Quinoa Salad with Pistachios

2 servings

For the salad:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
¼ pound smoked salmon filet
1 avocado

For the vinaigrette:
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Black pepper
1/2-3/4 cup shelled pistachios


Rinse the quinoa before cooking to remove the saponin, a substance that if is not well eliminated, can leave a bitter taste. Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups water; bring to a boil and then cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. If the quinoa seems too dry once it’s fully cooked, just add a little more water. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the skin and pit of the avocado and slice; cut the salmon into pieces approximately ¼ inch thick. Crush the pistachios. Leave some large chunks, to give the salad some crunch. Mix the oil and vinegar (about 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar) and salt to taste. Whisk the vinaigrette to blend the mixture.

To assemble the dish, add a few capers in the quinoa, which combine great with salmon and avocado, and place it on the dish. Next to the quinoa, arrange the slices of salmon and avocado alternately. Sprinkle a little pepper over all. When serving, sprinkle with chopped pistachios and season to taste with the vinaigrette.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!