Healthy, Gluten-Free Salads Feed the Senses

Healthy, hearty gluten-free recipes for Avocado-Grapefruit Salad, and Georgia Pecan Confetti Quinoa.

Avocado, Grapefruit Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette and Toasted Georgia Pecans
Georgia Pecan Confetti Quinoa

(Family Features) Many people think eating a salad is healthy. However, add-on ingredients like-cheese, bacon, croutons and loads of salad dressing pretty much take that salad out of the healthy category. But it really is possible to make a great-tasting salad that is still good for you.

Carolyn O'Neil, M.S., R.D., and co-author of "The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!" recommends salads that appeal to all of the senses. O'Neil created the two recipes below, which are beautiful to look at, have refreshing aromas, great taste and the satisfying crunch of Georgia Pecans. With the highest amount of antioxidants of any tree nut, Georgia Pecans are an excellent inclusion in a heart-smart diet and have earned the American Heart Association's Heart Check-mark certification.

  • The Avocado-Grapefruit Salad adds beauty and interest to your plate with healthy, colorful, crunchy ingredients. Dark greens add a big flavor punch, and grapefruit brings the tangy taste of citrus. Avocados are a good alternative for cheese. Toasted, heart-healthy Georgia Pecans substitute for the crunch of croutons and for the flavor hit of bacon. (You could even use smoked pecans.) The vinaigrette is made with fresh grapefruit juice from the segmented grapefruit and red wine vinegar.

  • The Georgia Pecan Confetti Quinoa is a satisfying salad without any greens. Quinoa is a delicious gluten-free grain that cooks up light and fluffy like rice but contains more protein. This recipe, featuring confetti colored sprinklings of orange, green and yellow veggies, is flavored with garlic and rosemary. Crunchy Georgia Pecans add even more great taste and nutrition because pecans are a super source of heart-healthy fats and antioxidants, and are low on the glycemic index.

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Avocado, Grapefruit Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette and Toasted Georgia Pecans


For salad
  • 1-2 heads Bibb lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 bunch arugula, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 2 Haas avocados, ripe but firm, peeled and cubed
  • 2 ruby red or pink grapefruits, peeled and segmented, reserve excess juice
  • 1/2 cup toasted Georgia Pecan halves (toasted in a sauté pan)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
For dressing
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice from segmented grapefruit (approximately 3 tablespoons)
  • Fresh ground salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Arrange lettuce and arugula on large platter.
  2. Arrange avocado and grapefruit segments on the bed of greens.
  3. Combine ingredients for dressing, and drizzle over entire salad.
  4. Garnish with toasted pecans.
  5. Add final garnish of minced parsley.

Serves: Yield 4 servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Nutrition Note: Healthy fats come from pecans, avocados and the olive oil-based vinaigrette. Vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and other plant nutrients are in the grapefruit, greens, avocado and Georgia Pecans.

Georgia Pecan Confetti Quinoa


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow squash
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (prepared to package directions)
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted Georgia Pecan halves (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish)


  1. Heat oil in large skillet and add carrots, zucchini, yellow squash and garlic. Cook until crisp tender.
  2. Fold in cooked quinoa, rosemary and pecans. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.
  3. Present quinoa on a large platter and garnish with additional toasted pecans.

Serves: Yield 6 half-cup servings

SOURCE: Georgia Pecan Commission

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