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Quick and Healthy: Quinoa “Fried Rice”

March 21, 2011

This week is crazy. I know, I know. They all are! Well this week feels even crazier than most. See, I’m hard at work putting together a charity cookbook for Japan (more details coming soon!) and my sitter is gone for the week (her first grandson just arrived!). All great things, but not so great timing. So this week is all about the quick ‘n healthy meal. This week, I’m relying on the fastest good-for-you recipes in my repertoire, like this fried-rice style quinoa.

This recipe calls for cooked quinoa. I already cooked a big batch to have on hand this week, and you can do the same. (I’ll use it for this recipe and breakfasts where I mix warmed quinoa with cinnamon, honey, plain yogurt and fruit — it’s a perfect alternative to oatmeal). Or, if you live in NY, you can order already steamed quinoa from Fresh Direct.

I love fried rice and this lighter, healthier quinoa version is a delight. I actually prefer using quinoa to brown rice in this recipe. It’s something about how well quinoa’s smokiness works with the sesame, soy and rice vinegar. Quinoa also comes out lighter and fluffier than fried brown rice.

This recipe is relatively low in oil and soy sauce so that you can feel good feeding it to the whole family, but feel free to add more of both if you want a more decadent, Chinese take-out style version.

Quinoa “Fried Rice”

3 c cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons peanut oil*
1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus an extra drizzle*
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 block firm tofu, cut in 1/4″ cubes
1 zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, shredded
2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably low sodium
1 teaspoon asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 eggs

1. Whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce and rice wine vinegar. Set aside.

2. Add oil and garlic to a cold wok. Turn heat to medium-high and saute garlic until it turns golden brown. Add tofu and white part of scallions. Saute until the tofu begins to brown. Your wok should be quite hot, so stand by as you brown the ingredients–you’ll need to stir a lot and watch carefully to avoid burning.

3. Add all of the vegetables except for the green scallions and saute until soft. Add cooked quinoa and mix thoroughly. Stir every minute or so while quinoa heats through.

4. In the meantime, whisk eggs in a bowl and heat a drizzle of sesame oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, fry the eggs omelette style (skip the fold over — make what looks like a pancake). Once cooked through, remove eggs from heat and cut into strips (I like small bits of egg in my fried rice, so I make these about 1″).

5. Once the quinoa is heated through, mix in the egg and sauce. Toss a few more times to distribute, adding the green part of the scallions before the last toss.

* I like a mild sesame flavor. If you prefer a stronger one, use 2 tbsp sesame oil and 1 tbsp peanut oil.

Kids change the way we cook, but they don’t have to change how well we eat. Read more of Stacie’s family-friendly recipes and tips at
One Hungry Mama.