Quinoa Salad with Curry-Lime Vinaigrette

When Twitter first came on the scene, I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. I had Facebook and email and a blog already, so did I really need another way to connect with people? But I signed up anyway. And, as it has grown, I’ve come to see all sorts of benefits that I could not have previously imagined would come from this micro-blogging/communication/networking phenomenon. I’ve made new friends, found news stories and been given a few new recipe ideas.

This Quinoa Salad with Curry-Lime Vinaigrette is one of those recipes. A friend tweeted she had been thinking a lot about biryani-style quinoa dishes. I was curious and asked for links, which she happily sent along. I liked the idea of them, but neither of the recipes really grabbed me as a whole. Instead, I was more interested in picking and choosing the bits and pieces from each that were intriguing.

And I was more than motivated to try out something similar, having impulse bought a three-pound bag of quinoa from Costco. Seriously. Some people impulse buy gum; that makes a lot more sense.

Cooked quinoa

I’ve liked quinoa for some time, ever since trying it with veggies and a peanut sauce at the Coup. But the idea of cooking it was a bit intimidating. Various reports of it being bitter or improperly cooked were enough to make me shy away from it. And then I saw on the back of this bag that you could cook it in a rice cooker. Can I make a confession here? I don’t really know how to cook rice on the stove because a former boyfriend bought me a cooker when I came back from Japan (where I had fallen in love with the one in my little townhouse). Now that’s all I use. So, knowing I could make perfect quinoa in the rice cooker was enough for me to put the giant bag of the stuff in my equally giant Costco cart.

And then I got it home and didn’t really know what to do with it.

And here we are.

So, I made this salad with quinoa and carrots and zucchini, currants and pine nuts and sort of make-it-up-as-you-go-along dressing based on what I thought would be good with hints from the other two recipes I read. Tossed it all together and it was fantastic. So I ate some more. And then I tweeted it and people started asking for a recipe. So, I made it again last week and actually wrote down what went in this time.

I was at the farmer’s market and bought some oddly coloured carrots (because I also impulse buy strange vegetables) and used them in the salad because I thought they’d be pretty. They were. But the first time I made this I used straight up normal carrots and it was just as fantastic.

Funky white carrot

Purple Carrot

Oh, and here’s the best tip I’ve read in a while for julienning vegetables perfectly. First cut it in diagonal slices, then stack those and cut into sticks. So much easier and they always look fantastic.

Julienned Zucchini

This is great right away, even better if you can let it sit for a bit so everything has a chance to hang out.

Lastly, I’d say that the beauty of a salad is it is infinitely adaptable. Don’t like pine nuts? Use sliced almonds instead. Currants are great, but I bet diced apricots or a handful of dried cranberries would also be delicious. And so on.

Curry-lime vinaigrette

Quinoa salad with curry-lime vinaigrette

Quinoa Salad with Curry-Lime Vinaigrette

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 3 green onions
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used olive because it’s what I had. Any veg oil will be great)

Cook quinoa according to package directions or using the “white rice” setting on a rice cooker. Set aside and let cool then place in large salad bowl.

Julienne carrots and zucchini, then slice green onions. Add to quinoa. Stir in chickpeas, toasted pine nuts and currants.

To make dressing, zest lime into a bowl, then add lime juice and honey. Whisk to dissolve honey, then add salt and spices. While whisking, slowly add oil to emulsify. Pour over salad and toss.

  17 comments for “Quinoa Salad with Curry-Lime Vinaigrette

  1. September 7, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    This looks amazing! I did once make a quinoa salad and while it was good, it wasn’t super awesome. This looks super awesome.

  2. September 7, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Looks delish! Can’t wait to try this one – especially since I am currently detoxing and it will fit nicely into my dietary requirements =) Thanks!

  3. Kat
    September 8, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Curry lime vinaigrette! Sign me up. Yum.

  4. sarah
    September 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    FINALLY, i can offer you a cooking tip. ;)

    one part rice, two parts water, dash of salt….bring to a boil, and then simmer on low till the water is evaporated and the rice is fluffy. = making rice without a rice cooker.

    ….can’t wait to try this new recipe.

  5. Stephanie
    September 9, 2010 at 8:58 am

    I made this last night – delicious! You’re right about it being adaptable; I think next time I might add a red pepper, too. Also, I doubled the recipe (because I have absolutely no ability to make small batches of anything), but I kept the oil at 1/4 cup, and it worked well.

    Thanks for this one – it’s a keeper.

  6. September 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Don’t feel bad – I’m sure very few Asian people know how to make rice without a rice cooker. And now I know I can make quinoa with it too. Awesome.

  7. JenJen
    September 10, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    If you need help to get through your Costco purchase, there’s a great cookbook called Quinoa 365. It has recipes for every dish imaginable and the authors are Canadian.

    I’ve not tried any yet, but a few of my bookstore customers have raved about them. Gorgeous photos, too.

  8. September 14, 2010 at 4:50 am

    Found you while stumbling! This looks amazing. I love quinoa and would love to try this out! Good stuff!

  9. Kristin
    September 14, 2010 at 5:19 am

    I have a rice cooker I brought home with me from Japan too! Do you know which button you push to make the quinoa? Mine is all in Japanese, but I know how to tell it to cook white vs. brown. Would I cook this like brown? And use the same measurements?

    • patentandthepantry
      September 14, 2010 at 10:57 am

      Kristin, I used the white rice setting and the exact same measurements I would use to cook white rice. ie. One scoop = fill water to the one-measure line. Hope that helps!

  10. September 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Yum!
    I’ve developed a new obsession with quinoa. Love the red stuff too.

  11. November 12, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    This looks really good!! I am just starting to learn about what quinoa is, so this kind of post is really helpful :)

  12. June 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I am eating it right now, it is really good. Looks like it is going to be my favorite salad Thanks a lot for sharing !

  13. August 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Tried a variation of this tonight and it was so yummy!

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