30-Minute Quinoa “Fried Rice”

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serving platter of vegan quinoa fried rice

When visiting Mexico recently, we found a little gem in the heart of Puerto Vallarta called Salud Super Food. They had tons of delicious smoothies, perfect oats, and bowls. Their Mediterranean quinoa bowl struck my eye one day, and I’m so glad I gave it a try. The veggies were perfectly seasoned and saucy, and I managed to get my daily serving of greens in one bowl!

But my biggest takeaway? They’d gotten the quinoa perfectly crispy, almost like it’d been cooked and then stir-fried to get that crispy golden crunch.

‘Ding, ding, ding!’ A light bulb went off in my head for “quinoa fried rice” and one of the first things I did when I got home was get in the kitchen and test this recipe.

Good news! It totally worked. Let me show you how easy it is!

Ingredients for vegan quinoa fried rice on a cutting board

Origin of Fried Rice

The exact origin of fried rice is unknown, but it’s earliest mention is believed to be in a book about Chinese cuisine from the Sui Dynasty (569-618). The story is that Emperor Yang Guang tasted the dish in Yangzhou and loved it so much that it became an imperial dish.

The standard recipe for Yangzhou fried rice includes rice, eggs, meat, fish, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and peas. You can find a traditional (not vegan) recipe here.

Our plant-based version strays from traditional in terms of ingredients, but is similarly colorful and cooks the quinoa twice for a “fried” effect.

How to Make Quinoa “Fried Rice”

This dish requires just 10 ingredients and less than 30 minutes to prepare when your quinoa is prepared ahead of time. If you’re like us, you have leftover quinoa in the fridge most days.

Chopped vegetables get sautéed while you mix up a delicious almond butter-based sauce with coconut aminos for depth of flavor, lime juice, and maple syrup. Dried chilies or chili garlic sauce add a bit of heat, while chopped green onion adds freshness and a pop of color.

spicy-sweet sauce for vegan quinoa fried rice in mixing bowl

Once your veggies are tender, simply add your quinoa and sauce and stir-fry until the quinoa is nice and crispy!

hot skillet with vegan quinoa fried rice

We hope you LOVE this dish!

Quick + easy
& Super delicious

This would make the perfect weeknight meal – or one to make ahead of time and enjoy as leftovers. For a little more crunch and staying power, we added some cashews. But you could also add something like Marinated Peanut Tempeh or Crispy Peanut Tofu!

If you’re into this dish, be sure to check out our Vegan Fried Rice, 30-Minute Cauliflower Rice Stir-Fry, Almond Butter Tofu Stir-Fry, or General Tso’s Tofu Stir-Fry!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Close up serving plate of vegan quinoa fried rice

30-Minute Quinoa “Fried Rice”

Delicious, hearty quinoa "fried rice" stir-fry with broccoli, carrot, and a sweet-and-spicy sauce! Ready in less than 30 minutes, big flavor, and incredibly satisfying!
Author Minimalist Baker
Plate of Vegan Quinoa Fried Rice
4.85 from 95 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 4
Course Entrée, Side
Cuisine Chinese-Inspired, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4 Days



  • 3 cups cooked and cooled white quinoa*



  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (or sub water)
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 3 Tbsp coconut aminos (DIVIDED)
  • 1 cup chopped green onion (save green tops for garnish)
  • 1 ½ cups chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews (optional // or sub raw cashews)


  • If you haven’t prepared quinoa yet (*prep/cook time does not include making quinoa), do so first by adding rinsed quinoa to a large saucepan and toasting over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 18 minutes or until water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Transfer cooked quinoa to a glass bowl or storage container and refrigerate (uncovered) to cool. Once completely cooled, cover. Will keep in the refrigerator up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month.
  • In the meantime, prepare sauce by adding all ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more chili garlic sauce for heat, lime for acidity, maple syrup for sweetness, almond butter for nuttiness, or coconut aminos for saltiness and depth of flavor. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add sesame oil (or water), carrots, and one third of the coconut aminos. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Carrots take the longest to cook through, so they need a little time on their own.
  • Next, add chopped green onion, broccoli, and cashews (optional), along with another one third of the coconut aminos. Stir, cover, and cook for 2 minutes or until broccoli appears slightly browned.
  • Add cooked quinoa and the remaining one third of the coconut aminos. Stir to coat and cook for 1 minute. Then add sauce and stir.
  • Cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the quinoa to have a chance to sit at the bottom of your pan and get crispy.
  • Serve as is, or garnish with additional cashews, lime wedges, and chopped green onion. Best when fresh. Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop until hot.



*Prep time does not include cooking quinoa.
*3 cups cooked quinoa is equivalent to ~1 ½ cups (276 g) dry quinoa.
*In place of the chili garlic sauce, you can also sub 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or 1-2 hot chilies (per 2 tsp chili garlic sauce).
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 299 Carbohydrates: 47.6 g Protein: 8.5 g Fat: 8.6 g Saturated Fat: 1.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.56 g Monounsaturated Fat: 3.38 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 581 mg Potassium: 559 mg Fiber: 6.7 g Sugar: 13.6 g Vitamin A: 7665 IU Vitamin C: 39 mg Calcium: 84.42 mg Iron: 2.7 mg

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My Rating:

  1. Laura says

    I was excited to make this today. I made it exactly as directed as I usually do the first time trying a recipe. It is healthy using quinoa and the vegetables. A little high in sodium if you are trying to watch that. It is pretty tasty but I’m not sure if I will make it again. Trying to get the quinoa crispy resulted in a pan with black stuck on quinoa. I’m sure I’ll get it clean though. Thanks

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Sorry it made a mess, Laura! If you didn’t use a well-seasoned cast iron pan, that would be our recommendation if you’re up for giving it another try.

