This vegan curried quinoa incorporates all of your favorite flavors into one beautiful, quick, and easy recipe.
Once upon a time, when I was working 12 hour shifts as a nurse, one of my favorite vegan lunches to pack was this vegan Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods microwaveable soups. 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, Pakitan, and Afghanistan. There were sweet raisins, crunchy slivered almonds, pungent onions…the whole combination was strange to me initially, but was surprisingly addictive. Long story short, I suddenly had a hard time finding my favorite soup variety, so I had to figure out how to make it at home. And now I’m going to show you how I did it.
How to Make Vegan Curried Quinoa
- quinoa (1 cup dry white quinoa, or 3 cups of cooked quinoa)
- 1/2 an onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- olive oil
- maple syrup
- lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- fresh spinach
- fresh cilantro
- sliced almonds (raw or toasted unsalted)
- ground cumin
- ground cinnamon or cardomom
- curry powder (optional for stronger curry flavor)
- ground cayenne pepper (optional for extra spice)
How to Cook Quinoa:
First, you’ll want to cook your quinoa. Here’s how.
Removing Quinoa’s Bitter Coating
Quinoa seeds have a very bitter coating, which can easily be removed (thankfully), through vigorous rinsing.
To do this, you’re going to want to vigorously rinse your quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under a faucet. Rub the quinoa together with your fingers and rinse it really, really well–for at least 30 seconds. (See Step 1 below.)
Note: You can skip this rinsing step if you’re using pre-rinsed quinoa, which will be designated as such on your quinoa packaging.
Quinoa to Water Ratio
Sometimes you can purchase quinoa that is pre-rinsed. 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.
Let’s make this really simple:
1 cup dry quinoa + 2 cups water = 3 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup wet (rinsed) quinoa + 1 3/4 cup water = 3 cups cooked quinoa.
Cooking the Quinoa
Turn your stove up to medium-high heat. Place your quinoa and water mixture on the stove, uncovered, as it heats. (See Step 2 image below.) When your quinoa and water mixture starts boiling, turn down the heat to low or 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 soft and fluffy like this– See Step 3 below.
Adding Curry Flavor:
Next you’ll want to prep your other ingredients–finely chop about 1/2 of a large white or yellow onion (should make about 3/4 cups of chopped onion) and mince or crush 2 cloves of garlic. (See Step 4 image below.)
In a large skillet or frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (or other neutral vegetable oil of your choice) on medium-high heat for about 20 seconds. Add chopped onion to the pan, followed by raisins, water, maple syrup, lemon juice, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, salt (and curry powder and cayenne pepper, if desired). Stir to combine, and saute this mixture for 3-5 minutes, or until onion is nearly translucent. When onion is nearly translucent, add minced garlic to pan. (See Step 5 image below.)
Stir to combine and cook for 2-3 more minutes until well-combined and fragrant. (See Step 6 image below.)
Roughly chop 1 1/2 cups of fresh spinach and 1/2 cup fresh cilantro. Add spinach to your pan, allowing spinach leaves to wilt for about 30 seconds before adding cooked quinoa. (See Step 7 image below.)
Add cooked quinoa to your skillet, carefully stirring to combine. (See Step 8 image below.)
Top curried quinoa with chopped cilantro and sliced almonds. Serve warm. (See Step 9 image below.)
What Goes with Curried Quinoa?
Need some other recipe ideas to build a menu with this dish? Try these!
- Easy Vegan Falafels (by Minimalist Baker)
- Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad (by Feel Good Foodie)
- Hummus (by Cookie + Kate)
- Homemade Pita Bread (by the New York Times)
- African Peanut Stew
- Vegan Glazed Orange Almond Cookies
Have You Tried This Recipe?
Have you tried this recipe? I love seeing all of your creations, so be sure to snap a picture of your dish and tag @veganyumminess on Instagram, so I can see it!
Vegan Curried Quinoa
- fine mesh strainer (for rinsing quinoa)
- medium saucepan
- medium skillet
- 3 cups cooked quinoa (cooked 1 cup dry quinoa according to package instructions in 1 3/4 cups of water if rinsing quinoa yourself or 2 cups of water, which makes about 3 cups of cooked quinoa, if using pre-rinsed quinoa)
- 3/4 cup chopped white or yellow onion (about 1/2 of a medium white onion)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed or minced)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup (or agave nectar)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or cardomom
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (optional, if you prefer stronger curry flavor than the cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon provide)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 1/2 cup fresh spinach (chopped)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Using a fine mesh strainer, vigorously rinse 1 cup of dry quinoa under a faucet (unless you are using pre-rinsed quinoa, which will be labeled as such on the package).
- In a medium saucepan, place rinsed quinoa, and 1 3/4 cups of water (use 2 cups if your quinoa is pre-rinsed and dry). Place saucepan on stovetop on medium-high heat.
- Once quinoa/water mixture is boiling, cover saucepan and turn stovetop down to medium/low heat to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until quinoa is thoroughly cooked and fluffy.
For the Curried Quinoa:
- Chop onion and mince garlic, if not done already. Chop fresh spinach and cilantro and set aside.
- In a large skillet or frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (or other neutral vegetable oil of your choice) on medium-high heat for about 20 seconds. Add onion to the pan and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until onion is nearly translucent. When onion is nearly done, add minced garlic to pan.
- Next, add to your pan raisins, water, maple syrup, lemon juice, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and curry powder (if desired) and cayenne pepper (if desired). Stir to combine and cook for 2-3 more minutes until well-combined and fragrant.
- Add spinach to your pan, allowing spinach leaves to wilt for about 30 seconds before adding cooked quinoa.
- Add cooked quinoa to your skillet, carefully stirring to combine.
- Top curried quinoa with chopped cilantro and sliced almonds. Serve warm.