I whipped up this quick, delicious and ultra-nutritious fried-quinoa bowl for lunch today using leftover quinoa and a few spring vegetables from last weekend’s farmer’s market. This “fried rice” technique is a great way to give new life to any leftover grains that might be hiding in your fridge: farro, quinoa, amaranth, millet, barley – the list goes on. Before I started doing this I would often end up wasting that last cup or so of cooked grains that we’d eaten with a curry or dal. After sitting in the fridge for a day or two the cold grains always looked so sad and dry and altogether unappealing, and I’m not proud to say that quite a few times they went straight into the trash (the cause of much angst because I hate wasting food). Luckily I discovered the deliciousness of the refried-grain bowl and my attitude totally changed; I now look forward to these leftover bits as a challenge to create something new and delicious (not to mention the quickest and easiest meal you can imagine). And I haven’t been disappointed yet.
This fried quinoa bowl started with a few of the flavor basics that I try to always keep stocked in the fridge: ginger, garlic, and green chile (in this case, jalapeño). After sautéing these aromatics in coconut oil for a few minutes to wake up their flavors, I stirred in a couple of big pinches of turmeric and coriander followed by juicy sugar snap peas and crisp Napa cabbage for lots of green goodness. The cooked quinoa went in next, and finally I cracked an egg into the skillet, quickly stirring it in so eggy threads weave their way through the quinoa and vegetables.
Seasoned with a few shakes of coconut aminos, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of gomasio (I also added a little avocado, because it was there and it goes with everything!), this makes a flavorful and protein-packed anytime meal that’s light and satisfying at the same time. Easy to vegan-ize, too — just leave out the egg.
Coconut and turmeric fried quinoa with snap peas, Napa cabbage + spring garlic
Serves 1 to 2 as a main, 2 to 3 as a side
Gluten-free, Vegan-adaptable (leave out the egg)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 stalk of spring garlic, thinly sliced (or 1 garlic clove, sliced)
1 spring onion, white and green parts thinly sliced (or 1 shallot, sliced)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
handful of sugar snap peas, ends trimmed, sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch pieces
3 leaves of Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 large egg (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
toasted sesame seeds or gomasio
Heat coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet (I love my cast-iron pan for this) over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, ginger, jalapeño, and a pinch of salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Add turmeric, coriander, and a few grinds of black pepper to skillet, and stir for a minute until spices are fragrant.
Add sugar snap peas to skillet and saute until lightly caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Add Napa cabbage and cook for another minute to wilt the greens. Stir in quinoa and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Clear a space in the center of the skillet and crack the egg into the space. Stir quickly to cook the egg and distribute it throughout the quinoa and vegetables. Turn off heat and season to taste with coconut aminos.
Serve hot with lime wedges, avocado, sliced chives, and sesame seeds.