Ethnic Food/ Recipes/ Vegetarian

Simple Quinoa Fried Rice

Say hello to one of my favorite easy lunches.

I’ve always been a fried rice fan {Benihana’s rice will always remind me of group dates in high school}, but lately this quinoa version has been taking center stage. Why? Well, for a few reasons. First of all, I’m awful at cooking rice. I don’t know what my problem is, actually. Plus, it takes too long. Quinoa cooks in just thirteen minutes, which is perfect for my impatient tummy. Also, I like the added bit of protein that quinoa brings to the table. It keeps me full longer, especially when paired with veggies and eggs.

This is seriously a power meal and will keep me going on afternoon!

If you’ve been reading articles lately about our North American quinoa consumption driving up prices for native Bolivians and Chileans to levels that they can’t afford, rest easy. Choosing Fair Trade quinoa is actually a way to change that story and support quinoa growing communities. With the Fair Trade community development premiums, farmers are able to invest in quality and productivity, ensuring that there will be enough quinoa for all who want and need it for generations to come.

If you’re interested in concerned or interested in learning more, here’s a really great and informative article on all that.

I make this dish with really just whatever I happen to have on hand. It’s a great way to clean out your veggie drawer in the fridge. You could also add shrimp or cooked chicken if you want more bulk!

Lastly, quinoa fried rice makes great leftovers. I actually like it for breakfast! It’s no Benihana, but it’s pretty darn tasty. And probably much healthier, too.

Simple Quinoa Fried Rice

serves 4

Print this Recipe!


1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup snow peas, sliced on a diagonal

1 green onion, sliced into 1/2″ slices on a diagonal

1 red bell pepper, small diced

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp high-heat cooking oil {such as coconut or soy bean}, divided

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce


Combine quinoa and water in a medium sized saucepot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 13 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water. After the quinoa has cooked, fluff with a fork and take off the heat.

Now, drizzle half of the high-heat cooking oil in a large skillet or wok. Place over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the eggs and cook until just done {still a tad runny}. Slide eggs out onto a plate and set aside. Drizzle in the remaining oil and add the snow peas, red bell pepper and green onion. Saute for about three minutes, until veggies are just tender. Add the quinoa and stir. Add the eggs back in, as well as the sesame oil, fish sauce and soy sauce and toss well.

Remove from heat and serve!


20 minutes


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  • Michelle @ Eat Move Balance
    April 3, 2013 at 2:18 am

    I love using quinoa in place of rice now. And fried rice is such a delicious comfort food, that this will be great!

  • Danielle
    April 3, 2013 at 2:37 am

    Looks delicious! What a great, simple idea. Will definitely satisfy my cravings πŸ™‚

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    April 3, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Love quinoa. That looks delish. Would never have thought of adding eggs. Yum.

  • Emily @ Life on Food
    April 3, 2013 at 2:56 am

    This is one of my most favorite uses of quinoa. So, so good!

  • Live Love Yum
    April 3, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I see fish sauce in a lot of your recipes…any substitutes? Thanks for the info on quinoa.

    • jenna
      April 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      You can just omit the fish sauce — no worries!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    April 3, 2013 at 3:30 am

    I think it looks way better than Benihana! And I prefer quinoa to rice; more flavor, nutrients, fiber, taste, quicker trumps rice for me. And love the snow peas in this!

  • Sarah
    April 3, 2013 at 4:37 am

    I love making fried quinoa – I just find it keeps me so much fuller for longer, and the nutty texture really satisfies me. Can’t say the same for fried rice – I could eat two woks full of the stuff – not conducive to a healthy lifestyle πŸ˜‰

  • Amber Shannon
    April 3, 2013 at 5:04 am

    Love doing this as well, and sometimes I amp up the flavor of the quinoa with broth and coconut milk with for some Thai inspiration – delicious!

    • P
      January 24, 2014 at 6:48 am

      Amber, at what point do you add the coconut milk? Sounds delicious!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    April 3, 2013 at 5:10 am

    Sounds tasty! I agree, quinoa is SO much more convenient to cook than rice! And I think just about every quinoa dish I’ve ever made tastes better a couple of days later. It’s the perfect food for leftovers!

