Light, refreshing quinoa salad with baked salmon, steamed asparagus and avocado tossed in a honey lemon vinaigrette. This salad is packed with protein and heart-healthy superfoods that will leave you feeling satisfied and wanting more! Avocados are a staple my diet. They are rich in potassium, folate, fiber and heart-healthy unsaturated fat. In fact, they contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds. Their creamy texture makes the perfect addition to smoothies and sauces, too.
Tip for storage - to reduce oxidation (browning) of an avocado after it has been sliced, squeeze fresh lemon juice on the exposed flesh and then refrigerate in a tupperware container or plastic bag. They should keep for a few days. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish, especially fatty fish such as salmon, twice a week to ensure you get plenty of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. An adequate consumption of healthy fats play a crucial role in maintaining optimal health.
Healthy fats are an integral part of a healthy immune system, as they help mediate inflammation in the body. They are also "beauty boosters", contributing to the health of your skin, eyes, nails and hair. What's not to love???
When buying salmon, I strongly encourage choosing wild Alaskan salmon over farm-raised for better quality, less-contaminated fish. You can purchase it frozen year-round.
Back to this salad - it is delicious served over a bed of fresh greens, wrapped in a whole-grain tortilla or eaten by itself (my personal preference). It is perfect to pack for lunch during the week or serve to a crowd. You can prepare everything the night before, however I recommend not adding the salmon and avocado until right before serving for optimal freshness. Enjoy!
Salmon Quinoa Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
Makes five servings. Serving size: 1 cup
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and prepared according to instructions
- 6 ounces fresh or frozen wild Alaskan salmon
- ~¼ red onion, very finely chopped
- ~12 fresh asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed
- ½ avocado, cubed
- Juice and rind of one lemon
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray glass or ceramic baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add salmon fillet(s), flesh down, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork. Allow to cool to room temperature, preferably covered in the refrigerator.
- In the meantime, add 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa in a medium pot and bring to a boil. When the water reaches a boil, cover the pot, reduce heat to medium/low and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed. This will take 12-15 minutes. You will notice that the quinoa becomes sort of translucent and you can “fluff” it with a fork. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a separate pot, bring ~2 -3 inches of water to a boil. Steam asparagus in a vegetable steamer for ~10 minutes, until tender. Slice into 1-inch pieces, discarding the tough ends. Allow cooked asparagus to cool to room temperature.
- In a bowl, whisk extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice & rind, Dijon mustard, honey and a dash of salt and pepper until combined.
- Combine quinoa, red onion and asparagus in a large bowl. Add sauce and toss all ingredients until well combined.
- Add avocado and salmon right before serving. Toss all ingredients and serve cold or at room temperature.
Nutrition facts per serving (1 cup)
Calories: 285; Total Fat: 12 gm; Saturated Fat: 1.5 gm; Cholesterol: 18 mg; Sodium: 100 mg; Carbohydrates: 30 gm; Fiber: 4 gm; Sugar: 6 gm; Protein: 13.5 gm