You’ll never miss the rice in this healthy quinoa fried rice! This is by far the best technique I’ve tried for cooking perfect fluffy quinoa, every time!
Hookay so…. when it comes to quinoa, I had it all wrong! Someone once told me to cook it identically to rice and I have been happily doing so ever since. But then I did a little keen-wahhh related researched and realized there is most definitley a better way to cook up those little morsels of whole grain goodness!
I also realized that once the initial “newness” of quinoa wore off, I slacked on cooking the stuff. Yet whenever I would go to Whole Foods to stuff my face with their hot bar, I always loaded up on a giant scoop of quinoa as the base for my meal…. and loved the crap out of it every time.
Then it hit me – I needed to find a way to make quinoa convenient! Not that it takes a ridiculously long time to cook (15 minutes if not even close to brutal), but by cooking a small batch for the week, I can ensure its appearance on my plate over and over again. The quinoa lasts around four days in the fridge and stays light and fluffy when you cook it like quinoa, versus rice. Love it!
So in honor of my ah-ha moment, here is how I cook my quinoa these days.
And might I add, that it comes out perfect every. time. now.
The process goes a little like this:
How to Cook Perfectly Fluffy Quinoa
1. Rinse quinoa, strain with a mesh sieve or strainer, and allow to dry before even attempting to cook the stuff. Moisture is the enemy here initially. You can get delish quinoa regardless but it will be even fluffier if you let it dry fully. Drying time will vary, I usually rinse, strain, and just walk away. After drying, the rest of the process will only take about 15 minutes max. So quick =) The rinsing is also essential here because quinoa has a slightly bitter coating on it. Rinsing removes this coating and you wind up with delicious results every time.
|a seive or mesh strainer makes rinsing a breeze!
2. Toss the dry quinoa straight in the pot without water and allow to toast on medium heat for just a minute or so while you stir to prevent burning. You don’t quite want to brown it, but instead want to kick that liiiiittle extra moisture that the quinoa might be holding on to. Sometimes I skip this step but I try to lightly toast it if I have a spare minute or two.
3. Add your water. I try to use filtered b/c I’m a pansy and can taste the tap water here in NC in my cooking. I’ve read many a cookbook and website that all suggest to nix the rice 1:2 ratio and instead do a 1:1.5 ratio for quinoa. 1 cup of quinoa per 1.5 cups of water. Feel free to use veggie broth instead of water for added flavor! I skip the broth in the recipe below, but use it in many other recipes. Try it both ways and see what you think =)
4. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover and simmer for approx 12 minutes.
5. Remove lid, fluff with a fork, and dig straight in! If it’s still a little liquid-y let it simmer for another minute or so until it’s nice and fluffy.
Make extra so you can toss it in pasta dishes to bulk them up, in salads for extra protein and texture, and anything else you can think of! Now that i’m not drowning my quinoa in that extra 1/2 cup of liquid it comes out fluffier and tastier than ever. Which means when I make Quinoa Fried Rice, its EXTRA magical.
Fluffy + Flavorful Quinoa Fried Rice
This tasty quinoa fried rice yields 4 side dish sized servings or two large portions. We’re completely crazy for this recipe and make it oh so often!
Leftovers are also amazing and can be warmed up by tossing the extra quinoa and veggies on a skillet with a little hot oil or butter. Easy peasy!
Feel free to use it as part of your weekly meal prep and you can easily double the recipe as needed.
special diets and swaps
Vegan? Skip the optional egg and use oil for sautéing.
Brontosaurus Chefs – Dig in as is or add some Honey Garlic Tofu if you’d like!
Gluten-Free? So is quinoa! Grab some bragg liquid aminos or GF tamari soy sauce to seal the deal and you’re good go.
Quinoa Fried Rice + Tips on Making Perfectly Fluffy Quinoa
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1.5 cups water
- 2-4 tsp low sodium soy sauce add a little to start and extra to taste!
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- ⅛ tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup fresh or frozen veggies: peas, carrots, and onion
- 1-2 large eggs optional
- oil or butter for sautéing (I typically reach for the butter)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook your quinoa via the method mentioned above.
- While its cooking, prep your veggies! I used frozen peas, fresh baby carrots, and fresh onion since it's what I had on hand. Any combo of veggies, frozen or fresh will work.
- Saute the carrots and onion in a small frying pan until tender. You'll saute your garlic too but add it towards the very end to prevent burning.
- For the peas, I microwave-steamed a small bag and saved the rest for later; however, any cooking method for those delish little peas will work, including tossing them in the skillet with the other veg.
- If you're adding eggs to the mix, push the veggies to one side of the hot pan and crack your eggs on the other side and scramble.
- If your using a stainless or cast iron pan, you might want to add a teeny bit of butter or oil to the pan before cracking the eggs.
- By now the quinoa should be ready. Add a sprinkle of garlic powder, fluff, and toss your quinoa into the pan with the veggies.
- Next add your soy sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and pan fry for a few minutes.
- Serve hot and garnish with parsley, sweet chili sauce, and extra low-sodium soy sauce =)
If you get a chance to try this fluffy quinoa fried rice, let me know! You can leave me a comment here (LOVE checking those daily!) or tag @PEASandCRAYONS on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creations. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!
This recipe is a great way to clean out your crisper drawer or even your freezer!
Use what you have on hand to make this dish any day of the week without worrying about a grocery-run. I tend to keep peas, carrots, and onion on hand at all time so those always end up in my dishes. When I have them, mushrooms, bean sprouts, snow peas and broccoli are a rockin’ addition to this dish.
What better way to eat your veggies?!
I literally make this quinoa fried rice once a week. Ob-SESSED!
I hope you adore it as much as I do!
more tasty quinoa recipes to try
First up, you’ve GOT to try my Greek Quinoa Bowls – they’re legendary!
For my T-Rex friends, I have the most amazing Chicken Shawarma Quinoa Bowls too.
Craving an easy peasy salad? Whip up a bowl of this epic Tomato Quinoa Salad and prepare to lick your plate clean!