Quinoa Fried Rice
By Fiona Riddle
This non-traditional fried rice recipe uses quinoa in place of long grain white rice for a more nutrient dense spin on a takeout classic. It takes only 15 minutes to prepare (just make sure to cook your quinoa in advance), and is sure to be a hit at dinner, even amongst the pickiest eaters. Plus, it’s packed with veggies for a rainbow of healthy vitamins and phytonutrients.
Quinoa, which is often referred to as an “ancient grain,” is actually a seed in the amaranth family. It is native to the Andean region of South America where it is commonly used as a substitute for animal proteins when they are unavailable.
Compared to grains like rice and wheat, quinoa is higher in protein, fiber and other vitamins and nutrients. A cup of cooked quinoa contains a little over 4g of protein and close to 3g of fiber. Its nutrient profile makes it a healthier and more satiating option. And, unlike most plant-based protein sources, it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids.
It is especially high in the amino acid lysine, which is often low in plant sources of protein. Lysine may aid in bone health by balancing calcium absorption and retention. It is also high in many different plant compounds that lend anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties when consumed.
Because quinoa is higher in fiber and has a lower glycemic index than rice, the easy swap will also help to minimize blood sugar spikes, ultimately preventing an energy crash and subsequent cravings for sugary foods.
So, the next time you’re in the mood for a bowl of takeout, try this “healthified” Quinoa Fried Rice instead. It makes great leftovers as well!
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 bunch baby broccoli, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 eggs, whisked
4 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce/tamari
¼ cup frozen peas
To serve: sliced green onion, sesame seeds
1. Heat the sesame oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the carrot, onion and broccoli. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften.
2. Add the garlic to the pan, and continue to cook until the vegetables are fork tender. Turn the heat to low.
3. Move the vegetables to one side of the pan and pour the whisked eggs onto the empty side. Stir constantly until the eggs begin to set, then mix with the vegetables.
4. Add the quinoa, soy sauce and peas to the pan and mix well. Cook until the peas are no longer frozen then serve topped with sliced green onion and sesame seeds.
A Few Notes:
This recipe is also delicious with the addition of chicken or topped with a salmon filet for extra protein.
Fiona Riddle is a Certified Health Coach with a degree in Psychology from UCLA. She is passionate about a holistic approach to health when working with her private coaching clients. She is an avid cook, constantly creating and sharing new recipes on her Instagram (@feelgoodwithfi) to showcase simple clean home cooking. She has helped clients take their health into their own hands and successfully boost their energy and confidence through sustainable lifestyle changes. www.feelgoodwithfi.com