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!
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.
Once your veggies are tender, simply add your quinoa and sauce and stir-fry until the quinoa is nice and crispy!
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!
30-Minute Quinoa “Fried Rice”
- 3 cups cooked and cooled white quinoa*
- 4 Tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp almond butter (or sub peanut butter)
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp chili garlic sauce* (plus more to taste)
- 1/4 cup diced green onion
- 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.
*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.
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