Quinoa Fried Rice Recipe

Crispy Chicken Quinoa Fried Rice has got your takeout cravings covered, but healthier! | themillennialmenu.com

If I’m going to take a few unplanned months away from sharing recipes, I better have a great one to kick off coming back to blogging, and this recipe for Quinoa Fried Rice is it. Who doesn’t love fried rice? It’s salty and buttery all at once, and always satisfies that takeout craving. Sometimes, though, I want to eat healthier (well, slightly healthier) or have a more filling meal, and substituting quinoa for the rice in this recipe gets the job done.

In terms of making this recipe more filling for work lunches, I always add crispy fried chicken, tossed in a bit of extra sesame oil at the end of cooking, to get me through an afternoon of teaching. You can easily do this as vegetarian dish without the chicken, add an extra scrambled egg or two, or add tofu. Or, simply enjoy as is.

One other thing I love about this meal is that it’s a great recipe to make during the same week you try out my Crispy Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce, since you’ve already got over half of what you need to make those once you’ve grocery shopped for this recipe! The flavors are definitely distinctly different, still, so it’s a great way to save money on groceries and using up your ingredients while still varying up what you eat.

Quinoa seems to really multiply and I always end up with a mountain of it - which is exactly what you want when you’re adding awesome flavors like sautéed onions, sesame oil, soy sauce, fresh chopped scallions, and more. This is a great recipe to cook for a crowd and has a relatively inexpensive base in the quinoa. Cheap, tasty, health(ier)…add this to your calendar for dinner next week!



Quinoa Fried Rice

Makes 4-6 servings
Other recipes with these ingredients: Soy sauce: Beef & Broccoli // Chicken, carrots, soy sauce, and quinoa: Crispy Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: Instant Pot: High, 1 minutes NPR 5 minutes plus 15 minutes "frying" the quinoa // Stove top: 30 minutes
Total Time: Depending on cooking method, 30-45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry quinoa

  • 4 tbsp. butter

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • salt & pepper, to taste

  • 2 scallions, chopped

  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce

  • 4 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil + 2 more if making crispy chicken strips

  • Optional: 2 chicken breast, sliced into thin strips with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil




Dietary Substitutions:
Vegetarian Friendly: Leave out chicken or add tofu.
Dairy-free Friendly
Gluten Free As long as you confirm all of your ingredients are gluten free, this recipe is gluten-free friendly. Double check your soy sauce.
Vegan: Use additional oil as needed rather than butter, and leave out the eggs.

Directions

MAKE THE QUINOA & CHICKEN
1. To make the quinoa:

On the stovetop: turn one burner on high. Add 2 cups of water to the sauce pan. Add in 1 cup dry quinoa. Once the quinoa comes to a boil, turn down the heat, cover, and let the quinoa sit for 15 minutes. Read more about how to cook quinoa 

In the Instant Pot: Add 1 cup dry quinoa and 2 cups water to the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 1 minute. Yep, 1 minute. NPR for 10 minutes, then QPR. Read about why you need an Instant Pot in general here. While that's happening...


2. Slice your 2 chicken breasts into thin strips. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the sliced chicken breast and let cook until browned. Use a spatula to ensure all sides are browned. Cooking should take 5-10 minutes.
3. When the chicken is almost done, add 2 tablespoons sesame oil to the pan and stir to coat to add extra flavor to the strips.

PREP THE MIX-INs
4.
Dice 1 medium onion, 2 medium carrots, and 4 cloves minced garlic and add them to a large frying pan with olive oil over medium heat.
5. Sautè the veggies until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
6. Add 4 tablespoons of butter and stir (yes, I said 4. Don’t ask, just do it)
7. Add some water (less than 1/4 cup) to a microwave-safe bowl, add the 1/2 cup frozen peas and microwave on 30 seconds to soften them. Then, add the peas to the frying pan.

FRY IT!
6. Once the quinoa is ready, add the cooked quinoa to the pan with all the veggies and stir.
7. Add 4 tablespoons soy sauce and 4 tablespoons sesame oil to the pan and stir. These amounts are flexible and dependent on personal preferences! Add more or less if you like.
8. Add your cooked chicken strips to the pan. Continue to stir, adding more butter, sesame oil, or soy sauce as desired.
9. Meanwhile, quickly scramble two eggs in separate pan. I’ve found scrambling it all together makes the quinoa weird and congealed. Definitely scramble your eggs separately. Add these to the quinoa pan and mix to incorporate.
9. Add salt & pepper and chopped scallions to taste.

Yum.

quinoa-fried-rice-close-up

Storing & Extra Ingredients

STORING - Store in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

LUNCH TOMORROW - I’ve done this for meal prep for lunches for the week and it lasts very well! Be sure to eat within 5 days if you do add chicken.

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - If you have extra carrots, chicken, soy sauce, and quinoa, you’re halfway to my Crispy Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce! Work on that bottle of soy sauce with my Beef & Broccoli recipe. Use up the rest of that bag of frozen peas in my favorite comfort meal: Chicken Pot Pie.


