The Washington Post

Quinoa Salad With Zucchini, Poblano and Avocado

Quinoa Salad With Zucchini, Poblano and Avocado 2.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Jun 8, 2018

Because you want the quinoa at room temperature to make the salad, it's a good idea to cook it ahead of time. Alternatively, you can spread it out on a plate to cool after it has cooked and briefly rested, or use leftover quinoa. To use leftover grains, substitute 2 1/2 cups in place of the 2/3 cup dry listed here. For add-in and swap-out ideas, see the VARIATIONS, below.

To read the accompanying story, see: Four steps to making a great grain salad, every time.

Make Ahead: The quinoa can be cooked 2 days in advance and dressed 1 day in advance. The vegetables and chives can be prepared a day in advance and held on top of the quinoa; mix in before serving. Cut the avocado just before serving to avoid browning.

2 - 3

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2-3 servings

  • 2/3 cup dried quinoa (see headnote)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced (may substitute green bell pepper)
  • 1/4 cup minced chives (may substitute scallion greens)
  • Flesh of 1 Hass avocado, cut into 1-inch chunks


Rinse and drain the quinoa, then place in a small, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the water; bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, until the quinoa is fluffy and all the water has been absorbed. Allow to cool in the pot. (Alternatively, let it rest in the pot for 15 minutes, then spread the quinoa on a large plate or baking sheet to cool.)

Dissolve the salt in the lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup, then add the black pepper and oil, whisking to form an emulsified dressing.

Combine the cooled quinoa in a bowl with the zucchini, poblano, 2 tablespoons of the chives and the dressing, and fold well to combine. Top with the avocado and remaining chives.

VARIATIONS: If you want to make this salad a little more substantial, you could add cooked white beans or chickpeas (if you're using canned, rinse and drain well before combining). You can also vary the vegetables. Thinly sliced asparagus can be used in addition to or instead of the zucchini, as can radishes, or even leafy greens such as mustards and collards, cut into very thin ribbons. Instead of or in addition to the avocado, you could garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, pistachios, and/or feta or a crumbly goat- or sheep's-milk cheese.

Rate it

Recipe Source

From food writer Emily Horton.

Tested by Helen Horton.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Avg. Rating (4)

Rate this recipe

Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 3): 310

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 19g 29%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 360mg 15%

Total Carbohydrates: 31g 10%

Dietary Fiber: 6g 24%

Sugar: 1g

Protein: 7g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle