Quinoa Fried Rice is an easy weeknight meal that is loaded with plant-based protein. It tastes like your favorite take-out, and takes only minutes to whip up!
Why You’ll Love It
It’s quick to prepare. Just like regular fried rice, quinoa fried rice works best if you already have chilled quinoa on hand. When that’s ready to go, this meal takes just 15 minutes to cook! Check out my How to Cook Quinoa tutorial, for the most fool-proof cooking method.
It’s nourishing. Since quinoa has all the essential amino acids your body needs, it’s a complete source of protein. Paired with vitamin-rich veggies, it’s a great way to squeeze more nutrients into your day.
It’s easy to customize. You can use any veggies you have on hand for this recipe, like bell peppers, or even a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, to help cut-down on the prep work. If you need a vegan option, leave out the eggs, or try adding in some scrambled tofu, instead.
It’s delicious. The garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame oil in this recipe take the flavor to the next level. It makes an easy side dish that you can serve with Vegan Orange Chicken or Kung Pao Chickpeas.
It’s easy to reheat. You can prepare this dish as part of your meal prep routine, so you’ll have an easy complete protein that you can add to any meal during the week.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Having cooked quinoa on hand is key for making this recipe quick & easy. Chilled quinoa is easier to stir fry compared to freshly cooked quinoa, but if you need to cook the quinoa from scratch, you can do that, too.
This recipe calls for tamari to keep it gluten-free, but if you don’t need a gluten-free recipe, you can use regular soy sauce, instead. Don’t have carrots or peas on hand, feel free to use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, or any other veggies you have on hand.
How to Make Quinoa Fried Rice
1. Cook the veggies.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the veggies until they become tender, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Carrots particularly take a long time to cook, so the smaller you chop them, the more tender they will become.
Frozen vegetables will become tender even faster, FYI. It’s a great time saver for a busy weeknight.
2. Add the quinoa.
Once the vegetables are as soft as you’d like them to be, add in the garlic and ginger and stir for 1 more minute. Then, pour in the tamari, quinoa, frozen peas, and salt, and stir often.
The quinoa should warm up quickly.
3. Cook the eggs.
For a protein-packed meal, use a spatula to move the quinoa and veggies to the edge of the pan, creating an empty space in the center. Crack two eggs into the center of the pan, and use a spatula to scramble the eggs. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes.
When the eggs look cooked, you can mix them into the quinoa mixture, distributing them throughout the fried rice. Drizzle a teaspoon of toasted sesame seed oil over the top, add in the chopped green onions, and stir well.
Adjust any seasonings to taste, adding a pinch of black pepper, if you like, then serve the quinoa fried rice warm, with a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rinse 1 cup of dry quinoa in a fine mesh strainer to help remove any bitter flavor, then transfer it to a small saucepan. Cover it with 1 1/2 cups of fresh water, and bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, but keep the lid on the pot for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and let it cool.
You can replace the soy sauce or tamari in this recipe with coconut aminos. In that case, you may want to season the dish with a little extra salt, since it has a mildly sweeter flavor.
Quinoa Fried Rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion , chopped
- 3 carrots , peeled and chopped (see notes)
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 inch fresh ginger , minced
- 2 tablespoons tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
- 3 cups cooked quinoa (see notes)
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs (optional)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 green onions , chopped
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat, and saute the onion and carrots until they soften, about 10 minutes. If your pan has a lid, you can add a splash of water and cover the pot for 5 of those minutes, to help the carrots soften even more. (They take a while to become fork tender, but will cook faster the smaller you chop them.)
- When the carrots are as tender as you'd like them to be, add in the garlic and ginger, and stir for 1 more minute. Then add in the tamari, cooked quinoa, frozen peas, and salt. Stir for 2 more minutes, until everything is warm.
- To add eggs to this dish, move the quinoa and veggies to the edges of the pan, creating an empty space in the center of the pan. Crack the eggs into the center (use a little extra oil if you're worried about them sticking) then use a spatula to scramble the eggs in the center. They should be soft scrambled in about 3 to 4 minutes.
- When the eggs are cooked, mix them into the warm quinoa and veggies, so there will be pieces of egg throughout the dish. Add in the toasted sesame oil for flavor, and stir in the green onions. Adjust any seasoning to taste, and then the dish is ready to serve when it's all piping hot. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.
- Leftover quinoa fried rice can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It will reheat quickly again in a skillet!
- Nutrition information is for 1 of 4 servings, or about 1 1/4 cups of fried rice. This information is automatically calculated, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
- For a vegan dish, replace the eggs with scrambled tofu, instead.
- This recipe is gluten-free when you use tamari, but you can use regular soy sauce if you don’t need a gluten-free option. For a soy-free dish, try using coconut aminos, instead.
- This recipe works best when you use cooked quinoa that has been chilled in the fridge. See the full post for cooking directions, if you need them. You can quickly cool down quinoa by spreading it out in a thin layer on a large plate, then stick it in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes to chill.
If you try this quinoa fried rice recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.