Roasted Carrot, Avocado, Pistachio, and Quinoa Salad

Roasted Carrot, Avocado, Pistachio, and Quinoa Salad

Roasted Carrot, Avocado, Pistachio, and Quinoa Salad, excerpted from Grains for Every Season by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021. Photographs by AJ Meeker.

Excerpted from Grains for Every Season by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021.

Joshua McFadden’s first book, the James Beard Award-winning and perennially bestselling Six Seasons, transformed the way we cook with vegetables. Now he’s back with a new book that applies his maximalist approach to flavour and texture to cooking with grains. These knock-your-socks-off recipes include salads, soups, pastas, pizzas, grain bowls, breads—and even desserts.

McFadden works as intuitively, as surprisingly, as deliciously with whole grains as he does with vegetables. Grains for Every Season will change the way we cook with barley, brown rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, wheat (bulgur, farro, freekeh, spelt, wheat berries, and whole wheat flour), and wild rice.

The book’s 200 recipes are organized into chapters by grain type, unlocking information on where each one comes from, how to prepare it, and why the author—the multi-award-winning chef/owner of Ava Gene’s in Portland—can’t live without it. McFadden uses grains both whole and milled into flour. The many gluten-free recipes are clearly designated.

McFadden reveals how each grain can be used in both savoury and sweet recipes, from Meat Loaf with Barley and Mushrooms to Peanut Butter–Barley Cookies; from Buckwheat, Lime and Herb Salad to Buckwheat Cream Scones.

He folds quinoa into tempura batter to give veggies extra pop and takes advantage of the nutty flavour of spelt flour for Cast-Iron Skillet Spelt Cinnamon Rolls. Four special foldout sections highlight seasonal variations on grain bowls, stir-fries, pizzas, pilafs, and more, to show how flexible and satisfying cooking with grains can be.

Grains for Every Season: Rethinking Our Way with Grains is available at and  

Roasted Carrot, Avocado, Pistachio, and Quinoa Salad

This salad is delicious just as it is, but you can make it a meal by adding grilled shrimp, chicken, or tofu. For a real upgrade, whisk a little lime juice (plus a bit of water and salt) into cashew butter until it’s spreadable and use it to make a creamy base on your plate before piling on the salad. 

Serves 2

⅔ cup (120 g) uncooked quinoa

1¼ cups (300 ml) water

Kosher salt

8 ounces (225 g) carrots, cut into small chunks

Extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon dried chile flakes

½ medium red onion, cut into 4 wedges

Freshly ground black pepper

½ cup (60 g) pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped

1 cup lightly packed (30 g) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

About ⅓ cup (80 ml) Fresh Orange and Garlic Confit Vinaigrette (page 319), or freshly squeezed orange juice mixed with extra-virgin olive oil in a ratio of about 1:2.

1 large or 2 smaller avocados

Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with a lid, along with the water and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then quickly reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook at a simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. If the quinoa is tender but there’s liquid left, just drain it off; if the water has been absorbed but the quinoa isn’t fully tender, add a few tablespoons more water and keep cooking until tender. Cool completely.

Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Put the carrots in a bowl and toss with a nice glug of olive oil, the chile flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread onto a sheet pan.

Put the onion wedges in the same bowl. Drizzle on a bit of olive oil, season with ½ teaspoon salt and a few twists of black pepper, and toss gently to coat with oil but not break up the onion layers too much. Put the onion on another sheet pan or in a smaller baking dish.

Roast the carrots until tender and starting to brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Roast the onion until it’s also tender and starting to caramelize around the edges but not drying out, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of your onion.

Put the roasted carrots and onion, quinoa, pistachios, and parsley in a bowl and toss gently. Drizzle on about half the vinaigrette and toss again.

Halve and pit the avocado(s) and, with a spoon, scoop out chunks of the flesh into the bowl. Toss again gently, trying not to smash up the avocado too much. Taste and season with more vinaigrette, chile flakes, salt, or black pepper.

Fresh Orange and Garlic Confit Vinaigrette

A basic navel orange works just fine in this dressing, but feel free to play with some of the other wonderful citrus varieties that are in season during the colder months. Cara Cara oranges are sweet and a beautiful blush pink, blood oranges will bring even more dramatic magenta color, and any sort of tangerine or satsuma is extra sweet and perfumey. You can adjust the amount of vinegar to match the sweetness or tartness of your fruit.

Makes about 1 cup (240 ml)

1 medium orange

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Garlic Confit (recipe follows)

Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

Using a rasp-style grater, zest the orange into a small bowl. Cut in half and squeeze out the juice; you want about ½ cup (120 ml). Fish out any seeds. Whisk in the vinegar, honey, salt, and a few twists of black pepper.

Pour the orange mixture into a food processor. Reserving the garlic oil, drain the garlic cloves and add them to the food processor. Process until smooth. Measure out ½ cup (120 ml) of the reserved garlic oil (if you don’t have the full ½ cup, supplement with plain olive oil). With the machine running, pour in the oil. Taste and adjust with more vinegar, honey, salt, or pepper. The dressing should be fruity, lightly garlicky, and not too sharp. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Excerpted from Grains for Every Season by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021. Photographs by AJ Meeker.

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