With its pretty presentation and fancy ingredients, this appetizer is lovely to serve at an elegant brunch, an afternoon tea party, or a bridal shower. You can prepare the salad ahead of time, but don’t cut up or add the avocado until just before serving, as avocado quickly turns brown when exposed to air.

Quinoa-Crab Salad in Lettuce Cups


1 cup white quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
8 ounces cooked crab meat, picked through for shells
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, plus 12 to 16 tarragon sprigs for garnish
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
pinch of white pepper
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads Bibb lettuce, separated into individual leaves paprika, for garnish


1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool to room temperature.

2. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, crab meat, avocado, capers, and tarragon.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Continue whisking and gradually drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth. Drizzle over the quinoa mixture and stir gently to coat.

4. Just before serving, arrange the lettuce cups on a platter or place on individual salad plates. Spoon ¼ to ⅓ cup of the quinoa-crab salad into each lettuce cup. Sprinkle with paprika and top each serving with a sprig of tarragon.

Makes 12 to 16 Lettuce Cups.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Quinoa Cuisine.*