Instant Pot Quinoa Fried Rice is my whole grain, high protein, veggie-loaded solution for lackluster restaurant Chinese fried rice. Open your mind and palate to this new improved quinoa version, this is going to become a regular in your home!
What is it you love so much about cooking?
This is a question I get often, but I'm curious about your answer as well.
For me, I love to cook because it gives me the freedom to make food as vibrant, colorful, flavorful, and over the top as I want it to be. If I'm gonna eat, I want it to be good.
I've mentioned my motto before, but in case you need a reminder: “Eat to FEEL alive.”
My motto is a play on this horrible diet mantra I used to play in my head, “Do you eat to live, or live to eat” as if one was better than the other.
Well, I “Eat to FEEL alive!”
Boring food gets a makeover in my home whether it wants it or not!
Chicken and rice dinner? Meh, not bad, but what about a pile of Lemon Garlic Chicken and Quinoa piled high with hummus, olives, banana peppers, cucumbers, tomato, and a homemade Red Pepper Romesco Sauce?
Nachos? I suppose gas station chips with processed cheese sauce tastes amazing sometimes, but I want Waffle Fry Nachos stacked with Buffalo Chicken, avocados, blue cheese, and Cilantro Lime Dressing!
Soup is good, but Chicken Enchilada Soup loaded with pico de gallo, corn, cheese, avocados, and crushed tortilla chips – now THAT is my jam!
So why do I love to cook? Because I want food to be exciting, multidimensional, packed with colorful fruits and veggies, and just shy of a total spice cupboard explosion. Is that too much to ask?
P.S. Can we all give a big shout out to my husband who never acts embarrassed when I ask the waiter if he can add a little of this, a little of that, maybe swap for that, and bring it in a bowl instead of on a plate? No? Okay then at least bring me a side of guac and ranch.
Today's recipe for Instant Pot Quinoa Fried Rice is the epitome of my food motto.
Fried rice at a restaurant is a whole lot of rice, with a few little speckles of what I call “the goodies.”
Not this recipe! This fried rice, well quinoa, is LOADED with “the goodies.” You will most definitely not be caught trying to hoard the good stuff because every spoon is full of veggies and it just makes my heart sing to eat it!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE INSTANT POT QUINOA FRIED RICE
- We're swapping out boring rice for protein-packed quinoa, and you're gonna like it, all you on-the-fence-quinoa-eaters! Just wait!
- Typically with fried rice, you have to plan ahead and actually have cold rice (or quinoa) sitting in your fridge. NOT HERE! There's no “frying” here either, which makes this the healthiest AND easiest, fried quinoa dish possibly ever known to mankind.
- The quinoa-to-other-stuff ratio is right on. Quinoa is about 4 cups, other stuff about 8 cups. Can we agree this is how it should be?
- The sauce, yum, the sauce. Restaurant fried rice tastes like old oil, this one is alive with flavor thanks to a little soy sauce/rice vinegar/Worcestershire/chili garlic sauce action.
- Ready in 15 minutes! (Or 20 if you don't like to pretend you're on MasterChef when you're cutting your veggies.) ONE POT! Everything is done in one pot while you take a breather.
I need to add, that if you want to “next level” this dish, I HIGHLY suggest checking out this Instant Pot Tofu recipe. Instant Pot Quinoa Fried Rice topped with crunchy bites of tofu, drizzled with peanut sauce, and sprinkled with a handful of dry roasted peanuts . . . I'm gonna say it! My favorite dinner of 2020 so far!
HOW TO MAKE QUINOA FRIED RICE IN THE PRESSURE COOKER
- Make the scrambled eggs. (Note: If your pot is stainless steel, you may want to consider making them in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop to avoid the eggs sticking to your pot)
- Saute garlic, ginger, and quinoa in sesame oil
- Add chicken broth
- First top with carrots then cabbage
- Then top with bell pepper and edamame
- Cook for 2 minutes, 10-minute natural pressure release, stir
- Whisk up the sauce
- Stir it into the quinoa
- Add eggs, peas, and green onion
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
Serve it hot right out of the pot and top with a huge handful of dry roasted peanuts (my favorite!)
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST QUINOA FRIED RICE
- I don't recommend swapping the quinoa for rice in this recipe. Rice takes a bit longer to cook than quinoa and your vegetables are likely to be mush by that point.
- Buy Pre Rinsed Quinoa! It'll save you a step. If you don't have pre-rinsed quinoa, make sure and place it in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse it really well. That will get rid of the off-flavor that makes quinoa haters hate quinoa.
- I recommend the saute step at the beginning with the garlic, ginger, and quinoa in sesame oil, it adds another depth of flavor, but in a pinch, toss it all in and let ‘er rip.
- Use what veggies you have in the fridge! This is a perfect “clean out the veggie drawer” kind of recipe, but you'll need to be strategic about it. Layer in the veggies that will need the longer cooking time first, and follow with the vegetables that need less cooking time. For example, carrots, celery, squash, and sweet potatoes need to be chopped small and layered first, while bell peppers, edamame, small broccoli, and cauliflower florets need to be layered on top so they don't get too soft. Vegetables like frozen peas or green onions that don't need to be cooked can be stirred in after the pressure cooking is complete.
