This Quinoa Fried “Rice” is a healthy take on everyone’s favorite Chinese takeout! It’s easy to prepare, and every bit as delicious as the original!
This quinoa fried rice is one of our most popular recipes we printed back in March of 2013. It’s been pinned close to a million time and we’ve had hundreds of people make it with rave reviews, so I thought it was high time to give the old photos a bit of a face lift and re-share the recipe.
The timing isn’t a coincidence since we’re now in the new year, and like many others out there, my mind is set on a more healthful start to the new year.
I’ve wanted to share this recipe for a while, but thought I might be overloading you with too many healthy recipes – and if you’re anything like me, you can’t eat super healthy every single day. So after a slightly indulgent intermission of vegetarian but not-super-healthy-for-you baked rigatoni, I thought it would be a good idea to balance life out with something you can feel really good about eating. It is all about balance after all, right?
I thought I had this brilliant one-of-a-kind idea to use quinoa instead of white rice to make fried rice, but after a little perusing through Foodgawker, I realized that I wasn’t the first person to come up with this idea. Hate when that happens. But I pushed on, and decided to share anyways. With all the food blogs out there in the realm of the internet, there are bound to be a couple of repeat ideas – and you know what? I’m ok with that.
I adore fried rice, and am actually super picky about it (ummm I can’t even count how many horrible take-out versions I’ve had). This version, I can confidently say without hesitation, is every bit as delicious as the original, I promise you won’t miss the white rice.
The key is to make sure you use leftover, cool quinoa. I like to use leftover quinoa that’s been stored in the fridge overnight, because if you freshly cooked quinoa, it has a tendency to get sort of mushy, and the individual particles of quinoa don’t separate like they do in the traditional version of fried rice. Starting with cooled quinoa allows each grain to “fry” and soak up all the sauce to mimic rice a little bit more.
If I don’t have time, I cheat and cook the quinoa, then pop it in the freezer until it’s chilled while I cut up all the vegetables and start to cook them.
The great thing about this, is it’s also totally customizable. If you want to add chicken, go for it. Shrimp? Go ahead. I tend to stick with a classic combination of onion, garlic, peas, carrots and scrambled egg, but occasionally I’ll throw in some crispy water chestnuts, baby corn or snow peas in the mix.
Pair this scrumptious fried rice with some spicy general tso’s chicken, this healthy slow-cooker orange chicken, or throw in some sautéed shrimp or chicken for a nice little lunch or dinner on its own.
Serve Quinoa Fried Rice with some of these classic Chinese favorites!
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water or low-sodium chicken stock
- ¼ small onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about ¾ cup)
- 3 scallions, chopped and divided
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1½ tablespoons teriyaki sauce
- ¾ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 eggs, lightly scrambled (still raw)
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- Rinse quinoa a few times in cold water.
- Bring quinoa and water or chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, and then reduce to a simmer. Season with salt.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes until quinoa is fluffy and cooked through. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
- Transfer to a large plate and pop in the fridge or freezer to chill completely.
- Mix soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over a high heat. Add onion and carrot, cook about two minutes. Add 2 scallions, garlic and ginger to the pan. Cook another two minutes. Add in the rest of the olive oil and the quinoa. Stir-fry about two minutes. Add sauce and stir-fry until incorporated, about two minutes. Make a well in the center of the quinoa pour eggs in, scramble. Throw in peas, then toss everything together until the peas are warmed through, add remaining scallion and serve.