Take out Fake out // Skinny Quinoa “Fried Rice” with Veggies

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This is how grown-ups eat fried rice. All of the taste, none of the guilt.  It has legitimate nutritional value, and it’s not even fried. There are actual vegetables in there. I bet you could trick a kid or two with this delicious knock-off. I love fooling people into eating healthy food. “You’re eating a complete protein, with iron and fiber and you don’t even know!” *Queue evil laugh*  muah ha ha ha. I would be a really ridiculous super-villain. We can choose names and capes later. First, the quinoa. Important stuff first.

If you too are a well intentioned trickster with a fast food loving family, you’ve come to the right place. We can keep this secret just between us, and the world-wide-internet-computer-machine.

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Let’s talk about take-out “Chinese” food for a minute. Not the pre-order and pick up business that you might get from some national chain *cough*PF Chang’s*cough*, or the sit down dining experience where they serve you reasonable portions. I’m talking about the random fast food joint in every shopping center. The one that you can smell from 2 blocks away. You walk in and see a variety of fried and sauce covered offerings in metal bins, point to the ones you intend to shovel in your face-hole, and an attendant crams as much food as possible into a Styrofoam take-out container. The place I visited as a teen literally gave you so much food, they needed rubber bands to keep the lids down, lest they explode all over your lap. It was intense.

Confession time: I crave this stuff like crazy. The mere thought those bins of fried rice, the tour de force of the shopping center fast food joint, will make my mouth water. I can’t eat this stuff anymore. It makes me feel terrible. I suspect it might have something to do with the oil left in the bottom of the container. The rest of that is in your insides. Yum.

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This is what steamed quinoa (keen-wah) looks like. A bowl full of pearly little grains with springs wrapped around them. Kinda cute. If you have never cooked quinoa before, it’s quite simple, and goes something like this: rinse, bring to boil with broth or water (2 cups liquid to 1 cup quinoa), cover, reduce to simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

For more detailed instructions, check out: How to make perfect, fluffy quinoa // The Kitchn

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The cast in our cooking adventure is pretty wholesome. Veggies, eggs, grains.

Ingredients (in order of use):

  • 1 tablespoon high heat oil (vegetable, peanut)
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, fine mince or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (I grate it with a microplane)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa **
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
      • Optional: Add in some chili garlic paste, sriracha, or some red pepper flakes if you like it spicy
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • Sliced green onion for garnish

** This recipe, as all fried rice preparations, works best with day old or leftover quinoa. Hot or freshly prepared quinoa runs the risk of becoming mushy in the cooking process.

Cooking Instructions:

  • Choose your biggest nonstick skillet
  • Have prepared quinoa and steamed broccoli at the ready
  • Preheat non-stick skillet with 1 tablespoon oil to high heat
  • Add carrots and onions and saute until onions are translucent and carrots reach desired level of doneness (totally subjective here)
  • Add in the garlic and ginger and saute briefly
  • Fold in quinoa and broccoli
  • Add in soy sauce and sesame oil, toss to distribute
  • Push the mixture around the outside ring of the pan, leaving a hole in the middle
  • Add butter to the hole, and melt
  • Pour whisked eggs over the butter and scramble them
      • The rest of the mixture will be crisping up on the bottom and getting nice and brown. Those brown crunchy bits are the best part!
  • Gently break up cooked eggs and fold into quinoa mixture
  • Serve hot with a garnish of sliced green onion and sesame seeds

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Let’s admire the fried rice doughnut and melted butter situation.

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This is where you pour the eggs in. It’s a little messy. Let’s just go with it.

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Scrambled eggs. Bits of veggie got in there. It’s ok.

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Let’s sit down and eat a big bowl full. Extra hot sauce for me please!

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I ate this 2 days in a row. I would do it again.

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Closeup action of the goodness.

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Quinoa is having a bit of a moment right now. It’s everywhere. If you’re looking for an alternative starchy side dish, give it a try! Forbes.com even called it “The Super Grain of the Future.” This is serious. This is adulthood.

Benefits of quinoa by Forbes: linked here

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This recipe would pair nicely with:

Site News:

Video features are coming soon! I succumbed to the force of the darkside (omg nerd alert) and got a smart phone. Welcome to 2006, Julie. Just a little behind the times. The good news is that this allows me to share tutorial videos with you! How exciting! We can all see my awkwardness in video form. Full disclosure: I’m a little nervous about it. Thank goodness for editing.

PS: You can follow me on Instagram too. You can find me under the username “JulieHGT.” I post ridiculous pictures of my dogs, and some outtakes/behind the scene images from the recipe website.

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