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Curried Quinoa with Spinach and Almonds

Quinoa. It’s one of those words that people are afraid to say in public, because they have no idea how to pronounce it. If you’re one of those folks, allow me to assist you: KEEN-wah. :) Doesn’t it sound romantic?

Quinoa. Quinoa. It has a nice ring to it.

Curried Quinoa 4

Once upon a time, when I had more money than time (now, it’s the opposite), I was really into buyig these vegan Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods soups to take with me as work lunches. My favorite variety was this rice and curry pilaf thingy (it wasn’t really a soup), that was the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and spicy. The flavors were exotic and kind of transported me to somewhere between India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. There were sweet raisins, crunchy slivered almonds, pungent onions…the whole combination was strange to me, but surprisingly addictive.

Sadly, I recently searched the Right Foods website for that rice and curry cup, and it appears that they don’t make it anymore. :( Then I saw Puja’s version of curried quinoa here, and presto! That’s when I made up my mind to try my own version of Dr. McDougall’s rice and curry pilaf  with quinoa instead of rice. Curried Quinoa 2

Before we make the curried quinoa, allow me to briefly walk you through the cooking of quinoa. I think you’ll find this post on helpful, if you’re just learning how to cook quinoa, like I was this week.

First, you’re going to want to rinse your quinoa really, really well–like at least 2 minutes kind of well–in a fine mesh strainer, rubbing the quinoa together with your fingers. I don’t have a fine mesh strainer. But, I do have a kitchen towel laid over a pasta strainer, which works beautifully as an alternative. (If you use the kitchen towel, use a dull knife to scrape the rinsed quinoa off the towel into your saucepan.)

Quinoa seeds have a very bitter coating, which can easily be removed (thankfully), through vigorous rinsing.

Curried Quinoa 5

If you are using pre-rinsed quinoa (unlike me), you are going to want to cook your quinoa with water at a 1:2 ratio–meaning for every 1 cup quinoa, add 2 cups water.

If you’ve just now rinsed your quinoa (like me), and you’re not going to wait for your quinoa to dry, just add 1 and 3/4 cups of water to your 1 cup of quinoa now, instead of 2 cups of water. I went ahead and added 1 teaspoon of olive oil in there as well, to keep everything from getting too sticky. (FYI: 1 cup rinsed wet quinoa + 1 and 3/4 cup water = 3 cups cooked quinoa)

Curried Quinoa 6

Turn your stove up to medium-high heat. When your quinoa mixture starts boiling, turn down the heat to medium-low and cover. Allow it to simmer for about 13 to 15 minutes. When it’s done, your quinoa should smell amazing and look something like this:

Curried Quinoa 7

And then, when you’re really done, it will look something like this:

Curried Quinoa 1

I hope you give this a try, and let me know how it turns out. :)

If you have a second, and you want to check out a quickie interview I did with, check out the link here:

Have a great weekend!

Curried Quinoa with Spinach

Serves 2
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Allergy Tree Nuts
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Hot


  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (Follow instructions above, utilizing 1 cup dry quinoa)
  • 3/4 cups chopped onion (about 1/2 of a large onion)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon pure cane sugar (or agave nectar or other sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or cardomom
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 handful fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Step 1
In a large skillet or frying pan, saute chopped onion with garlic in olive oil on medium high heat until onions are nearly transparent.
Step 2
Next, add raisins, water, half of your cooked quinoa, and seasonings. Gently stir until everything is well-incorporated.
Step 3
Add remaining half of your cooked quinoa along with your spinach. When spinach has wilted to your desired consistency, add cilantro and almonds.
Step 4
Remove from heat, and serve.
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{ 20 comments… add one }

  • chow vegan June 21, 2013, 11:01 am

    I don’t make quinoa nearly enough, love the look of yours with the curry and spinach. It took me awhile but now I remember how to pronounce quinoa. Yeah, I was one of those people. :-)

    • Lindsay June 21, 2013, 9:59 pm

      Lol. I think nearly all of us have been “one of those people” at some point or another. :) Glad I was able to spark a reminder.

  • Heather Koerber June 21, 2013, 9:07 pm

    made this today- it was really yummy. added dried cranberries instead of raisins and didn’t have any spinach so i omitted that. thanks for the recipe!

    • Lindsay June 21, 2013, 9:58 pm

      Fabulous! Thanks, Heather. Cranberries sound like a delicious addition. Happy Sabbath!

  • Daniel @ TickleMyTastebuds June 23, 2013, 11:18 am

    Not much of a vegan fan; but can’t fault this – looks delicious!

    • Lindsay June 24, 2013, 6:59 am

      Thanks, Daniel!

  • Kelly @ Vegan Iowan June 23, 2013, 8:44 pm

    This looks so filling and healthy! It never occurred to me to spice quinoa with Indian flavors.

    • Lindsay June 24, 2013, 6:59 am

      ahahahhaha…you can leave out the cumin, Kelly. ;)

  • Rita September 23, 2013, 1:48 pm

    Thanks for this delicious recipe Lindsay. When I cooked the quinoa, I used equal parts c0c0nut milk and water. It really enhanced the indian spices.

    • Lindsay September 23, 2013, 6:26 pm

      Rita! What a great idea! LOVE it.

  • Alicia Rae October 20, 2013, 6:27 pm

    Curious to combine curry and quinoa, this recipe stood out to me, but nowhere in the recipe did I see curry…..???! :(

    • Lindsay October 23, 2013, 8:44 pm

      No, there’s no curry powder in the recipe, but I like to use some of the spices commonly found in curry powder (like cumin and cinnamon) to make the curry effect.

  • marie April 13, 2014, 5:14 pm

    this recipe turned out very well. I also left out spinach because i didnt have any, and used currants instead of raisins. i did a booboo and spilled cayenne in instead of a pinch but it didnt hurt it thats for sure i love spice!

    Very good!

    • Lindsay April 13, 2014, 6:51 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad you liked it, Marie!

  • Meaghan August 20, 2014, 11:31 am

    Trying this tonight !! I’m going to add some brocoilli to it :)

  • Kat October 21, 2014, 9:41 pm

    This looks so delicious! I have curry powder and would like to use it in place of the spices listed in the recipe. Do you think it’ll be as good? And how much of it should I use?

    • Lindsay November 3, 2014, 3:09 pm

      Hmm…I’m sure curry powder would be delicious. I honestly have no idea how much curry powder I would use here, I’d probably start with a teaspoon, taste, and then add more if needed. :)

  • Vanessa January 31, 2015, 11:32 pm

    Do you think this would taste good cold too? I’m wondering if it would work as a packable lunch (no microwave).

  • amy March 1, 2015, 9:42 pm

    Thanks for this recipe! I am newly vegetarian (still using eggs and dairy) with a goal to be vegan. So great to find recipes that deliver protein without use of soy.
    So I made this utilizing what I had in the pantry – meaning no tumeric (added a bit more cumin) no cardamom (used equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg), no fresh onion or garlic (used powders) and no raisins (used dried cherries which i actually think i would do anyway or else use golden raisins). I also toasted the washed quinoa with some coconut oil prior to cooking it.
    It turned out very very good! even my Texan meat and potatoes eating husband liked it!

    Anyway thanks for a simple, versatile, and tasty recipe!

  • Jenn April 17, 2015, 11:33 pm

    I made this Curried Quinoa dish and OMG I’m addicted to it!! So good and so healthy! Thanks!


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