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Our quinoa stuffed avocado features flavorful bits of tangerine, pine nuts, green pepper, cilantro, green onion and lime mixed with quinoa, stuffed in an avocado half and drizzled with an exciting habanero sauce!The first time I had this kind of dish at Peruvian restaurant Viva Chicken in St. George, UT, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! I’m not sure if it was the avocado-quinoa combination or the delicious sauce that covered it, but I knew I had to have it again. And again.
Viva Chicken serves the stuffed avocado with balsamic vinegar glaze and rocoto pepper mayonnaise. The rocoto is a pepper native to Peru and it makes a delicious sauce.
What is quinoa?
Quinoa has been growing for 7,000 years in the Andes mountains of South America. Although not an actual grain, it’s known as a “pseudograin” because it’s eaten the same way as grains and has similar nutrients. The majority of quinoa grows in Bolivia and Peru, but it’s beginning to grow in many other places around the world.
How do you pronounce quinoa?
Quinoa is pronounced "KEEN-wah" in English. It’s originally a Qechua word, but comes to English from Spanish.
Ingredients for quinoa salad
When I decided to make this dish at home, I wanted to add a few more ingredients to the quinoa to increase its flavor profile. I experimented with different ingredients, then settled on red pepper, tangerine pieces, garlic, pine nuts, green onions, cilantro, lime, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. This quinoa salad is delicious served as a salad alone. But add avocado and you’ve got something really special!
How to cook quinoa
You cook quinoa the same way you cook rice. Two parts water to one part quinoa. Bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, cover, lower temperature and cook for about 15 minutes. You can add salt or any other seasonings with the water while you cook it. It’s fun to experiment with different ingredients.
Is Quinoa healthy?
Quinoa is considered a “super food” due to its high nutrient content and health benefits. It’s a gluten-free "grain" that’s packed with vitamins and minerals. It has more protein, more fiber and more healthy fats than any other grain. Unlike many plants, quinoa is a complete protein (meaning it has all the amino acids our bodies need.) Quinoa grows easily in lots of different conditions which gives it potential to help fight hunger all over the world.
Appetizer, salad or entree?
Now that we’ve discussed all that, let’s just get on to making this delicious recipe! You can serve quinoa stuffed avocados as an appetizer, salad, side dish, or even a main dish. You could add chicken to the quinoa, but honestly, I like it best just like this. For an entrée I’d serve two half avocados, for an appetizer or side dish, just one is perfect. Follow the recipe directions below to prepare the avocado, quinoa salad, and sauce.
The habanero sauce
The flavors in this recipe are really a taste but explosion! The quinoa salad is tasty. Stuff it in an avocado to up flavor the game. Then add the habanero sauce and you’ve reached a 10 on the deliciousness scale! As we couldn’t find the Peruvian rocoto peppers easily, we substituted habaneros.
Don’t be afraid of the sauce. Cooking the habanero reduces some of the heat. But please wear gloves while working with these peppers. The lime juice, red pepper and mayo also cut the heat. Do a taste test to decide if you like it, or if you need to add a bit more lime juice and mayo to take the heat down a notch. This sauce would also be great on chicken, potatoes, fries, vegetables, and lots of other dishes!
Anything with this many colors has to be healthy, right? And tasty too! Can you imagine a quinoa stuffed avocado for dinner on a hot summer day? It's great all year long, but how refreshing during the summer months? We hope you’ll try our quinoa stuffed avocado. We think it’ll be a new favorite!
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For Quinoa Salad
- 6 avocados
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2 tangerines, peeled and cut in small pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (reserve 2 Tablespoons for garnish)
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup green onions, sliced, green part only (reserve white part for sauce)
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- juice of one lime
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 medium avocados, halved and pitted, with skin removed.
- 1 lime, cut in wedges for garnish
For Habanero Sauce
- 2 cups water
- 2 habanero peppers (yellow, red or orange)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 green onions, white part only (reserve green part)
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
For Quinoa Stuffed Avocados
1. Bring water to boil in medium saucepan.
2. Rinse quinoa in fine sieve and pour into boiling water. Cover saucepan, turn to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
3. Prepare tangerines, red pepper, cilantro, green onions, and pine nuts.
4. Mix lime juice, vinegar, pepper and salt together, then pour over cooled quinoa.
5. Add tangerines, red pepper, cilantro, green onions, and pine nuts and toss gently to mix well.
6. Cut avocados in half. Remove pit and gently remove avocado halves from skin.
7. Scoop 3-4 Tablespoons of quinoa salad mixture into each avocado half. Gently pack it into hole and over top of avocado.
8. Serve with habanero sauce and a lime wedge.
-Makes 3 cups salad.
-Makes 12 half avocado servings.
1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil.
2. Cut off stem and remove seeds and membrane from habaneros and red pepper. (We recommend wearing gloves: be careful not to touch your eyes or skin.) Place all in boiling water to cook and soften. Cover with lid. Lower temperature to low and simmer 12 minutes.
3. Remove peppers from water and put in blender. Discard water.
4. Add garlic, green onions (white part), mayonnaise, lime juice and salt to blender. Blend well for 2-3 minutes until sauce is smooth.
-Makes 12 ounces sauce (12 one ounce servings)
- Serve 2 avocados for a main dish; 1 avocado for a side dish or salad.
- Sauce will keep in fridge for up to 7 days.
Serving Size:½ avocado
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 429Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 325mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 15gSugar: 5gProtein: 6g
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