Curried Quinoa Salad

with golden beets & tomatoes

So, yes, I won the Anderson Cooper Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge! You can watch me on the show in the video below. It was an incredible experience, I met lots of amazing people, and I am excited to see what happens as a result of the competition. Anderson and his staff were simply awesome. I am not someone who is comfortable on camera at the outset; I need a few minutes to get into the groove, and they all helped so much and made me feel at home…although I am still very clearly nervous and, as a result, extremely dorky. That’s alright though. They knew what they were getting themselves into when they saw my audition tape. Anderson himself was super friendly and even played with my nerdy lightsaber during the break! You’ve got to love a fellow Star Wars fan. The cookies were a big hit and I felt very fancy being driven home back to Brooklyn in my own car by a guy named Frank who I talked to the entire way back about his mom’s house in Staten Island (she’s doing alright!) and his pet chihuahua. The whole day was a whirlwind and I wouldn’t have been there if I hadn’t gotten the encouragement from you guys; you made me feel like I could do it, and I did! Now let’s just see if my cookies end up on grocery store shelves some time soon. Even if they don’t, I had a blast and I can still feel Anderson’s hand on my shoulder. Swoon.


As I had such an exciting week, Kramer and I tried to take it easy this weekend. We stayed in on Friday night, watching Lost and eating tacos. We actually got over eight hours of sleep that night, so I was ecstatic. I did not want to get out of bed in the morning, but I begrudgingly did some yoga and showered. After a cup of coffee, we headed over to Nitehawk to see Tombstone, brunch and country music beforehand included! I had shrimp and grits, and Kramer had chicken fried steak; it was delicious and on theme, which is important. After the movie, we went shopping around Williamsburg for some more kitchen supplies at Whisk before heading home for a cocktail or two, then went for pizza at Williamsburg Pizza and drinks with some friends. On Sunday, we shot a new cooking video (it will be up soon!), then made steaks and Brussels sprouts, watched SNL from Saturday (Kevin Hart killed it), followed by more Lost, of course. Watching it in chronological order is blowing my mind, people. I have become addicted to the show all over again and we’ve been putting aside new episodes of current shows in favor of more Lost. Always more Lost, right? As you can see, it was a mostly uneventful weekend, but I needed it and I actually feel pretty good this morning – what an accomplishment.

Curried Quinoa Salad

I made this salad so Kramer could eat it for lunch throughout the week, but I will admit that I ended up eating some of it for dinner one night while he was at school alongside the filet of cod that I had fried up. It’s so delicious, with lots of different flavors and textures, that I know you’ll be sneaking spoonfuls of it from the fridge just like I was. It’s hard to come up with good, wholesome lunches. There’s always the trusty salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, etc. etc. but if you’re like me, you’ll get tired of that really fast. I’ve been trying to get more creative lately, and while this quinoa salad certainly isn’t revolutionary, it’s a nice change of pace from the usual packed lunch. The red quinoa is hearty and will fill you up without weighing you down, and the golden beets are fresh and sweet; you get the sensation of eating a potato without all the starch, which is helpful when you’re trying to save your calories for that dinner you’ve been looking forward to or for drinks later out with your coworkers. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to season this with, so I went with my go-to spice: curry powder. It’s just got a lovely, warming flavor that goes well with just about anything, in my opinion, this salad included. I added some red pepper flakes, too, because I like everything to be just a little bit spicy, but you can really add whatever you want to make this quinoa salad your own. I used grape tomatoes because I had them, but carrots, broccoli, or whatever else is on hand will be just as good, and good for you!

Curried Quinoa SaladAnderson and me being huge dorks.
Curried Quinoa Salad
Fear not, young padawan.

Curried Quinoa Salad
Pretty cool, right?

Curried Quinoa Salad
Do I look over here?

Curried Quinoa Salad
Oh okay, I guess I look over here.

Curried Quinoa Salad
Prep all of your vegetables and add to your cooked quinoa with lemon juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes, curry powder, salt, and pepper.

Curried Quinoa Salad
Serve warm, room temperature, or cold!