Shortcut Shakshuka Recipe

Easy and fast shakshuka is ready in 7 minutes with 0 prep time. you have to try this tomato and egg bake that is vegetarian an healthy! Yum!  | themillennialmenu.com

Let's be honest here - it's time for a Shortcut Shakshuka recipe. Shakshuka is a baked egg and tomato-based dish of Tunisian and Moroccan Jewish origin, served both as a breakfast dish as well as at dinnertime. It's all the rage right now, but every time I tried to make it, I got frustrated - this was not a quick and easy dinner. The concept behind shakshuka is baked eggs, meaning you need to put your skillet into the oven to cook the eggs in the tomato sauce. This takes forever to do. And it also means you need to have an oven safe skillet so you don't burn your hand off. I have no patience for all of this, and I also hate undercooked eggs. BUT, I do love shakshuka - it's a savory, smoky, and inexpensive meal. SO, I bring you my solution: Shortcut Shakshuka. I whip up the fried eggs in a separate pan in 3 minutes and am so. much. happier.

This recipe also has ZERO prep time. You add your ingredients to a saucepan, fry a few eggs, and you're sitting down to a delicious dinner in 7 minutes. This is mostly made possible by the existence of Trader Joe's - particularly their Eggplant Garlic Spread with Sweet Red Peppers. I love the inclusion of the sweet red peppers to classic Shakshuka recipes like this one from the New York Times - but that's one more step. This spread adds garlic and the sweet red peppers to your recipe with no extra work - plus the eggplant adds a delicious depth of flavor without overpowering anything.

If you want, you can add some prep time by sautéing a bit of onion in the bottom of the pan before adding the sauces, but I've found you don't even need it. The spices are also optional - the Trader Joe's spread is flavorful enough that you don't need them, but they are good spices to have on hand anyways if you want to purchase a set for your pantry. Either way, you'll be enjoying a budget-friendly and really healthy dinner in no time. 



Shortcut Shakshuka Recipe

makes 2 servings
Other recipes with these ingredients: Farro: Middle Eastern Grain Bowls
Prep Time: 0 minutes (add 25 minutes if making farro)
Cooking Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked farro *Optional*Substitute: white beans, quinoa, wild rice, etc.
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe's Eggplant Garlic Spread with Sweet Red Peppers
  • 2 eggs (Note: this recipe makes 2 servings. I eat 2 eggs per serving, but I cook my servings of eggs one at a time. If you're making 2 servings, you will eventually need 4 eggs in total)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • Chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish Optional
  • Oil, butter, or non-stick spray (for frying eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika Optional
  • 1 teaspoon cumin Optional




Dietary Substitutions
Vegetarian!
Dairy Free: No feta cheese.
Gluten Free: If you choose to add a grain, make sure to add a gluten free one like quinoa
Vegan-Friendly Not super vegan friendly because you'd have to leave out the eggs and feta, but you could add extra grains and chickpeas for protein.

Directions

OPTIONAL: MAKE YOUR FARRO (or other grain)
1. Add 1/2 cup of dry, pearled farro and 1 cup of water to a pot. Bring to a boil. Turn down to low heat, let simmer for approximately 25 minutes, until farro is tender [Important Ratio: 1:2 dry farro:cooked farro, 1:2 farro:water].

MAKE THE SAUCE
2. Turn the burner on to medium. Add 1 cup tomato sauce and 1/2 cup Trader Joe's Eggplant Garlic Spread with Sweet Red Peppers and warm.
3. Add the 1 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon cumin to the sauce, stir to combine.
4. Once the farro is cooked, stir the farro into the sauce. 
5. Add 1/4 cup feta cheese and stir. 

FRY THE EGGS
6. *In a separate pan* heat the burner to medium heat and add a bit of oil, butter, or non-stick spray.
7. Crack 2 eggs into the pan. Cook the eggs to desired doneness. Check out How to Fry an Egg for guidance.

TOP & ENJOY
8. Once the eggs are done, slide the finished eggs on top of the tomato mixture. Top with cilantro or parsley and enjoy.

Yum.

shortcut shakshuka is on the table in 7 minutes with 0 prep time. Enjoy a healthy vegetarian meal in no time! | themillennialmenu.com

Lunch Tomorrow, Storing, & Extra Ingredients

LUNCH TOMORROW - While I've enjoyed the tomato sauce/farro/feta mixture leftover, it's best to fry the additional eggs separately. This means that this recipe isn't the best option to bring for lunch (although you could enjoy it without the fried eggs) but it's perfect for another dinner. Just warm up the sauce and fry a few more eggs fresh!

STORING - Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Again, you don't want to have any leftover cooked eggs.

EXTRA INGREDIENTS -  Feta is great in salads, a pasta dish, or over a Mediterranean-inspired chicken dish. Cilantro can be used in my Five Minute Fish Taco Bowls and parsley in the Middle Eastern Grain Bowls. Try the Eggplant Garlic Spread with Sweet Red Peppers as a pasta sauce, over grilled veggies, as a topping for bruschetta. Use any extra tomato sauce to make homemade pizzas!