Curry Quinoa Salad
This crunchy curry quinoa salad makes a perfect lunch, dinner side, or vibrant addition to any brunch table.
A few weeks ago I traveled to Boulder for a beautiful baby shower brunch in the Colorado mountains. The brunch spread was fresh and vibrant, full of gorgeous salads and fresh veggies. Everything on the table was delicious, but I particularly loved the curried quinoa salad. It was bright, earthy, and packed with crunchy fruits and veggies. It was also perfectly lovely served at room temperature, making it a perfect salad to make ahead and serve a crowd.
After the shower I reached out to Maihaa from The School of Natural Cookery, who catered the shower, to see if she would share the recipe. She graciously responded with a list of ingredients and cooking method, which I adapted into a recipe to share here. As a side note, if you’re interested in learning more about The School of Natural Cookery you can check out their in-person and online training options here.
Since first testing this recipe I’ve been eating it for lunch frequently, since I can make a big batch to have on hand in the fridge and to take on-the-go. If you’re a nurse, teacher, work in an office, or drive your kids all over the place during mealtimes you’ll want to add this to your on-the-go lunch arsenal. It’s packed with healthy fats from the olive oil and seeds, plus tons of fiber from the fruits, veggies and quinoa. There’s also protein in the quinoa, but you can always add chickpeas, a hard boiled egg, or grilled chicken for some extra protein to make this a substantial meal.
The Crunchy Curry Quinoa Salad can and should be make ahead of time, as it needs at least an hour to absorb the dressing. It’s best served at room temperature, so it works wonderfully as part of a brunch spread or as a potluck dish. It’s also a great option for many as it is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. It also makes a perfect summer dinner side to grilled veggies, meat or fish. My guess is that it will become a your spring and summer go-to, so grab the ingredients and make this salad today!
One more side note to this recipe: The baby for which the shower was thrown was born this week to my childhood best friend. She and her husband welcomed a perfect baby boy and we could’t be more excited. Welcome to the world little G, we can’t wait to meet you!
Crunchy Curry Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups dry quinoa
- 1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups English cucumber, diced, from about 1 large
- 2 cups diced green apple, from about 2 medium
- 2 cups diced red bell peppers, from about 2 large
- ¼ cup packed basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
- Rinse the quinoa. Combine rinsed quinoa with the curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 4 cups cold water in a large pot. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 18 minutes. Turn the heat off and let sit, covered, an additional 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl make the dressing by combining the olive oil, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic, whisking until well combined.
- To the dressing add the chickpeas, cucumber, apple, and peppers. Add the warm quinoa and stir until well combined. The mixture will be on the wet side. Let sit at least an hour for the dressing to absorb and flavors to develop.
- Stir in the basil and half the sunflower seeds then cover and chill for up to 3 days. When ready to serve bring to room temperature and serve with a sprinkling of the remaining sunflower seeds.
I’ve just arrived from reading Lauren’s post today on Elle & Co. Your website is beautiful and your recipes are making me feel hungry! I like the look of this quinoa recipe. I bought a packet of quinoa sometime ago and didn’t have a clue how to make it interesting, so I’m pinning this recipe to try next time. It looks yummy, thank you! 🙂
Kathryn, that’s fantastic! I hope you’ll try the salad. Always fun to try new things. I’m so glad you stopped by! 🙂
I finally got around to making this dish and LOVED it plus my hubby who has not shared my love for quinoa up to now loved it as well so adding this recipe to my arsenal. Thanks for posting!!
Zoe, I’m thrilled to hear this! Love when you can find a recipe that you both enjoy. 🙂
Made this last night and it was so delicious! I subbed arugula for the basil. I’ve already passed the recipe along to several friends. Thanks for all the barre3 challenge inspiration!
Megan, ohhhh, I love the arugula swap for basil! Definitely making it that way next time. Thanks for sharing the recipe, and yay for the last week of the Challenge!
This was delicious and so easy! One tip: after you let the quinoa sit in the pot for five minutes after cooking, spread it out on a sheet pan for at least 15 minutes to cool down- that way your fruit and veggies won’t lose any of their crunch! I made a half recipe since there are only two of us-I wil make again! Thinking of using celery instead of cucumber and walnut instead of pepitas but I do love the combo as is!!
Susan, thanks for the tip–such a great idea to let the quinoa cool prior to adding the veggies. I love the celery/walnut idea, too. May have to try it that way next time! 🙂
Hands-down the most delicious Quinoa recipe I have ever tasted. Very simple to make and kept great all week for lunch between classes. Adding some more apple next time cause it was such a great combo with the curry quinoa!
Tyler, yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. I’m with you, more crunch is always better! 🙂
Thanks for the recipe Robyn. I have a small family gathering this weekend and I’m going to make a version of this. I have a nut/seed and apple allergy so I’m thinking of doing dried cranberries or red grapes or even blueberries could work. Can’t wait to play around and report back. 🙂
Michelle, I think cranberries or grapes or blueberries would all work equally well. I hope it’s a hit–def one of my favorite things to bring to gatherings. Cheers!
Delicious and easy with just the right amount of curry flavor. Crunchy with bright tangy flavors. I wasn’t sure how the green apple would work but it added a crisp tanginess that everyone loved. I forgot to buy sunflower seeds but otherwise made it according to the recipe except used mini Persian cucumbers. The seeds weren’t missed but I’m sure would have been nice. I made sure to dice the red peppers and the apple (made rounds out of the Persian cukes which always looks pretty). This will be one of my new favorite salads that I’ll make frequently this summer.
Fantastic, so happy you enjoyed this one! I agree, the apples seem unlikely at first, but end but being a great addition. Thanks so much for leaving a review!
Thank you so much for helping me with everything I mention I need a quinoa salad you have a great recipe I mention I need a curry quinoa salad do you have another great recipe it is so helpful for someone like me that needs to incite joy in my eating. I’m going to go cut some fresh herbs and do just said she say thank you again I give you a five star
Yay, so glad you’re enjoying this one, thanks so much for leaving a review!
This will be a new meal prep staple for me. I wasn’t sure I would like the green apple, but it was the perfect amount of sweet to balance out the curry. Thank you, Robyn!
Yay, so happy to hear you enjoyed this one, Lauren! I too was skeptical about the green apple, but it definitely adds something to the final dish. Thanks so much for leaving a review!