- Adjust the sauce to your liking. If you add only 1 teaspoon of chili garlic sauce, you won't have much heat. Add 2 teaspoons for a small burn and then go ahead and top your own bowl with some extra if you like it REALLY spicy. Needless to say, my husband and I go through a lot of chili garlic sauce.
- Speaking of Chili Garlic Sauce, you can order it online or it can commonly be found in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores.
- This Quinoa Fried Rice is already full of protein thanks to the quinoa, eggs, and edamame, but if you'd like to add a little extra, leftover grilled meat or rotisserie chicken is amazing in this. I like to top it with my new favorite Date Sweetened Chili Sauce (you've got to try it!). And of course, Skillet Fried or Air Fried Tofu with Peanut sauce is AMAZING!
HOW TO STORE, REHEAT, AND FREEZE QUINOA FRIED RICE
- Store: Place cooled leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Reheat: Warm in the microwave or in a skillet on the stovetop. Add a splash of broth, water, or soy sauce to soften it back up.
- Freeze: Leftovers can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer-safe Ziploc for 3 months or more. Let thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as instructed above.
VARIATIONS OF QUINOA FRIED RICE
The sky's the limit on what you can add to fried rice!
- Pineapple or Mango Fried Rice: Add chopped mango or pineapple. The sweet contrast is delicious.
- Ham Fried Rice: Add some leftover Smoked Ham to this recipe. It adds protein and a big boost of flavor.
- Mexican Fried Rice: Add salsa, taco meat, and spices like chili powder and cumin to make it feel like a fiesta! Top it with avocado or guacamole and fresh tomatoes.
So what do you think? Are you convinced that QUINOA Fried Rice can be a thing? I sure hope so. To say it's my favorite meal of 2020 so far is no joke.
On that note, if you need a manly point of view, my husband devoured this and asked for the leftovers. BROCK DOES NOT ASK FOR LEFTOVERS – EVER!
Get some veggie-loaded-to-the-gills Quinoa Fried Rice in your life and let me know what you think!
MORE INSTANT POT QUINOA RECIPES
- Basic Instant Pot Quinoa
- Instant Pot Chicken Coconut Cabbage Soup
- Instant Pot Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT QUINOA FRIED RICEPrint
Instant Pot Quinoa Fried Rice
Loaded with veggies and protein, this Instant Pot Quinoa Fried Rice is going to be a new favorite!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Asian
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 4 eggs, whisked, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 ½ cups quinoa (rinsed if package doesn’t specify that it is already rinsed)
- 1 ¾ cups chicken broth
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage (or coleslaw mix)
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ cup chopped green onions (save some to garnish)
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ⅓ cup lite soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1–2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
- Chopped dry roasted peanuts
- Select saute and add butter to the pressure cooker pot. When melted add eggs and cook until scrambled. Transfer eggs to a separate plate. Alternatively, if your pot is stainless steel and likely to stick, you might consider doing this in a nonstick frying pan on the stove top while the quinoa cooks.
- Add sesame oil to the pressure cooker pot. When hot, add garlic, ginger, and quinoa and stir for 1 minute. Turn pressure cooker off, add chicken broth; make sure all quinoa is submerged.
- Scatter veggies on top in this order: carrots, cabbage, red bell pepper, edamame.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 2 minutes.
- While the quinoa cooks, in a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and chili garlic sauce.
- When cooking is complete, use a natural release for 10 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.
- Add the soy sauce mixture, eggs, green peas, and green onions; stir. Taste, add more soy sauce if desired. Serve warm with a garnish of green onions and dry roasted peanuts.
- The veggies are very versatile in this dish. Always layer the vegetables that take the longest to cook first followed by vegetables that need less time.
- Add a protein for an even more complete meal! Grilled steak, shredded chicken, tofu, garbanzo beans, etc.
- Do not substitute with rice. The cook time will not be quite long enough for rice.
Keywords: instant pot quinoa, healthy fried rice, chinese fried rice
Diane S Appler says
This recipe worked great and was fantastic! I’ll never make “rice” fried rice again, this is so much more flavorful. As with any Asia cooking, choping is key. Ther instructions were great.
Diane, isn’t it great! I agree, I like it even better than traditional rice. Bonus that it’s even faster 🙂
Patty McKenny says
I made this last night using the ingredients for 1/2 of the recipe. I used the same length of time for cooking. My husband did not care for it because he said it was mushy. I liked it a lot, but agree that it was mushy. The cooking time is quite short, so am I getting the desired result? Is quinoa always mushy? Thank you. I love your website.
Patty, Hmm, I would think even if you halved the recipe, it would have cooked up the same. Pressure cooked Quinoa is perfectly cooked, I love it! Did you use an 8 quart pot by chance?