      • Laura says

        Additionally I found that 1 1/2 c. dry quinoa actually makes about 5 c. cooked quinoa.
        So to make only 3 c. cooked quinoa, you should plan to use 1 c. dry.

  2. Bee says

    This was delicious. As a gluten free, egg free, vegetarian, it is almost impossible to get Chinese fried rice. This hit all the spots! So tasty and delicious. As usual, I edited the recipe to fit what I had on hand. I used a whole bag of fresh broccoli (it was perfect for those who wanted a heartier bite) and instead of coconut aminos I used this Vegetarian oyster sauce. I also used sunflower butter instead of almond butter. It was delicious! I will make this again.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Bee!

  3. Kathy says

    This recipe is easy and addictive! The taste and texture combo is outstanding. I was a little concerned the veggies might be overdone but I followed the instructions and they were absolutely perfect: not raw, not mushy, with just the right amount of bite. The only tweak I made was to add a bit more carrots and broccoli than called for, and there was still plenty of flavorful sauce to enjoy. This recipe is a keeper that will definitely go into the rotation!

  4. Diane M says

    I love this so much I made it several times over the past year. I use soy sauce for coconut aminos and use crunchy peanut butter. Easy to substitute whatever onion is on hand or roasted nuts. My main change is to increase the amounts of vegetables – broccoli , carrots and add maybe julienne (red) bell pepper or asparagus or peas or cauliflower – basically increase vegetables and sauce to accommodate. Great taste!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Diane!

  5. Simone says

    I was able to get the rice crispy at the bottom of the pan without burning it, but then it just started stuck on a layer at the bottom of the pan instead of coming off into my bowl. Any tips on how to make it not just get stuck there?

    Next time I make it, I may omit the almond butter. The flavor was ok but my rice ended up more mushy than I wanted and I think it might have been because of the almond butter.


    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Simone, adding more oil should help prevent sticking. Were you using quinoa or rice? This recipe uses quinoa!

      • Simone says

        Thanks for the tip! Yes I used one-day old cooked quinoa. Would you add the oil right before the quinoa? Because I found that all the original oil I put in before the carrots was mostly absorbed by the time I got to the quinoa.

  6. Wren says

    I really wanted to love this recipe. It has potential but it just doesn’t work. Adding white rice helped a bit but it wasn’t enough.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Wren, sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it. Did you make any modifications? Would you mind sharing what you disliked about it? We’d love to be able to help troubleshoot, if possible!

  7. VickiM says

    I just love your recipes so much; I find them very flavorful, and I am always looking for new recipes with a good amount of seasoning to add variety to my vegetarian diet. (I love lentils, and I love quinoa.) I just made this one, and yes, I love this quinoa take on fried rice! Made it exactly as the recipe states and bought the chili garlic sauce just for it. (I finally found it in a large local supermarket. I had tried unsuccessfully to find it for past recipes – even the more mainstream brand. Bought 2 jars.) The sauce is perfect. The whole thing was delish!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy our recipes, Vicki! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  8. Marlene says

    My husband and I loved this recipe and thought it was even better the 2nd night. I used tamari instead of coconut aminos and increased the sauce by 1/3rd. Delicious with a garnish of chopped, roasted cashews and a slice of lime. It is my new favorite.

  9. Kristina Seldal says

    This was amazing!!!!!!! My new go to for a flavorful side dish! It is hard to find something both kids will eat and surprise! They loved it!!!! Excellent recipe!!!! Need to buy bulk coconut aminos as it really makes the dish.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad everyone enjoyed this. Thanks for the great review, Kristina!

  10. Robert says

    Love it. I guess I’ll need to make sure I read all the (*) astrics first, made 3 cups dry quinoa, lucky I added a little extra broccoli. Left overs it is for a couple days. 😇

  11. John says

    Great results with this recipe! I ended up subbing peanut butter for the almond butter, and also peanuts for the cashews. Totally delicious!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, John! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications!

  12. Tracy says

    tried this tonight and really enjoyed it! The cashews are a must, though. I made it just like the recipe.

  13. Eva says

    This is DELICIOUS!! So flavorful and satisfying! In the sauce, I doubled the almond butter and chili garlic sauce and added a bit more coconut aminos.

    This is a keeper :-)

  14. Michelle says

    This was so tasty!! I used your recipe for cooking quinoa in the instant pot ahead of time. I added 1/2 a bag of frozen peas, carrots and corn mix for extra veggies. I served it with your peanut tempeh recipe which went perfect with it. I will definitely be making this one regularly.

  15. Ann Flaharty says

    This was so flavorful and delicious. When I make it again, I will double the veggies so we have more leftovers.

    • Carissa says

      Made as written. Didn’t have enough carrot so increased broccoli. The flavor is good. Not too spicy. I wasn’t able to achieve the”crisp” though.

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Carissa, to get the “crisp” texture, let it sit in the pan undisturbed (no stirring). If you did that, another possibility is that the heat wasn’t high enough. Hope that helps!

  16. The Vegan Goddess says

    Wow! Fantastic!

    This reminds me so much of the chicken and veggie dish at a Chinese restaurant without the chicken and without the MSG and soy sauce.

    It’s amazing how much the fried quinoa resembles fried rice. What a great way to cook it. I cooked the quinoa in one cup of water and one cup of veggie broth.

    It took a lot longer than 30 minutes to put it together because I had to prepare all of the other ingredients — rinsing and peeling the carrots and green onions first and the quinoa.

    This will definitely be added to my regular rotation. Thank you for this inspiration!

  17. Bri says

    Absolutely delicious! I made no modifications and found the spiciness and flavor to be just right. I used the Thai Lime and Chili cashews from Trader Joe’s which I highly recommend. Comes together very quickly. Served with roasted chicken. I can definitely see this being added to our regular meal rotation.