Exotic Curry Quinoa Salad
A big fresh bowl of chopped veggies mixed with fluffy quinoa and a good dressing is, as all my friends can testify, one of my favourite to-go dishes for entertaining, potlucks, picnics & BBQ’s. It is filling, completely plant based and bursting with amazing flavours and nutrition. And if you’re not a fan of quinoa, you can easily substitute it for other grains, such as couscous, millet, buckwheat or brown/black rice. My preference for quinoa stems from the fact that it, compared to other grains, has a higher protein content (8 gm per cup) while also packing a good amount of fibre, and is free from gluten. And I love the taste and texture – but cooking it right to get it perfectly fluffy is essential. And I’m including that part in the instructions below.
The curry powder and sweet raisins give this salad a great middle eastern twist and reminds me of exotic holidays. The best thing is that you can ‘dress it up’ by adding pomegranate seeds, hummus, falafels & tahini dressing – or whatever strikes your fancy!
Serves 2 people
- 240 ml (1 cup) uncooked quinoa, rinsed + drained
- 480 ml (2 cups) water
- small handful (about ¼ cup) raisins
- ½ large butternut squash (sweet potato works as well)
- large handful fresh coriander, chopped (25 gm)
- small handful fresh mint, chopped (10 gm)
- 2 tsp curry powder (I used a medium spicy one. If you have very spicy, use less)
- salt + pepper
- 4 tbsp tahini
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) fresh lemon juice
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) water – or more, depending on how thin you like it
- ½ tsp curry powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- salt + pepper to taste
Toppings: toasted walnuts, pomegranate seeds, hummus, falafel, tahini dressing, rocket leaves
- Preheat oven to 170C
- Bring water to a boil in a pot. Once boiling, add uncooked quinoa and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat and set a timer for 10 minutes.
- While the quinoa is cooking, peel and cut the butternut squash into pieces, drizzle with a bit of oil, salt + pepper and roast in the oven until soft (about 10-15 mins depending on how large the pieces are).
- After 10 minutes of cooking your quinoa, most of the water should be close to gone and the quinoa beginning to soften. Once the water is gone (but not sticking to the bottom of the pot), turn off the heat, add curry powder and raisins, give it a quick stir, and put a lid on the pot. Leave the pot to sit and steam for 15-20 mins while you prep the rest of the salad.
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients and add more lemon or salt + pepper if needed.
- Once the butternut squash is done, remove from oven and leave to cool while you chop the fresh herbs.
- lift the lid off the quinoa and as you stir with a spoon you should have a light and fluffy, perfectly cooked quinoa.
- Add the quinoa, roasted squash + fresh herbs to a large bowl and combine well.
- Serve on a bed of rocket/spinach and top with pomegranates, walnuts and tahini dressing or your toppings of choice.