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Quinoa & Black Rice Salad with Cumin & Avocado

a white bowl of quinoa and black rice salad


Have you tried it?

I’ve eaten it here and there, at potlucks and other gatherings, and was never really taken with it. But I knew it had potential. I just needed to find a recipe that intrigued me, that had bigger flavor.

Then my eyes rested upon this beautiful photo of a quinoa salad in the November issue of Bon Appetit. I knew my time had come. This recipe was to be my springboard into the Land of Quinoa.

People usually think of quinoa as a grain, but it is actually a seed from a plant related to beets and spinach. This ancient seed is native to South America and was once called “the gold of the Incas”, as it provided their warriors with protein-induced stamina.

Quinoa is also very delicious. I’ve come to think of it as a lighter, fluffier, more delicate version of the wild rice nuttiness that I dearly love.

This recipe calls for red quinoa and black rice, which I couldn’t find at my local grocery store. If you have trouble finding it, too, you could easily substitute the red quinoa for the more available yellow, and the black rice for another short-grain rice. But I was determined to make the recipe as that beautiful Bon Appetit photo depicted. So when I was near Whole Foods a couple weeks ago, I stopped in to scoop up some red quinoa and black rice from their bulk bins. I even bagged up some extra, as I was certain this salad was going to be a good one.

And it was!

I absolutely fell in love with quinoa, all nestled in with the warmness of cumin seeds and the creaminess of avocado. With a squeeze of bright and tangy lemon, this Quinoa & Black Rice Salad with Cumin & Avocado is a dish I have found myself craving ever since I finished it off. And the rest of the family liked it, too. Even our youngest daughter, who finds wild rice just too much to chew, gobbled this fabulous quinoa salad up. If you haven’t yet tried quinoa, I highly recommend starting right here!

Do you have a favorite quinoa recipe?
I’m looking forward to eating alot more of it
and would love for you to share with me.

a white bowl of quinoa and black rice salad

Quinoa & Black Rice Salad with Cumin & Avocado

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 50 minutes
total time: 55 minutes
Quinoa & Black Rice Salad with Cumin & Avocado is a salad recipe that makes for a great lunch, or an easy dinner. This vegetarian rice salad is easy to make and incredibly delicious!
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  • ½ c. short-grain black rice or substitute another color of short-grain rice
  • 1 c. red quinoa rinsed well (or substitue another color of quinoa)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 T. extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 T. 1″ pieces chives
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 avocados peeled, pitted, and sliced into wedges
  • 1 lemon sliced into wedges


  • Bring rice and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • While the rice is cooking, combine the quinoa, bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the quinoa and let it sit in the hot saucepan, covered, for 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Fluff quinoa with a fork.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add this to quinoa. Then add the rice to the quinoa mixture and stir well. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, fresh lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve salad with avocado and lemon wedges.


Note: black rice and red quinoa are available at better supermarkets and at natural foods and specialty foods stores. I found mine at Whole Foods.
Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit magazine, November 2011

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 260kcal Carbohydrates: 20g Protein: 4g Fat: 20g Saturated Fat: 3g Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g Sodium: 163mg Fiber: 6g Sugar: 2g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!

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22 comments on “Quinoa & Black Rice Salad with Cumin & Avocado”

  1. Is this salad chilled or eaten warm? I just made it and it tastes great! Seems like it could go either way. Thanks!

  2. Sooo yummy!!! Made this for lunch just now and it is delicious! I didn’t have any rice or a bay leaf but it’s really good even without it!! My boyfriend loves it too!

    1. Hi Jennifer! Truthfully, every meal I ate of this, it was the main course. It’s light and bright, yet satisfying and filling. But if you wanted to serve it as a side, I think I would first turn to chicken. Probably a grilled chicken breast. Please let me know if you try it!

  3. Every time I see quinoa (it’s sold in the same store as my vanilla beans) I always go to reach for a small bag but then I end up putting it back on the shelf. I’ve never tried it yet and while I know it is very healthy for you I still haven’t seen a recipe where I felt the urge to keep the bag in my shopping cart. Until this one that is. This is the most appetizing looking quinoa I’ve seen and now I’m even more curious than ever to try it.

  4. I’ve just started using black rice, I really like it! The flavour is so much nuttier than normal rice which gives it that edge. I’ll keep this recipie on file for when I’m cokking for my friends, looks like such a classy yet relaxed dinner party dish!

  5. What a beautiful salad! We raise avocados on our family farm and even ship them in gift boxes and subscriptions to avocado-lovers all over the USA. Every day I post recipes on our Facebook page…the most creative avocado recipes I can find. Today your blog post link is on our page! Facebook/Avocados_Direct. Thank you! I’ll be trying this salad soon…we love quinoa!

  6. This recipe looks delicious! I’ve been a fan of quinoa for a while. My favorite way to serve it is as a stir-fry. I saute up whatever veggies I have on hand, usually onion, peppers, squash, sweet potato, asparagus, garlic, kale, carrots, spinach, etc., and toss in a cup or two of cooked quinoa (cooked in broth for more flavor) at the end. Right before serving I’ll toss a few shakes of hot sauce in there (cuz I’m crazy that way) and pile on a good heap of goat cheese. OOOOOOOH MY GOODNESS, is it good. Easy to make a 1 person meal with leftovers for lunch.

    I also like to add a half a cup to soups to make them more filling. especially good in lentil soup.

  7. SHUT the front foor! Just this morning I was thinking “I want a quinoa and black rice salad, in 1 bowl.” Both of which I have in my house begging to be used. Dinner is served!

    1. I was so sad when it was gone. It was just the perfect light, yet filling, bowl to look forward to. This will be made often around here!