Being a food blogger, I feel a lot of pressure when I’m invited to a potluck. Over the years I’ve managed to quell this anxiety by keeping it simple and having a stable of crowd pleasers at the ready. This curried quinoa salad is one of those dishes never fails delight and it’s ridiculously simply to make.
A confetti of wholesome ingredients it’s as fun to eat as it is delicious. With earthy pine nuts, sweet cranberries, verdant parsley, creamy yogurt and a wonderful bouquet of spices from the curry powder, it presents different flavors with every bite, keeping you going back for more.
Not only is it gluten-free, it can easily be made vegan by substituting soy yogurt for the yogurt. For the dried fruit and nuts, currants, raisins, dried apricots, slivered almonds, and walnuts all make wonderful substitutes depending on what you have on hand. And if for some reason you don’t have/don’t like quinoa, couscous and farro both make great bases for this versatile salad.
While some brands of quinoa come pre-washed, if yours doesn’t or you’re not sure, you need to thoroughly wash it. Quinoa seeds are naturally coated with a bitter tasting compound called saponin. If you don’t wash it all off it will make your quinoa taste bitter.
Curried Quinoa Salad
- 170 grams red quinoa (~1 cup)
- 1 3/4 cups water
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 25 grams flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 50 grams dried cranberries (~1/4 cup), roughly chopped
- 45 grams toasted pine nuts (~1/4 cup)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a wire strainer using your hand to agitate the quinoa to release all the saponin on the surface. Drain the quinoa well and transfer it to a pot.
- Add the water and bring the pot to a boil. Turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes or until there’s no water left in the pan and the quinoa is tender.
- Meanwhile, add the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and black pepper to a bowl and whisk to combine.
- When the quinoa is cooked, transfer it to a bowl and add the yogurt dressing while the quinoa is still hot. Stir until all the dressing is absorbed and let the salad cool.
- When the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add the parsley, cranberries, pine nuts and scallions. Stir to combine and serve, or cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Yield: 2 meal sized servings or 8-12 party sized servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.