Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cilantro Chile Quinoa Salad

DC has had an amazing Indian summer, so I embraced the hot weather and lightened things up in the kitchen with a salad. I ate a version of this salad at Sweet Green and loved it, so I decided to make it for dinner a couple of months ago. To be honest, I wasn't sure it would work, but I was so very wrong. This dish tastes great and is beyond healthy. Just thinking about it makes me feel good! This salad has a great flavor profile - bitter endive lettuce leaves, rich and buttery avocado, and sweet and tart granny smith apples. Additionally, the serrano lime yogurt dressing punches your palate with sweet, salty, tart and tangy flavors. The "super grain" quinoa and seared tofu round out this dish with a bit of carbohydrate and protein. It may sound a little crazy but give it a try... I promise, it's tasty! 

Here are the ingredients you will need:
  • 1 head endive lettuce, chopped, washed & dried
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 package of firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 tbs plain low fat yogurt
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced
  • 1 tsp agave syrup

In a medium pot add dried quinoa and 1/2 teaspoon each of olive oil and salt to the cold water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Quinoa is cooked when the outer rim of the quinoa grain starts to spiral off.  Once tender, turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to steam with the lid on for 10 minutes so that the quinoa will be fluffy. Set aside.  

To make the dressing, use the remaining olive oil, lime juice and zest, agave syrup, serrano pepper, yogurt and salt. Mix with a fork until well incorporated.  

Drain the tofu on paper towels and pat dry to remove the excess liquid.  Season the tofu with a teaspoon of the dressing and an extra pinch of salt and pepper.  Sear the tofu until golden brown in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Remove and set aside. 

In a large bowl add the endive lettuce, quinoa, avocado, apple, cilantro and tofu.  When ready to serve toss the salad with the dressing and season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy, and healthy eating! 


  1. This salad looks amazing. So does the rest of your food. Thanks so much for sharing Lisa and Sasha! Your blog is fab!

  2. Jeanne - I thought of you when making this dish :) I hope you get to try it!