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Curry Quinoa Salad with Apples

November 21, 2016
Featured in: Food Rx, Lunch, Salads
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This protein packed curry quinoa salad with crunchy fall apples is a tasty makeahead lunch!

This protein packed curry quinoa salad with crunchy fall apples is a tasty makeahead lunch! 

by Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT 

My Bernese Mountain Dog, Savannah, is the best dietitian's dog. Fruits and vegetables have always been her favorite. While she has never turned down a pupperoni (or any food for that matter) she really goes crazy for things like carrot tops, the stem of heads of lettuce, and potato peelings.

It's so weird. 

Her absolute favorite food? Apples. She's even learned the word, which has become my go to call when she manages to sneak out of the backyard. She doesn't respond to her name, but yell "want an apple?" and she'll be back in our yard in two seconds flat. Savannah even recognizes the crunching noise of biting into a fresh apple. It's enough to wake her from a deep slumber and all of a sudden, she's at our feet begging! 

Since she is our furry child, her love of apples is one healthy eating habit we're happy to encourage, so we always pick up extra for her at the grocery store. This is our favorite time of year to get apples, which are at their peak ripeness in the fall. Right now, our local market is overflowing with local heirloom varieties ranging from tart to sweet. 

This protein packed curry quinoa salad with crunchy fall apples is a tasty makeahead lunch!

Here's some more reasons to love apples:

  • Despite being sweet, apples can help with glucose metabolism. Specific polyphenols in apples reduce the absorption of glucose from the gut and stimulates the release of insulin. Apples are also a good source of fiber with 4.5 grams in a medium apple, which helps slow the digestion of carbohydrate, keeping blood sugar levels steady. 
  • Apples are particularly healthy for the gut! They contain certain types of carbohydrate that gut bacteria loves to eat, feeding a healthy gut flora. One study has found apples in particular alter levels of two strains of clostridiales and bacteriodes that are associated with health benefits. 
  • While nowhere near the vitamin C content of citrus, apples are still a good source of vitamin C. Go for fresh versus applesauce for maximum vitamin C content. 
  • Apples benefit heart health. The soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol while antioxidants prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Be sure to eat the skin - that's where most of the antioxidants are concentrated! 

While apples are tasty for snacking and desserts (hello apple pie this Thursday!), I love to use them in savory dishes, like this curried quinoa salad with crunchy apple slices. The combination of apples and curry is a classic one in chicken salad, so I created this vegetarian version using quinoa. If you're making this for lunch, prepare the quinoa salad in advance and store in the fridge. Pack the spinach topped with quinoa salad separate from the dressing. Then pack an apple to slice over your salad when ready to eat, or toss your apple slices with lemon juice to prevent browning. 

This protein packed curry quinoa salad with crunchy fall apples is a tasty makeahead lunch!

Use your bounty of fall apples to make this curried quinoa salad! @healthyaperture @RHartleyRD
This protein packed curry quinoa salad with crunchy fall apples is a tasty makeahead lunch!

Curry Quinoa Salad with Apples


Serves 4


  • Dressing:
  • 1 cup plain, full fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 small minced garlic clove
  • Salad:
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 6 ounce bag baby spinach
  • 2 large apples, cored and chopped or sliced


1. First, make the dressing. Whisk all dressing ingredients together, season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste and refrigerate until ready to use. 

2. In a large pot, mix together quinoa and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes until tender and water is absorbed. Let sit 5 minutes to finish steaming, then remove lid and set aside to cool to room temperature or refrigerate to chill. 

3. When quinoa is cool, toss with shallot, golden raisins, walnuts and parsley. Divide spinach between four plates. Top with quinoa salad and apple slices. Serve drizzled with curry yogurt dressing. 

Click for nutritional information
Calories 416
Carbohydrates 76g
Fiber 11g
Sugar 39.3g
Fat 6.3g
Protein 10.3g
Sodium 58mg
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Rachael Hartley is the author of the FOOD Rx on HealthyAperture - a monthly feature that embraces the saying "Let food be thy medicine." The tasty, whole food recipes shared in Food Rx take advantage of the healing power of food, highlighting ingredients with known health promoting abilities. Rachael is also private practice dietitian and blogger at Avocado A Day Nutrition. She is passionate about helping men and women improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing with nourishing and delicious whole foods, mindfulness and intuitive eating. As lifelong food lover, the kitchen is her playground and she enjoys experimenting with new ingredients, trying new cuisines and sharing those creations on her blog. When not working with clients or blogging, you can find her playing with her two big fluffy dogs, practicing yoga, or traveling with her husband.
More posts by RachaelAnAvocadoADay
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