Quinoa Stir Fry
I have been pressured twice by my friend Lynda to post up this recipe, so here it is. I recently went to a casual get-together potluck lunch with a few friends, and we all brought something. The hostess was making a Korean dish, so I wanted to bring something Asian in order to compliment the meal. I went back and forth between wanting to make fried rice or a stir fry. Then I looked into my pantry and pulled out my trusty box of red quinoa. Perfect! I knew I could whip up something with the quinoa that would end up being kind of like a cross between fried rice and a stir fry.
Quinoa is something I usually always have in stock for whenever I’m in a low carb kind of mood. Sometimes it’s red, and other times it’s white. Either one is pretty awesome because it almost seems like rice or cous cous, but it’s actually protein-rich seeds, which become soft and fluffy when you cook them. When I brought it to the potluck, my friends were pleasantly surprised by my dish. They all mentioned that they have eaten quinoa in a salad, or as a side dish, but never as a stir fry. It was a winner amongst my friends and now they want to know how to make it. So here’s how.
Start out by placing 1 cup of quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse it well with cold water.
Then you cook it kind of like rice. Place the rinsed quinoa in a pot, along with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 10-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
When you see a germ ring on the outside of the grains, it’s cooked. Um yeah. Sounds gross, and this close up picture is kinda freaking me out, but I wanted to show you what it looks like. Fluff the quinoa up with a fork and leave it aside.
The majority of the flavor for this entire dish comes from oyster sauce. I chose to make my quinoa stir fry with chicken, but if you’re not feeling like meat, just leave it out, and substitute with mushrooms or tofu instead.
I used three boneless, skinless chicken thighs because that’s what I had in my freezer. Cube up the chicken and add 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce on top. If you want to use chicken breasts, go for it. But in my humble opinion, chicken thighs are juicier and taste better. Just mix the chicken in the marinade and set it aside until you’re done prepping the other vegetables.
Grab a couple handfuls of green beans, then trim and chop them into little bite sized pieces.
Next, I used two Korean peppers, because that’s what I had, but you can use 1 jalapeno instead if that’s easier to find. Remove the pith and seeds and chop them finely. Also, chop up one onion.
Then add the chopped onion in a large saute pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. When it’s slightly softened, add the chicken, along with all the sauce.
When the chicken is nearly cooked through, add the string beans and peppers.
When the string beans are crisp tender, tumble in your cooked quinoa.
Toss and stir for a minute more. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if you need it.
Then garnish with chopped scallions, and take it to your potluck party, where your girlfriends will bug you to give them the recipe.
This really ends up being a good potluck dish because it can be served hot, or at room temperature. Also, a little quinoa goes a long way. One cup made enough to feed four people and then some. If you’re looking for some more low carb ideas, check out my chicken with chickpeas and arugula recipe.
Personalize this recipe by using or adding any other kind of meat or veggies that you want. It’s a great way to use leftover ingredients you have lying around in your fridge. So I guess it really is a cross between a stir fry and fried rice. In any case, it’s easy, light and full of flavor. Your friends will thank you.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 ½ cups trimmed and chopped string beans
- 2 Korean peppers, or 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, & finely diced
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped scallions for garnish
- Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Place in a pot with the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the grains are soft and translucent. A germ ring will be visible on the outside of the grains. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- Meanwhile, add the oyster sauce to the chopped chicken, toss to coat well, and let it marinate while you get the other ingredients ready.
- Add some olive oil to a large saute pan and cook the onions with some salt and pepper until slightly softened. Add the chicken, and when the pieces are almost completely cooked through, add the chopped string beans and peppers. When the string beans are crisp tender, add the quinoa, stir well and cook for 1 minute more. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Garnish with chopped scallions, and serve hot or at room temperature.