweet green pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lime (reserve other half for topping)
  • 1 oz package cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 4 slices cheese of your choice, I used a monterey/cheddar blend
  • salt and pepper

Combine the first six ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well. Add in the ground chicken and stir until the mixture is fully incorporated into the meat.  Form into four patties, loosely pressing the mixture together into rounded patties; use your thumb to make a slight well in the center of the patties.

Preheat a flat griddle over medium high heat. Coat one side of the patties with salt and ground pepper. This step is important because it helps form a crispy crust when the burger cooks and seals in juiciness.

Once the griddle is heated through, pour four small circles of vegetable oil onto the griddle and put the patties on top, salt and pepper side face-down.  Salt and pepper the side facing up.

Cook the patties on the medium-hot griddle for 6 minutes per side. Don’t try to flip them to soon or you’ll ruin the crust. During the last two minutes of cooking, add the cheese to the burgers.

Want a tip on how to perfectly melt the cheese? Pour a dash of water onto the griddle and quickly cover the griddle with a large lid or tin foil. The steam from the water will melt the cheese perfectly!

For the lime-mayonnaise: mix together 4 tbl mayo and the juice of the other half of lime. You may zest some lime into the mayo too. Mix well, then top your toasty burger buns with the mayo!

Top the burgers with avocado slices and enjoy!

– Erin

Avocado Egg Salad

Today’s Meatless Monday post is good enough that you may want to always keep some in the fridge for weekday lunches or snacks.

The creamy avocado and tangy lemon dance on your taste buds while fresh celery provides that classic crunch you expect from egg salad.

I like this because it tastes a million times healthier than traditional egg salad made with mayonnaise.

Serve in a wrap or over a bed of fresh and peppery arugula. It’s so yum, you’ll never want to go back to boring egg salad again.

Avocado Egg Salad

  • 1 ripe Haas avocado
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 green onions, chopped (white parts)
  • 2 celery stalks, split lengthwise then chopped
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • salt and pepper

Chop your veggies and put them in a medium size bowl. Chop your eggs by slicing egg in half lengthwise, then place yolk side down on cutting board. Slice in half again lengthwise and then slice widthwise 4 or 5 times. Add to the bowl with the veggies. If pieces of yolk fall out, set them aside to blend with the avocado.

Scoop out the flesh of the avocado into a food processor. Add in any yolks set aside earlier; squeeze the lemon juice into the food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, no chunks should remain.

Using a spatula, add the avocado mixture to the veggies and eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold the veggies and eggs into the avocado mixture. Chill and serve! This will keep in the refrigerator for a few days and will not turn brown because of the addition of the lemon juice.

Enjoy!

Daily Question: Do you have a favorite traditional recipe that you’ve spiced up with a modern twist?

– Erin