  • Angela @ Happy Fit Mama
    April 3, 2013 at 5:44 am

    Quinoa and veggies are one of my go-tos for a quick lunch or dinner. Love the idea of fried “rice” version!

  • Julia Kent
    April 3, 2013 at 6:11 am

    OMG Jenna it’s like you read my mind! I’ve been wanting a quick & easy recipe for my lunches lately. I’ll have another really fast honey-lime quinoa salad recipe you’d like… it’s going up on my blog Thursday so I’ll be sure to share!
    Take care!

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More
    April 3, 2013 at 6:14 am

    I LOVE quinoa fried “rice”! In fact, I think I might like it MORE than fried rice!

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action
    April 3, 2013 at 6:15 am

    This recipe sounds good! And thanks for the information on how to ensure our impact on third world countries is a positive one, as it hasn’t been the case for the most part, especially in regards to food they eat that we later discover. I’ll definitely be buying my quinoa fair trade from now on.

    And then I will be making this recipe πŸ™‚

  • Tieghan
    April 3, 2013 at 6:16 am

    This is genius! Quinoa fried rice! it’s probably better than fried rice! Can’t wait to try this!

  • Ja @Ja on the RUN
    April 3, 2013 at 6:27 am

    I will definitely try this! :)) I love Quinoa! πŸ™‚

  • Jenna
    April 3, 2013 at 6:42 am

    I love a good fried rice and the use of quinoa sounds wonderful

  • Jenn from Much to My Delight
    April 3, 2013 at 6:45 am

    This looks awesome! I was planning on making fried rice for dinner, and will now add some quinoa to the mix. Also, if you’re bad at making rice (guilty as charged), a rice cooker will change your life!! I’m on Team Zojirushi.

    • Kate
      April 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      Rice cookers rock! Even the small, cheap models do a great job, and there’s minimal cleanup.

  • Pippa@popovertopippas
    April 3, 2013 at 6:49 am

    I loved quinoa fried rice too! I make mine with some tofu and green peas. Speaking of rice disasters… my brown rice burned last night on the bottom of the pan:)

  • joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    April 3, 2013 at 7:29 am

    This is a great idea… I’d never thought to use quinoa in place of rice for fried rice dishes. Yum!

  • Makenzie Ann
    April 3, 2013 at 7:30 am

    YUM this will be the perfect meal for weekends at the sorority because we always have veggies and eggs on hand πŸ™‚ thanks for the fair trade tip…id heard about that predicament and wasn’t sure what to do

  • Laura
    April 3, 2013 at 7:35 am

    My husband invented this dish for us over a year ago and I love it! So easy to make with whatevers on hand and the leftovers are great!

    I haven’t heard of “high heat” cooking oil before? Could you explain the benefits vs. canola/vegetable oil?

    • jenna
      April 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      High heat oil have a very high smoke point, which means they won’t burn as easily. Olive oil, for example, is a low-heat oil — you should never, ever fry anything in olive oil because it’s just not meant for that high of a temperature. Canola oil is okay but not the best —- I prefer to use coconut or rice bran oil, myself, as you can get them super super hot without them smoking.

  • Emily @ The Swallow Flies
    April 3, 2013 at 7:49 am

    This looks awesome! I already have my meal plan figured out for this week, but this is definitely making it into the line-up for next week!

  • Jenn
    April 3, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Thanks for the Fair Trade tip–I think it’s so important for us to buy sustainable foods, and Fair Trade is one way to work toward that. That said, I always have problems finding things besides coffee that are Fair Trade. Where did you find Fair Trade quinoa?

    • jenna
      April 3, 2013 at 7:53 am

      You can find it at Whole Foods!

  • carolyn
    April 3, 2013 at 7:57 am

    quinoa instead of rice would have never crossed my mind for this! thank you so much!

  • Jenna
    April 3, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I had no idea about the Fair Trade. I have been buying my quinoa at the grocery store and find it pretty expensive. I am now going to purchase it from a partner of Fair Trade – thanks!

  • Katie @ Passionately Balanced
    April 3, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I love this idea! Fried rice is one of my favorites, crunchy veggies and soy or fish sauce. Yum. Quinoa would totally be interesting in the mix though, maybe I will try it for lunch today… Thanks for the idea πŸ™‚

  • erin @hooleywithaz
    April 3, 2013 at 8:20 am

    comfort food to the max.

