Move over rice, quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) has arrived. Fried rice is one of my favorite weeknight recipes as it takes less than a half hour to come together and it’s a fantastic way to use up whatever kitchen scraps are hanging around. Have broccoli stems cluttering the fridge? Cauliflower leaves? Half a stem of celery? Anything! Just chop it up and throw it in. I always have frozen peas on hand for just this very use. We’re all trying to eat healthier and adding more quinoa in your diet is a great way to accomplish this. Quinoa has fewer calories than white rice, more fiber, and twice the protein. Brown rice has slightly less (like 4) calories than quinoa but brown rice takes twice as long to cook for less fiber and less protein. For this recipe you need cooked and cooled quinoa. I like to keep some on hand that’s already been cooked to sprinkle over salads. If you don’t have any that is precooked just follow the instructions on the package for cooking and try to let cool for at least 30 minutes before starting. Cooked quinoa keeps in the fridge for nearly a week.

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Quinoa Fried Rice

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for the frying

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1/3 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup water chestnuts, chopped

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups cooked and chilled quinoa

4 tablespoons full sodium soy sauce (if using reduced sodium add salt to taste)

1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional but well worth it)

2 green onions, sliced thin

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  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onions, peas, and water chestnuts. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the veggies begin to soften.
  2. Make a well in the center of the veggies and pour in the beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs and allow to cook, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the remaining oil and the quinoa. Stir to combine everything. Pour in the soy sauce, salt if using, and fish sauce. Turn heat up to high and cook, stirring constantly for 3-5 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Top with sliced green onions and serve.

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