Curried Quinoa Salad

5.0 from 1 reviews
Curried Quinoa Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 as a meal
Curried quinoa salad with lemon and olive oil, roasted beets, and tomatoes.
  • 2 cups red quinoa
  • 4 cups water, plus more if needed
  • 3 large golden or red beets
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for the beets
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Bring your water to a boil, then add in the quinoa. Cover, reduce to a simmer, then stir every 5 minutes or so, until the quinoa has released spirals and almost all of the water has been absorbed.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Scrub the beets, then cut off the stems, wrap them in foil, and drizzle with just a bit of olive oil. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until fork tender, then let the beets sit in the foil for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, rub the beets with paper towels - the skins should fall right off. Cut into cubes and set aside.
  3. Allow the quinoa to cool a bit, then add in your olive oil and lemon juice. Add in the cubed beets and the halved tomatoes, then the curry powder, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Toss to combine, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve hot, room temperature, or cold. This salad will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up for 5 days. It makes for great lunches throughout the week!


21 Responses

  1. Jane M says:


  2. Stacey Evans says:

    This salad looks amazing! I have never cooked with red beets before. I will have to try this soon. Congrats on the Cookie Challenge. I feel good things are in store for you!

  3. Anthony says:

    Congratulations on your big win! Next step, your own FoodTV show. :)

  4. Omg, I want to be you!! lol So amazing! And this recipe rocks my world too! Also, thanks for the input on the wedding stuff. You’re the sweetest :)

  5. WHATTTTTTTT I want to try your cookies now asap. And this quinoa looks fantastic!

  6. CONGRATS on the win!!!!!!!! A reader of mine sent me info about that contest awhile back and I just forgot about it. And not only were you in it, you won it!! Which recipe did you use?

  7. Sylvie says:

    Major congrats Sydney, well deserved. I am going to admit I’m jealous that you met Anderson as he is simply amazing.

    Oh and you had me at curried – best mix of spices ever!!! This dish looks irresistable.

  8. Congrats!!!! Can’t wait to buy your cookies! :)

  9. CONGRATULATIONS!! Wow- what an awesome experience. To think that I might be seeing your chocolate chip cookies in my local grocery store…I can’t wait!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I am so so happy that you won!! You had such a great presence on the show; I would have been a nervous wreck! I really need to try those cookies now…
    Also, quinoa with tomatoes sound so delicious together. A great way to balance out the cookies :)

  11. Sasha says:

    Yay Sydney! Congrats :) And may I just say, your hair is meant for TV! There’s so much of it and its super shiny. I’m a little jelly haha
    But I digress.

    Awesome quinoa recipe. I find that it’s so hard to make it tasty and unlike bird food but so far in my trials, lemon juice has been key.

  12. ash says:

    I finally got to hear you speak! And you’re way awesome (: Congratulations!

  13. Wow, wow, wow! Congratulations, Sydney! This is amazing news, and you look like a total pro on camera. Love it!

  14. Congrats again on the cookie win! Anderson seems like a pretty normal guy so I can imagine what a pleasant experience it all was. It would be beyond cool if your cookies are in stores :) I hope you’ll keep us posted on that.

    I am a huge fan of quinoa after trying it recently. I keep seeing recipes for red quinoa everywhere. Does it taste different from regular quinoa?

  15. You are so cute on camera! And I seriously love the light saber! So glad you won too! If you didn’t, I would have had to write a letter to Anderson Cooper.

    Love this quinoa salad btw. I haven’t had quinoa in a while so this dish is just screaming my name!

  16. […] now that the cookie excitement is over with, it’s back to normal for me! And there’s nothing too exciting on the horizon, […]

  17. Your pot of quinoa looks amazing. I should really make a big batch before the storm comes and I’m stuck inside for 2 days. And great pics from cookie challenge!

  18. Lynna says:

    OMGGG. CONGRATS ON WINNING!! You know, I was going to comment on that cookie post again because I made it several weeks ago and I must say, it was FABULOUS!! It definitely made an impression on me. :)

    Now, back to this quinoa. I still have never tried making it myself before but I love this savory curry version you made. 😀

  19. […] These cookies took home the gold on Anderson Cooper’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge! Check me out on television and read about my time on the show! […]

  20. Jackie says:

    Congrats on winning!!!! I first found the Jacques Torres cookies via your website and the have changed my life! And my pant size!

  21. […] This year, I started a new job that I absolutely love, the blog has been doing well, I got to go on Anderson Cooper and we did plenty of traveling. We went to Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver over the Fourth of […]

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