  • Mr. & Mrs. P
    April 3, 2013 at 8:40 am

    This looks delicious!! Best part.. So good for you!

  • Alycia
    April 3, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Jenna, I’m so glad you posted about using fair trade quinoa. I myself became very upset at the fact that prices are going up and up for Peruvian and Bolivian locals to buy what is their staple grain. I will make sure to buy fair trade from now on….and this recipe looks awesome!! πŸ™‚

  • courtney
    April 3, 2013 at 9:11 am

    any tips on rinsing quinoa? i usually end up wasting a ton and/or spilling it everywhere

    • Kate
      April 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      I use a colander, sometimes inside a bowl, sometimes not if I’m lazy. Works pretty well.

    • jenna
      April 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      I’m awful — I’ve never actually rinsed by quinoa (gasp). But hey, I’m still alive! πŸ™‚

  • Caroline L.
    April 3, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Genius recipe – I’m a fried rice fan as well, but hate how it’s so unhealthy. Perfect balance!

  • Emily
    April 3, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I’ve never thought to do fried quinoa! And I didn’t hear about the rising quinoa prices for other folks, that’s so lame. Fair Trade all the way!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    April 3, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I love an easy recipe like this! Looks great!

  • Christa @ Edible Balance
    April 3, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Great looking dish! I choose quinoa over rice for sure! It’s just as versatile, if not more, but the nutrients and flavor trumps rice any day! Love the nuttiness it brings to every dish, red is by far my favorite for breakfasts πŸ™‚

  • Katy @ KatysKitchen
    April 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Quinoa is so versatile, and that salad looks really yummy! A fantastic healthy and quick lunch.

  • addie | culicurious
    April 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Great recipe and idea, Jenna. I was thinking about making a fried rice for a “low cost meal” post I’m doing next week. Using quinoa instead of rice is an amazing substitution. Just may have to try this out. Thanks!

  • Stacey I
    April 3, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Okay, I have never tried quinoa [so obviously have never cooked with it]… Does it taste like a brown rice? This recipe looks wonderful. Are there any tricks to cookingquinoa? I saw someone posted about rinsing it…

    • jenna
      April 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      It does not taste like brown rice — has a bit more of a chew, I think? I really love the way quinoa tastes — it’s slightly nutty!

  • Heather@farmgirlgonechicagoan
    April 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Yum! I love quinoa and fried rice so this would be a great alternative-thanks for the idea!

  • Sharon
    April 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    This looks so good, I’m saving this recipe for next time I go shopping πŸ™‚

  • Deb @ Dietitian Debbie Dishes
    April 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Love this! I can’t wait to try yet another way to make one of my favorite foods! πŸ™‚

  • Amanda @ Food, Fitness, Faith
    April 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I am the same.exact.way. when it comes to cooking rice. I’ve given up! I can’t wait to try this recipe for lunch at my new job – working all day and not being able to snack constantly is taking its toll!

  • Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
    April 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I absolutely LOVE using quinoa in place of rice when making fried “rice.” Awesome recipe :).

  • dixya@food, pleasure, and health
    April 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I made a similar recipe from Guy Fieri’s cookbook and turned out fabulous and loved the flexibility of this recipe!

  • Micha
    April 3, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Two words – rice cooker….Took me 13 years of marriage before I bought one and seriously, it cooks rice, quinoa, steel cut oatmeal and the one I have, has a timer on it, especially great for oatmeal, mix it in the evening and bam, 7 am, hot, creamy oatmeal.

  • rose
    April 3, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Hey Jenna,
    Can you fry this in grapeseed oil? Or is that not a “high heat”?
    My man is a rice fan-AT-ic, but if I cook quinoa or barley he doesn’t know the difference lol so I love to make the swap for my waistline πŸ™‚

  • Alley @ Alley's Recipe Book
    April 3, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I just made veggie fried rice last night and used toasted sesame oil. It has great asian flavor. I ended up with twice the veggies as I did “rice” (kamut, volcano rice, and brown rice mixture) and it was delicious!

  • Miss Kim @ behgopa
    April 4, 2013 at 2:00 am

    I got the late night munchies. And this dish looks so tempting. And I can be less guilty about the calorie intake. Too bad I don’t have any quinoa on hand, and the stores are closed. =( I love quinoa! I can’t have it without sriracha.

