Avocados Stuffed with Solterito Salad

Recipe and photo contributed by Morena Escardó Yield:  4 servings
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  35 minutes

Avocados Stuffed with Solterito Salad

This colorful and refreshing dish is a creative way of turning two traditional Peruvian dishes into one. Palta rellena (stuffed avocado) is a popular summer appetizer, usually filled with tuna, shrimp, or any kind of salad. Solterito, on the other hand, is an Andean salad from the Arequipa region, made with fava beans, onions, tomato, fresh cheese, and chili pepper. This version has the addition of quinoa, making it a tasty and satisfying meal. It can be made vegan and pareve by leaving the cheese out or adding cubed tofu instead of cheese.

Ingredients

⅓ cup quinoa

½ medium potato, peeled and  cut into ½-inch cubes (about ¼ cup)

½ cup frozen baby lima beans (if you avoid lima beans as kitniyot as part of Passover, omit; see Kitchen Tip)

¼ cup chopped tomato

¼ cup chopped red bell pepper

1 tablespoon chopped rocoto chile pepper or other red chili pepper (or more if you like it hotter)

¼ cup sliced black olives (alfonso or botija)

¼ cup chopped red onion (about ¼ medium onion)

½ cup cubed feta cheese (½-inch cubes)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves (about ½ large bunch)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon dried oregano

4 large ripe Hass avocados

Instructions

  1. Put the quinoa and 1 cup water in a small pan and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes, until a white ring appears around each seed. If there is any water left in the pan, strain using a colander. Reserve.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, put the potatoes in a small pan filled with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 5–7 minutes, or until tender. You should be able to pierce the cubes with a fork, but they should keep their shape. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and reserve the pan and the water in it.
  3. Add the baby lima beans to the reserved pan, and cook for 3 minutes, or until al dente. Let them cool for 5 minutes, and peel each been, by pressing them at the base. The skin should come off easily. Transfer to the bowl with the potatoes.
  4. While the quinoa, potatoes, and baby lima beans are cooling, mix the tomato, bell pepper, chili pepper, olives, onion, cheese, and cilantro in another bowl.
  5. Prepare the dressing by mixing the olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, black pepper, and oregano in a cup, until smooth.
  6. Cut the avocados in half. Peel, and discard the pits (see Kitchen Tip). Carve some of the pulp from the center of each half, and either store it in the fridge to use in another dish, or cut it in cubes and add it to the solterito. Place 2 avocado halves in each plate.
  7. Mix the potatoes, baby lima beans, and quinoa with the rest of the vegetables, and pour the dressing on top. Mix well. Fill each avocado half with as much solterito salad as possible, and serve some more on the side, if desired.

Kitchen Tips

  1. Quinoa may take a bit longer to cook if you use the red or black varieties. In this case, add half a cup extra water, and keep checking it until a white ring appears around each seed. Add more water if needed.
  2. Solterito is traditionally spiced with a Peruvian chili pepper called rocoto. If you can find it in brine at a Latin American store, or online, use this instead of regular red hot chili pepper. Rocoto is very spicy, so proceed with caution. You can also use fresh fava beans instead of baby lima beans to make this salad, and you can add cooked Peruvian giant corn to it.
  3.  Solterito is a great appetizer on its own, or perfect to serve as a side for many dishes, or prepare delicious wraps with it as a filling.

From the Test Kitchen:

  1. Kitniyot are foods that are not mandated by any written source to be prohibited for Passover; instead, it is customary to avoid them. Kitniyot are not chametz. What kitniyot are can and does vary significantly from area to area and sometimes home to home. Most Sephardim eat beans and  legumes like favas and limas, and they are very popular for Passover. They also eat corn. Some eat rice, and some do not. Ashkenazim differ about eating corn, but most do not eat rice or beans. The entire question, much less the definition, is anything but settled. Stay tuned.
  2. The avocado contains a large round pit that can be awkward to remove. Here is one way that is especially good if you need to slice it: With a sharp knife, cut around the avocado lengthwise (you won’t be able cut straight through because of the pit). With a hand on each half, twist the halves in opposite directions to detach them. The pit will still be firmly attached to one side. Carefully dig the blade (not the tip) of your knife into the pit and twist to remove the pit. Peel and slice the avocado. If you will be holding the avocado for any length of time, acidulate the flesh with a little lemon or lime juice to prevent it from turning brown when exposed to the air.

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