Quinoa Fried Rice is a healthier way to enjoy fried rice with protein packed quinoa, tons of veggies, and tons of flavor.
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Quinoa Fried Rice Recipe
This fried rice with quinoa is healthy Chinese at its best. It’s quick and easy to make, bursting with veggies and fresh flavor, and makes an amazing side dish or main course. At it to the rotation along with this Healthy Fried Rice and Healthy Chow Mein.
Fried rice is a mainstay in our house. I find myself making it almost weekly with leftover brown rice and cauliflower rice, throwing in whatever veggies I have around and adjusting the spices to match the meal. This week I decided to whip up a batch using leftover quinoa and loved the result. The quinoa adds nuttiness to the dish and I may like it even more than the brown rice. Plus it makes delicious leftovers and freezes well.
The other thing that I love about this quinoa fried rice is that it isn’t all rice. Many times when I order fried rice, I find myself overwhelmed by all the rice. I want more veggies and protein. So this version has the perfect balance of quinoa to vegetables. You will get vegetable goodness in every bite.
How to Cook Quinoa for Fried Rice
One of the keys to making really delicious fried rice with quinoa is making the quinoa in advance. This recipe turns out best with quinoa that is 1-2 days old. With that said, it will work with freshly cooked quinoa, that has cooled, it just won’t turn out quite as crispy.
- Rinse the quinoa under running water.
- Measure out your ingredients. You will want a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water or broth.
- Add both the quinoa and water to your pot.
- Bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn it down to a low simmer and cover.
- Cook covered for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, but do not remove the cover.
- Let rest for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
- Ideally, let cool and place in the fridge overnight. Quinoa fried rice is best with previously cooked quinoa.
Can I Freeze Quinoa Fried Rice
This recipe is great to make in advance and keep in the freezer for an easy meal or side dish. I almost always double the recipe so that I can keep one on standby.
To freeze, start by letting the recipe cool completely. The place it in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and press out all the air. Lay if flat in the freezer and label it with the date. It will keep for 3-4 months in the freezer.
To defrost, place in the fridge the night before. If you need it to defrost more quickly, set it on the countertop and it should soften up within a couple of hours. Reheat in a skillet, adding a few tablespoons of water if needed.
Recipe Ideas and Tips
Once you start making quinoa fried rice, you will quickly realize that this simple recipe can be used in countless ways to make all kinds of main dishes and side dishes.
- Add more protein with chicken breast, ground turkey, thinly sliced pork, or shrimp. Edamame or tofu are two vegetarian options as well.
- Make it spicy with some Sriracha or Asian garlic chili paste. Add it with the vegetables so that the flavor is spread throughout the entire dish.
- Switch up the veggies. Consider trying red bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, cauliflower, snap peas, asparagus, or bok choy.
- Add some crunch with sesame seeds, cashews, or peanuts on top.
- Add some sweetness with chopped pineapple.
- If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can substitute ground ginger.
Is quinoa healthier than rice?
Grain for grain, there are some additional health benefits for reaching for quinoa next time you are looking for a starch or side dish to complete your meal. To start, quinoa has more protein than rice with 8 grams of protein in every cup of cooking quinoa. It also what is known as a complete protein since it has all nine essential amino acids. This is a big benefit, especially for a plant-based protein source.
Additionally, quinoa has more fiber than both white rice and brown rice, meaning it can help with digestion and helping you to feel full. With that said, both rice (especially brown rice) and quinoa can be healthy whole grain options.