This vibrant curry quinoa salad hits all the right notes!
It's savory, slightly sweet, has a little crunch, and is full of bright flavors and textures.
My other favorite black bean and quinoa salad has become an internet favorite, so I get a lot of requests on how to mix up a quinoa salad.
This curry quinoa salad recipe is loosely based on Ina Garten’s Curry Couscous salad (LOVE The Barefoot Contessa) but this one uses quinoa instead of couscous to up the protein, fiber, and all-around nutrition.
Couscous is actually a gluten-containing pasta and is pretty void of any nutrients.
Quinoa, on the other hand, is a gluten-free grain and full of good nutrition. The rest of the ingredients in this curry quinoa salad are also packed with nutrition, making this a fantastic healthy meal any time of day.
Curry Quinoa Salad Ingredients
This curry quinoa salad comes together with just a few simple ingredients. You may already have some of them in your pantry!
- Quinoa: The main event in your quinoa salad. Quinoa is full of protein, fiber and other nutrients to keep you full and satisfied.
- Yellow Curry Powder: Yellow curry powder has a wonderfully complex flavor. We use it twice, once while the quinoa cooks and again in the dressing. Look for mild, or use medium if you want some heat. All yellow curry blends can be slightly different depending on the brand you buy. I like to look for one without fillers or preservatives and usually use the one from Savory Spice Shop, which contains coriander, turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, anise, cumin, Saigon cinnamon, black pepper, regular yellow mustard, cayenne, mace and cardamom
- Turmeric: I like to add a little extra turmeric to get the bright yellow color and bump up the antioxidant power of this quinoa salad, but yellow curry powder contains turmeric so feel free to leave this out if you don't have any on hand.
- Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt gives curry quinoa salad a mild tang and creamy dressing. You can make this dish vegan by using coconut yogurt instead.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I like the mixture of the yogurt and olive oil here for flavor, texture, and nutritional benefits, but you can reduce or even omit the oil and add an extra tablespoon to yogurt if desired. If you that, whisk 2 tablespoons of water into the dressing to thin it out a bit.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV helps thin out the dressing and adds a bit more tang to brighten up the flavor profile here.
- Veggies: The combo of carrots, scallions (aka green onions), and cilantro really make this curry quinoa salad! Leave the cilantro out if you don't like it. Fee free to add a handful of chopped baby spinach if you need to use some up.
- Currants: Everything here is savory, so adding a sweet element takes this quinoa salad from good to great. I like currants, but you could use raisins or even dried cranberries if that works better for you. Currants are small, so chop up the raisins or cranberries if you use them.
- Nuts: I rotate between slivered almonds and dry roasted cashews here—both are great! The carrots, scallions and nuts give this quinoa salad an awesome crunch that will keep you wanting more.
- Additions: Feel free to add a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas or chicken to make this dish even more filling.
How to make a great quinoa salad
- Cook the quinoa: Prepare the quinoa (learn how to make perfectly fluffy quinoa here.)
- Make the dressing: While the quinoa cooks, whisk the dressing in the bottom of a large bowl.
- Chop the veggies: Chop the veggies and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Mix it up: Once your quinoa is cooked and fluffy, add it to the bowl of dressing. Give it one mix (the warm quinoa will start to absorb the dressing), then add in the remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
- Keep it in the fridge: Curry quinoa salad is great right away but gets even better as it sits to allow the quinoa to absorb the dressing. I like to let this sit in the fridge for at least an hour before eating.
How long does curry quinoa salad keep in the fridge?
Curry quinoa salad comes together in about 20 minutes.
You can eat it right away, and I find it gets even better if you let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour. It's also awesome the next day and will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days, so make enough lunch all week.
How can I make this dairy-free? If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know that I like to make dairy-free recipes often.
When I do eat dairy, I like to use Greek yogurt because it contains probiotics and I always feel good when I eat it. I also like goat cheese because it contains medium-chain fatty acids which are easier to digest (as opposed to cow's milk cheese which contains long-chain fatty acids, which are more difficult to digest.
You can easily make this quinoa salad dairy-free by using unsweetened coconut yogurt instead of Greek yogurt if that works better for you.Print
This yellow curry quinoa salad is loaded with amazing flavors and has just the right amount of crunch. We like to whip up this quinoa salad on Sunday to enjoy for lunch all week long. Check out the recipe notes for substitution ideas if needed.
- ¾ cup dried quinoa, rinsed
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon mild yellow curry powder
- 1 ¼ cup purified water
- ¼ cup plain unsweetened Greek Yogurt (plain coconut yogurt works, too)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon mild yellow curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Veggies + Nuts:
- ½ cup diced carrots (about 2 small or 1 large carrot)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts
- ⅓ cup dried currants (or substitute raisins)
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds (roasted cashews are a good substitute too)
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Prepare the quinoa first. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer or colander and rinse well until the water runs clear, about 30 seconds. Let the quinoa drain for a few seconds, then add the rinsed quinoa, salt, curry powder and water to a medium saucepan.
- Bring it to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Set a timer for 12 minutes. Check at 11 minutes—it will be done once all of the water is absorbed. Be careful not to let it go too long and burn to the pan.
- Once all of the water is absorbed, turn the heat off and fluff it with a fork. ¾ cup dried quinoa will yield 1.5 cups cooked.
- While the quinoa cooks, whisk all of the dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large mixing bowl big enough to hold the entire salad then prepare the veggies. I find making the dressing and prepping the veggies is about the perfect amount of time to let the quinoa cook.
- Once the quinoa is cooked, add it while it’s still warm to the dressing, then add the rest of the ingredients and fold it all together.
- Let it sit at least 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator to cool.
- Will keep in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Tip: If you already have 1.5 cups of prepared quinoa, just add the extra ½ teaspoon of salt and curry powder to the dressing. This salad is delicious if you can prepare the quinoa from scratch and flavor it as it cooks, but it will come together super quick and easy if you already have quinoa prepared.
Keywords: quinoa salad, curry quinoa salad
More Quinoa Recipes:
- Superfood Black Bean & Quinoa Salad Recipe
- Fall Harvest Quinoa Bowl
- Fiesta Quinoa Soup
- How to Make Perfectly Fluffy Quinoa
- Lemony Chicken Quinoa Soup
- Quinoa Breakfast Bowls