Aromatic Fried Quinoa with Red Chili Oil
I have a problem with empty carbs. I mean, if they’re really good I’ll eat them (I’m looking at you, tortillas). But skinless mashed potatoes? White rice? I’d honestly rather not. I guess once I figured out that I love the taste of whole grains, I just never looked back. So if it seems like I’m always trying to add some hearty ancient grain where it doesn’t seem to belong, you’ll know why. You may look at a delicious take-out classic like fried rice and think to yourself, “just leave it alone, Allison”. But I can’t, and I’m sorry.
Actually, I’m not very sorry. This fried quinoa is delicious.
I don’t even like the taste of quinoa alone. But those quirky little grains have a way of taking on the flavors around them, allowing you to transform them in beautiful ways. Here, the onions, garlic and ginger really shine through, making this a wonderfully fragrant dish. The mushrooms and raw herbs lend satisfying textures, and the simple but powerful chili oil adds a toasty kick. Add it all together and you’ve got a filling one-pan meal that will seriously satisfy your Chinese take-out cravings.
Why is it good for you?
There’s a reason quinoa is so popular. It’s an excellent source of complete protein, which is unusual in plants. It’s far higher in fiber than most grains, and has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
This dish is overflowing with ingredients that fight inflammation and cancer. It’s loaded with alliums like onions and garlic, which are high in anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing flavonoids. Regular consumption of onions has been shown to reduce the risk of various types of cancer.
Mushrooms are impressive little fungi. They contain ample amounts of selenium, a mineral not found in many fruits and vegetables. Selenium has a range of benefits. In addition to being anti-inflammatory, it helps detoxify carcinogens in the body and boosts our ability to fight infection and tumor growth. Mushrooms are also high in fiber, potassium and vitamins C & D.
- 3 Tbsp. avocado oil, divided (any high-heat cooking oil can be substituted)
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts divided
- 4 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, chilled (I cooked mine with half broth, half water)
- 2 fried eggs
- Lemon slices
- Fresh parsley, cilantro and/or basil for garnish
- 4 oz. dried hot chili peppers
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a wok over medium-high.
- Add onion and garlic to the wok and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Add ginger, scallion whites and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are tender (4-5 minutes).
- Add quinoa and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to the wok and stir until grains are browning and slightly crisp, about 5 minutes.
- Divide between two dishes, top with fried eggs, and garnish with torn fresh herbs.
- Serve alongside the Red Chili Oil, lemon slices, and soy sauce for finishing.
- In a food processor, combine oil and chilies and process into small flakes.
- Heat the mixture in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until color begins to darken and oil is fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- To store, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 months.
*Nutrition information does not include the chili oil garnish
Red Chili Oil adapted from Leela’s Homemade Chili Oil recipe on She Simmers.