Quinoa Salad with Piñata® Apples, Avocados and Walnuts

Jennifer from our Kitchen Council is sharing one of her favorite healthy dishes for enjoying in January.

It’s January! That means we’re all recovering from the overindulgence of the holidays. Well, at least I am, and I know I’m not completely alone. It’s hard not to be to lured by all of those end-of-the-year temptations. Thankfully, January is always a great time to start with a clean slate and focus on healthy eating. This quinoa apple salad with avocados and walnuts is light, flavorful and refreshing. It’s a perfect option for a healthy lunch, and it can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or even chilled. It’s also a wonderful side dish served alongside dinner. The mixture of crisp Piñata apples, creamy avocados and crunchy walnuts offer a pleasing balance of colors and textures.

You can easily swap out quinoa with another one of your favorite whole grains. However, quinoa is a great option because it’s very high in protein and fiber, meaning the salad will keep you satiated until dinner time. The key to preparing quinoa is to make sure to triple wash it before cooking. This will eliminate the iron-like aftertaste that sometimes gives quinoa a bad reputation. I’ve detailed this process in the instructions. While apples and avocados can potentially oxidize, using lemon juice is the salad dressing helps delay the process.

Quinoa Salad with Piñata Apples, Avocados and Walnuts

Number of Servings:  6-8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Level of Difficulty: Easy


For the vinaigrette:

  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (approximately 3 lemons)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt, plus a pinch
  • 2 Piñata apples, diced
  • 2 ripe, but firm avocados, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • Ground black pepper


  1. To prepare the vinaigrette, puree the honey, lemon juice, water, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper in a blender. Alternately, combine the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to emulsify. Set aside.
  2. Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and place the strainer in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water and soak the quinoa for 5-7 minutes. Remove the strainer with the quinoa and drain the water from the bowl. Repeat this process two more times for a total of three washes. This will remove any unpleasant aftertaste from the quinoa.
  3. Combine the quinoa with 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and cover. Simmer for 13-15 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked through.
  4. Move the quinoa to a large bowl and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Add the Pinata apples, avocados, walnuts, scallions, remaining salt, and pepper. Gently toss to combine.
  5. Briefly whisk the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and then pour over the quinoa mixture, tossing to combine with the other ingredients.

Categorized in: Recipes

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