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.


Beef & Broccoli Meal Prep Recipe

This Beef & Broccoli meal prep recipe is the perfect Sunday meal prep to fuel you through your week. Better than takeout! | themillennialmenu.com

I am a HUGE fan of take out. Not just because I think the food is good (I do), but because I just love the convenience of it. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook - clearly. But there's something about food showing up at your door that can't be beat. Until now.

This Beef & Broccoli recipe is better-than-takeout good - the marinated flank steak is extra flavorful, the sesame seeds add the perfect crunch, it's got a little bit of a kick...what more could you want? I love/hate to admit that it also just tastes and feels healthier than takeout, meaning I should probably hold back on ordering takeout. Also - that's a great excuse to use this Beef & Broccoli recipe as a meal prep and have it for lunch all week.

Flank steak, which is what you'll need for this recipe, often comes in larger (read: more than single serving) portions, so it's great that this recipe is ideal for meal prepping and having multiple nights in a row or for lunch for the week. Since it's made in the Instant Pot/crock pot (stove top directions included too), it's also such an easy recipe to come home to. It only takes about 10 minutes to finish up.

My favorite way to cook this recipe is to use the slow cooker function on my Instant Pot, because it allows me to cook the food before I get home from work, but also takes advantage of the Instant Pot technology keeps it warm all day after the few hours of cooking are over. Perfect when you work in a school building for 11 hours a day.  

Wondering how you could ever possibly put something in your Instant Pot/slow cooker in the morning AND shower before work AND down some coffee??? First, do it once and you'll realize it's SO worth it. Second, this recipe is GREAT for dump and go - I mix the sauce the night before and keep it in a tupperware, slice my meat ahead of time and store in the fridge in a gallon zip lock bag, and dump it all together in the morning and hit "ON". You can definitely, definitely do that and come home to better-than-takeout Beef & Broccoli ready and waiting (well, for 10 more minutes of simmering, but close enough).



Beef & Broccoli Recipe

Makes 6 servings
Other recipes with these ingredients: Beef Broth: French Onion Soup // Flank Steak: Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
Prep time: 10 minutes before + 10 minutes after
Cook time: Slow cooker: Low, 4 hours // Instant Pot: High, 10 minutes NPR // Stove top: 30 minutes
Total Time: Depending on cooking method, add prep time + cook time

Ingredients

  • 1 pound flank steak Substitute: skirt steak
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch + 4 tablespoons cold water
  • Pinch of red chili flakes Optional, to taste
  • Sesame seeds, for topping
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • Serving suggestion: Serve over white rice




Dietary Substitutions:
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.
Not Vegetarian or Vegan Friendly

Directions
(see non-Instant Pot directions in italics below)

PREP THE BEEF
1. Make the sauce by combining 3/4 cup beef broth, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon sesame oil and whisking to combine. If you like heat, add a pinch of red chili flakes to the sauce now.
2. Slice 1 pound of flank steak thinly, against the grain. Add to your pot (for whatever cooking method you're using).
3. Pour the sauce over the meat and stir to coat. Cook based on your cooking method: Instant Pot: 10 minutes high pressure NPR // Slow cooker: 4 hours on low // Stove top: simmer on medium heat for 20-30 minutes, until meat reaches desired doneness.

PREP THE BROCCOLI & RICE
4. If you'd like to serve this dish over white rice, start cooking that now.
5. Get 1-2 inches of water boiling in your steamer. Once boiling, add the 3 cups broccoli florets and steam for 5-7 minutes.
6. Break down your 3 cups broccoli into florets (which really just means break it into individual broccolis!)

AS THE STEAK IS FINISHING...
7. Whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 4 tablespoons COLD water (cold matters here!)
8. Once the meat is "done" cooking, add this slurry to the steak and sauce pot.
9. Continue to cook 10-15 additional minutes on low (stovetop & slow cooker - for Instant Pot, turn Sauté feature on low), allowing the sauce to thicken. 
10. Serve beef over rice with broccoli, topped with sesame seeds for garnish. 

Yum.


Storing & Extra Ingredients

STORING - Store in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. This has been my recent go-to meal prep recipe, so I've eaten it all week for lunch and found it to taste just as good on day 1 as day 5. The flavors really infuse into the meat so it tastes better than takeout.

LUNCH TOMORROW - As I said, this is the perfect lunch. The bowls look perfect with the beef and broccoli spooned over some nice white rice and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Your coworkers will be jealous.

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - If you end up with extra flank steak (especially if it's on sale and you buy extra!) I recommend Pinch of Yum's Slow Cooker Beef Ragu. I ate this for 5 meals straight one week in January and had 0 complaints. If you end up having extra broth, try using it up in a cozy French Onion Soup recipe. Hang on to that soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil for some other Millennial Menu favorites coming at you in the future.