Caramelized Fennel and Avocado Quinoa Salad

This was a Mother’s Day concoction… Light, fresh and tasty with a satisfying contrast of sweet, tangy, and rich flavors. Just for giggles, I used a mix of regular and red quinoa for a little extra color.

1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup red quinoa
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
2 bulbs fennel
1-2 ripe avocados, depending on size and how much you adore them
1 large ruby grapefruit
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Citrus Vinaigrette
juice of 1 ruby grapefruit
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup champagne vinegar (or raw apple cider vinegar for those diets that require it)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
couple tablespoons minced greens from the fennel bulbs above
salt & pepper to taste

Cook quinoa (boil 1 cup of water, add quinoa, turn down heat & simmer for 15-20 minutes, until water is absorbed), fluff with a fork, and stick in the fridge to cool.

Trim fennel bulb and set greens aside for garnish & dressing. Slice the bulbs in half and cut into wedges about 1/2-1 inch on the thick end. Heat olive oil and butter on medium-low in a very large frying pan (you want most of the wedges to be able to hit the bottom of the pan).  Sauté fennel for about 1/2 hour, stirring and turning occasionally (but not constantly), until the edges start turning a nice caramel-ly golden brown. If it seems like they’re cooking too fast or burning, turn the heat down more. Long and slow is the key to super yummy caramelized goodness. And butter. If the pan starts drying out or the fennel starts to stick, add a little more butter. When fennel is done, set aside to cool.

Chop avocados and set aside. Chop up grapefruit in whichever way you can cope with. I tend to the more uptight version of trimming off all the white pith off the outside then removing the segments from their tough, bitter casings. But, if you’re in a hurry, just chop away however you want.

Mix all the vinaigrette ingredients together. Once the quinoa has cooled completely, mix together all salad ingredients & dressing (use only as much as you like for flavor), except the fennel. Add salt & pepper to taste. Place fennel wedges around each plate and spoon the salad in the middle. Sprinkle some of the feathery fennel greens on top and enjoy!

If in season, this might be fun with some pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top.  Serves 4.

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One thought on “Caramelized Fennel and Avocado Quinoa Salad

  1. Oh, man, I should not read food blogs after dinner. This salad totally makes me want to go right back into the kitchen! It’s gorgeous and both the flavor and texture combinations sound amazing.

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