  • Sarah
    April 4, 2013 at 3:18 am

    I’m Asian and I love my rice, but this looks a wonderful alternative. I also like the idea that it is quick to cook and keeps you full up – this will hopefully stop my hand from dipping into the cookie jar!

  • robyn @ thereallife_RD
    April 4, 2013 at 6:18 am

    fried rice is my favorite quick and healthy meal– I’ve never tried it with quinoa, great idea!

  • Jane @ Not Plain So Jane
    April 4, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Great recipe! Quinoa will be a nice different texture!

  • Michelle
    April 4, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Thanks for this post! I just posted on Facebook looking for recipes to get my kids to eat quinoa. I’ve tried several different ways but haven’t had much luck with getting them to enjoy it. I actually have fried rice and pot stickers on the menu for tonight so I am going to substitute quinoa for the rice and see how it goes!
    Simply well,

  • Liz
    April 4, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I already have a favorite fried rice recipe I do with brown rice, next time I’ll try the quinoa swap.

  • Sandy@ReluctantEntertainer
    April 4, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Jenna, we’re so in to quinoa now! I can’t wait to try this.

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  • Laurie {SimplyScratch}
    April 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Such a great {and delicious} idea!!

  • Sonia the Mexigarian
    April 5, 2013 at 11:55 am

    i love fried rice and fried quiona. I have some in the freezer that’s actually wanting to be used πŸ™‚ perfect recipe.

  • Amy @ healthy and fit for real
    April 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I love how versatile quinoa is!

  • Shelley
    April 7, 2013 at 5:39 am

    This is such a delicious easy recipe! My family loved it. thanks Jenna!

  • Kristen
    April 8, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Looks delicious!
    Fair trade anything is a good idea, but it’s also good/important to know that quinoa is not as exploitative as some very one sided sources would have you believe. As with anything, if we over-consume quinoa it will lead to over-production and this will be problematic both environmentally and economically. So don’t over-consume it. Dietary wise, “everything in moderation” is the best way to ensure you’re not damaging the planet or the economy.
    So let’s get back to Peruvians and quinoa. Many articles say things like: “a pound of quinoa is now more expensive in Lima than a pound of chicken”. Guess what? it is here too. And it should be. It’s harder to grow and cannot be yielded as quickly. We need to be concerned if it gets cheaper. The increased popularity of quinoa means that farmers are actually receiving a fair price for their grain (even if it isn’t labeled “fair trade”), and being a quinoa farmer is now a sustainable living. Even major suppliers of quinoa to North American grocers are not farming the grain themselves (and thus putting independent growers out of business). Instead, they are buying from the farmers in Peru and Bolivia, at a fair price and in good conditions. You’ll also hear “no one in Peru eats quinoa anymore because it’s too expensive”. This is not true. Peruvians do eat quinoa, but the farmers of it also eat less of it than they used to because they can now afford to feed their families meat and other foods. This is a GOOD thing.

    Summary – don’t overconsume anything if you want to look after the planet and the economy. If you can say “I eat this every day” it’s probably a problem. It’s great to know a lot about your suppliers but you will never know everything, and beware of mass media making outrageous claims for shock value. Its ok to buy Quinoa. Read both sides of the story before you pick one. Fair trade isn’t always the better option.

    • Stacey
      April 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      I really enjoyed reading this. Good points!

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    April 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    My husband hates quinoa but loves fried rice, so I think this could be a happy in between! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

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    April 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I made it last night, and I’m keeping the recipe to use in the future. πŸ™‚

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  • Amy
    April 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I can’t cook rice either! Growing up, my parents’ rice cooker was broken, and just 3 minutes after adding the water, the button popped up to signal the rice was done. We had to duct tape it down to make sure the rice cooked all the way! So I haven’t trusted rice cookers since then, but I can’t seem to cook rice by myself on the stovetop either. I’m hopeless!

  • Erin
    July 31, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Hi Jenna! Just made this tonight…it was delicious! Thank you for the recipe – I have been on a quinoa kick lately and love all the ideas I can get.

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    September 8, 2013 at 6:42 am

    I just made this (: Without sesame oil though cause I didn’t have any ): And its good. Tastes just like fried rice (:

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