curried quinoa and asparagus salad

curried quinoa and asparagus salad |

I am on a mission.

When my kitchen is stocked with food, I can never think of what to make.

But when my kitchen is completely empty that’s when I come up with the best meals.

For the next couple of days, my mission is to make as much as I can from scratch using only what I have in the house.

No food shopping. No special ingredients. No take out.

curried quinoa and asparagus salad |

So, I made a quinoa and asparagus salad.

Do you know how I feel about quinoa? I’ll put it in pretty much anything.

In the beginning of the week, I like to make a big batch in the morning and use it quick meals. It’s great to have on hand for salads and side dishes.

curried quinoa and asparagus salad | theclevercarrot.comcurried quinoa and asparagus salad |

For the salad, I tossed some precooked quinoa with chickpeas and dried cranberries from the pantry.

From the fridge, I added carrots, cilantro, and asparagus. And then from the freezer, I used frozen ginger as a base for my curry vinaigrette.

I wasn’t sure where I was going with this, but once I started it was hard to stop!

And it was good.

curried quinoa and asparagus salad |

My little off-the-cuff creation was a surprisingly delicious.

From my rations, I fed the 2 of us, gave some to my parents, and even had leftovers (my kids wouldn’t go near it). It’s great as a main salad or served on the side with fish or chicken. And the best part- I saved myself a couple of bucks and a trip to the grocery store!


*For this dish, you can either buy shredded carrots or julienne them yourself. I use this quick & efficient hand-held julienne peeler. It makes life so much easier!

curried quinoa + asparagus salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6
For the salad
  • 1 c. tri-colored quinoa, uncooked*
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1'' pieces on a diagonal
  • 1x 14 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • 1 diced apple (optional)
  • salt & pepper
Ginger curry vinaigrette
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 heaped tsp. madras curry powder
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • ½ inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ clove of garlic
  • ½ c. olive oil
* Substitute with any color quinoa for this dish.
  1. Make the quinoa: In a large pot, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. When it's finished, spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Cool to room temperature. You can even pop it in the fridge if you're impatient!
  2. Make the vinaigrette: In a blender (or food processor), blitz the first 6 vinaigrette ingredients. Slowly stream in the olive oil to emulsify. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and extra curry powder is desired. Set aside.
  3. Make the asparagus: In a large saute pan, add a splash of olive oil and warm over moderate heat. Add the chopped asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and saute until crisp tender. The time will depend on the size. It's best to slightly under cook the asparagus as they will continue to cook once removed from the heat.
  4. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, add the cooled quinoa, warm asparagus, chickpeas, and julienned carrots. Add the chopped cilantro, cranberries and apples (if using). Drizzle a little ginger curry vinaigrette over the salad and toss well.
  5. Serve the salad at room temperature with extra vinaigrette on the side.


  1. says

    This is excellent.. and you’ve also not ended up throwing out food that you didn’t use in time. I’m notorious for that.. you’ve inspired me to try doing more of this sort of cooking.. just look what you’ve come up with! xx

    • Emilie says

      Thanks Smidge!! I can’t stand throwing away food either! Sometimes it’s just so hard to be creative, you know? I’m sure whatever inspires you will transform into something absolutely delicious. Your kitchen is filled with the most amazing things :) xx

  2. says

    This looks so good. Isn’t it always the way that the best meals are born out of necesity? I’ve asked my mum for some of my favourite dinners from when I was a kid and she usually goes “I don’t know what that was, I probably just threw it together.”

    • Emilie says

      Hi Sarah,
      Thank you! Yes, the best meals really are born out of necessity. Like your mom, a lot of my meals are just thrown together and then everyone makes fun of my for it! They’re like, “there’s no way you just threw that together…” Oh well, ha ha. You can’t win… Thanks for stoping by!

  3. Emilie says

    Hi JJ! Yes me too! Not only do some of the best meals come out of it, but it gives you a chance to clean out the fridge as well. And I am soooo addicted to this dressing right now- it’s great for dunking with baby carrots :)

  4. says

    Oh my goodness, this looks so great. Especially after I’ve ODed on iced coffee and Easter candy this morning – my body is saying, “get this healthy stuff into me, quick!” Can’t wait to try it.

    • Emilie says

      Hi Kare! I can totally relate…Easter candy is like Halloween all over again!!! Your body will feel good again after eating some healthy stuff :) This dressing is one of my faves :)

  5. says

    I’m so sad! I was going to make this tonight, but my teenager (who is quite a star in the kitchen) used my last garbonzo beans to make hummus yesterday. *sigh* I’ll make it soon…I’m going to make the Linguine with Asparagus & Egg that you also included in your roundup, instead. :) Also, I love your julienne peeler. I definitely have to get one of those! :)

  6. Linda says

    We just had this for our evening meal – we loved it will definitely have this one many more times. Thank you so much – delicious !!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Linda! That is so wonderful to hear! I’m glad you and your family enjoyed this dish- quinoa is a big hit in our house :)

  7. Sally McGraw says

    This sounds SO good – can’t wait to try it, hopefully next week. Thank you in advance, because I know I’m going to love this one!!

  8. Grace says

    Just made this now and it is seriously yummy! Tastes so clean and light. And quick to make too! Thank you for sharing (:

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