A couple weeks ago during our anniversary getaway to Chicago, we had the pleasure of eating the most delicious roasted carrot and avocado salad not once, but twice. This heavenly salad graced the menu of both the Pump Room and The Purple Pig, and there was no stopping me from ordering it the second time after the first taste. I really can’t pick favorites, but I did snap a photo of the Purple Pig’s version so I could recreate it at home. Flavorful roasted carrots, creamy avocado, crisp fennel, crunchy toasted quinoa and seeds, plus juicy bites of citrus and a matching vinaigrette? This is one salad that won’t leave you hanging on texture and flavor. Keep reading for my recipe!
Roasted Carrot, Avocado & Toasted Quinoa Salad
1 bunch of small carrots, peeled and some stem left on tops
2 tablespoons of olive oil + 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup quinoa
1 avocado, cut into slices
1/2 small fennel bulb, shaved using a mandoline or very thinly sliced
Juice of half a lemon
Juice of half a blood orange + other half sliced
A few handfuls of mache and arugula
Toasted sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, drizzle carrots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with the cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Using your hands, toss the carrots to evenly distribute the spices onto each. Transfer carrots to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the leaves from several sprigs of thyme. Roast 25 minutes until tender. Immediately out of the oven, slice any of the larger carrots in half lengthwise.
Meanwhile, place quinoa in a bowl and add water to soak for a few minutes. Drain using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse with fresh water and drain thoroughly. Heat a saute pan over medium-low heat and add the wet quinoa. Stir with a wooden spoon until quinoa dries–it will pop, begin to brown and smell nutty. Remove from the heat and let cool.
To create the dressing, squeeze juice from half a lemon and half a blood orange into a bowl. Whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Place a handful of greens on two plates, top with the roasted carrots, fennel, avocado and blood orange slices, and sprinkle with the toasted quinoa and seeds. Drizzle with the citrus dressing and serve with Maldon sea salt flakes.