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A World Without Wheat....Main Dish Salad Made Delicious!

This meal in a salad is easy to modify to your taste in vegetables and proteins. It is easy to concoct and could be doubled to serve more people.

In the winter we tend to eat stews, casseroles and hearty soups. But sometimes I get the craving for fresh veggies in a salad.  Especially after all the rich food of the holiday season it can be nice to eat light and healthy for a change.  This main course salad doesn’t taste like you are forced to eat healthy, it is just delicious and satisfying. 

I made this salad twice with slight variations in what vegetables I included.  After the first time I just had to have it again the next night.  Feel free to play with the veggies but I wouldn’t mess too much with the dressing.  One version had fresh yellow beans in it; I cooked them with the green squash.  Do not overcook! Three minutes should be enough.  You can even leave them raw if you prefer.  Don’t leave out the vinegar; it is very good for you and adds a real zing to the dressing. If you are not a salmon fan I am sure other fish or shell fish would work.  I am thinking of trying it with shrimp or maybe halibut.  Avocado haters can just leave that off. Ditto for scallion scorners….  Since it is winter I did not put tomatoes in but if you find some really nice ones I think they would be a great addition.  Or put them in it next summer when we have local tomatoes to enjoy.

The quinoa acts a lot like couscous in this salad, something I can’t eat anymore. Quinoa is really easy to make for this dish, if you like it firmer only cook for ten minutes.   The meal does not feel like it was designed to avoid wheat, just a delightful, colorful meal in a salad bowl.  Have fun and try different combinations of veggies and a protein to create new versions depending on what is seasonal, on sale or just what you are craving in your salad.

Quinoa-Avocado Salmon Salad

⅔ cup quinoa

2 fillets salmon

¼ cup parsley chopped

½ bunch scallions

1/3 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup thin sliced celery heart

1/2 cup julienned  yellow and green squash

2 limes

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 avocado

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup water

kosher or sea salt

black pepper

Rinse quinoa under cold water using a fine mesh strainer. Place quinoa, 1 cup water, and a pinch salt in a medium pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered until water has evaporated and quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and set aside. 

Meanwhile, wash parsley, and scallions. Finely chop parsley, celery, and scallions. Peel red onion and chop. Season salmon on both sides with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium nonstick pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add salmon. Sear until browned on outside and slightly opaque, about 4-5 minutes per side. After you flip the salmon add the chopped red onion to the pan and let it cook a bit.  While the salmon is cooking cook the squash briefly in a small amount of salted water for 3-4 minutes.   Remove salmon fillets from pan and let cook before cutting into small chunks.

Juice 1½ limes into a large bowl. Add chopped veggies including red onion, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. Toss to combine. Stir in cooked quinoa. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.   Cut avocado into half inch chunks. Squeeze over it the remaining half lime and season with salt and pepper.  Divide quinoa mixture evenly between two bowls. Top with avocado and salmon chunks and serve.  Enjoy!

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