Curry Apple Quinoa Salad

quinoa-salad As Halloween approaches this week, I am more and more convinced that there are two types of people in the world: Candy Scarfers and Candy Hoarders. And nary is there a time when this primary difference is more evident than at a chocolate-laden holiday like Halloween.

I am a hoarder. Or…as I like to put it, a Rationer.

I have specific memories from my childhood of determinedly telling myself that I would take one solitary bite of my Easter bunny each day and make it last weeks longer than my brother’s.

This is me in costume circa 1989. Yeah, I was "raising the roof" before that was a thing.

I remember sitting on my bedroom floor, sorting candy from our church’s Harvest Party into neat little categorical piles…chocolate, chocolate with peanut butter, gummy candies, hard candies…(Type A much? ) and then eating a piece from each category every day…and no more.

quinoa-salad-1 And most recently, I remember being in Sudan, with my dear friend and cohort Jen. At the time, and as I imagine, now, South Sudan isn’t exactly the capital of the candy-eating world. Once in a while, one of us would happen upon an aged candy bar in a dusty corner of a shop that also stocked machetes, and we would tear into only to find that it already had that white and chalky chocolate mold all over it. Yes, we still ate it.

So, after we’d been there a couple of months, we received a care package from the U.S., loaded with candy…for Valentine’s Day. As Jen was essentially my practice spouse, what was mine was hers and hers was mine, so we devised to split the candy.

Now, Jen, is not exactly what you call a candy hoarder. She found little reasons, celebratory moments, if you will, deserving of a chocolate treat, and enjoyed several pieces that day, while I determined to make this candy last. I squirreled away pieces of it in secure places like the zipped pockets of my backpack and ate only a modest piece that day, gloating in the fact that I would be savoring those Skittles in April.

almonds So, you can imagine my devastation when I went to retrive the next day’s piece and found, to my horror, that a rat had chewed through my bag in the middle of the night and bitten into most of the candy. I was used to one-inch mice, who would stand no chance against the sturdy pack material…this rat had meant business and had sunk his ratty little teeth into most of the candy, taking a tantalizing nibble or two out of most pieces, instead of sensibly eating the whole of one.

To this day, we call that bag the “Rat Pack,” and there is still a sizeable hole in the side, as a constant memorial to the wasted candy.Moral of the story? If you are a candy rationer, please…use a sturdy plastic for your hoarding.

Whether you’re a hoarder or not, you should definitely have this quinoa salad for lunch the day of Halloween as a healthy warmup to a night of sugar. This recipe is really simple and fresh. The curry dressing packs a lot of flavor and is something I can imagine using on chicken or fish in the future. I loved the texture of the cold quinoa with the crunchy apples and toasted almonds, and this is one of those recipes you can make on a Monday and eat for lunch all week. My friend, coworker, and fabulous cook Tova made this over the summer and shared the recipe with me, and I’m so glad she did. This is a salad I can see us making all winter.


(Note: the original recipe called for a topping of fresh mint…which, in the spirit of eating seasonally, I didn’t use, but I assure you, that addition would be fabulous.)

Curry Apple Quinoa Salad

Curry Apple Quinoa Salad

(recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Recipes

(yields 5-6 servings)

I adapted this recipe by using 1 c. of slivered almonds instead of a 1/4 c. of whole almonds. I also used onions instead fo shallot, raisins instead of dried currents, and I left off the mint, but I'm sure mint would be a great addition to this salad.


1 c. slivered almonds

1 c. quinoa

1 tsp. honey

1 tbsp. finely chopped onion (I used a sweet red; green onions, shallots, or leeks would be great too)

1 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. coarse salt

2 tbsp. lemon juice

freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. dried currants, raisins, or craisins

2-3 apples, cored and cut into really thin slices*

(optional) 1/4 c. loosely packed mint leaves, chopped


I suggest using a variety like Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Gala - not too sweet and really crunchy.


To Toast the Almonds: Heat a small pan over medium heat. Add the almonds and stir almost constantly for about 3-5 minutes until almonds are just starting to turn tan/brown and becoming quite fragrant. Move to a plate to cool and set aside.


Prepare quinoa according to package directions. I bring 2 c. of water with 1 c. of quinoa to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is tender and chewy. Let cool and set aside.


To make the dressing, whisk together the honey, onion, curry powder, salt, lemon juice, and pepper in a bowl. Whisking constantly, pour the oil into the mixture in a slow steady stream until the dressing is emulsified.


Mix together the quinoa, dressing, apple slices, and dried fruit. Add the toasted nuts JUST before eating. (I keep mine out of the salad for leftovers so they do not become mushy).


This salad keeps really well in the fridge for about 3-4 days.



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4 thoughts on “Curry Apple Quinoa Salad

  1. this salad is dope! It was my first time making anything with quinoa and it was delicious. I love curry and the combination of textures. The freshness and crunch of the apples and the earthy smokiness that the toasted almonds add are amazing. I also added some barely chopped fresh parsley to it.

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