I ran into the grocery store a few days ago, to pick up one or two items for a recipe I was making. You know how that goes, right?
I didn’t get very far before something wonderful caught my eye. Something that made me instantly decide to make this Fresh Corn and Avocado Quinoa Salad as part of our dinner that evening. Actually, it was right there in front of me as I walked through the automatic doors; a display piled high with beautiful ears of fresh corn, for a great price! Not local corn ………. here in North Carolina, the corn has probably just recently been planted. It’s still in the form of tiny, hard kernels, sleeping in the cool earth, waiting patiently for the spring rains and warm sun to do their amazing magic.
This corn was grown a few states south of us where warm, sunny days were abundant way back in January and harvesting is already in progress. The display included a big empty bin sitting along side, making it simple to husk the corn right there and take it home, all set to transform into salsas, sandwiches, soups and salads.
I was thrilled as I unwrapped the first ear, unveiling tiny, tender, plump kernels in shades of off white and pale yellow. I didn’t waste any time filling up a big bag bursting with the lovely golden ears. My mind was starting to race as I finished my shopping, planning what I’d do with my “corn loot”.
I wanted a healthy salad with lots of protein that would work as a complete dinner meal, but could also be used for quick lunches on the go. Quinoa seemed like the perfect choice for the base, as it’s a protein and fiber rich grain with mild flavor. To me it’s a bit like a blank palette that can take on a myriad of different flavor and ingredient combinations. I remembered a fabulous Corn Sauté that I love to make each summer and decided to use some of the same ingredients (and a few new ones) in this quinoa salad. I included shallots, ginger, garlic, green onions, a splash of lime juice, fresh cilantro and basil, avocado, cherry tomatoes and Feta cheese in a addition to the fresh corn kernels I sliced off the cobs.
After throwing it together (once the quinoa is cooked and cooled, it takes only a few minutes), I took a bowl of my newly created Fresh Corn and Avocado Quinoa Salad to my husband (and very honest taste-tester). He’s not always an ardent fan of quinoa so I was quite pleased when his eyes lit up with the first taste. “Wow, this is really good!” was his response as he gobbled it up. I felt the same way. The flavors are so fresh and vibrant. I couldn’t wait to eat it again for lunch ………. two days in a row!
There’s a small container left in the fridge. After writing this post and looking at the pictures, I’m really craving this wonderful salad again. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go indulge … Try it! I think you’ll love it too!!
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- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 medium clove garlic
- 6 ears fresh corn husks and silks removed, kernels cut from cobs
- 1 medium bunch green onions thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- ½-1 teaspoon sea salt start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 medium avocado peeled cored and diced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
- chopped fresh cilantro and basil for garnish if desired
Prepare quinoa according to directions found here. Set aside while preparing the rest of the salad.
In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until softened and fragrant. Be careful not to burn. Add ginger and garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, continuing to stir.
Add corn and green onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with lime juice fresh herbs, salt and pepper, stir to evenly distribute.
Add prepared quinoa, diced avocado, cherry tomatoes and half of the Feta. Stir gently to distribute all ingredients evenly. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls. Garnish with remaining feta and more fresh herbs, if desired.
This makes a lovely main dish salad but it's also a great side for grilled entrees.