Change up your fried rice game with this easy quinoa fried rice in teriyaki sauce. This vegan recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes and perfect for weeknight dinners!
Why this recipe works
- Quick & easy: Quinoa fried rice is the best kind of weeknight meal because it's ready in under 30 minutes and uses just 10 main ingredients.
- About the sauce: The quinoa is tossed in a simple yet flavorful homemade teriyaki sauce, but you can easily use storebought teriyaki to save on prep time.
- Endlessly versatile: Use up any kind of vegetable that you have on hand or add extra protein from tofu, tempeh, etc.
I love a classic fried rice recipe, but sometimes I like to change things up by using quinoa in place of rice. Quinoa has a great chewy texture and it adds a little extra protein to the meal!
What you'll need
- Quinoa: Any color works. I cook quinoa in my Instant Pot but you can also prepare it according to package instructions on the stove top.
- Stir fry veggies like diced red bell pepper, diced carrot, and green onions. Use a bag of stir fry vegetables to save on prep time.
- Soy sauce is used in the teriyaki sauce. Choose reduced-sodium soy sauce for a lower sodium meal or swap with tamari sauce for a gluten-free option.
- Light brown sugar adds sweetness to the teriyaki sauce. I recommend sticking to brown sugar but white sugar or maple syrup will work in a pinch.
- Rice vinegar (AKA rice wine vinegar) is another important teriyaki sauce ingredient.
- Oil is important when stir-frying. Peanut or canola are my go-to's for fried rice because they can handle high heat.
Quinoa cooking tips
- For every one cup of dry quinoa use 1 and ¾ cups of liquid. Combine the quinoa and water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer. There should be just a few bubbles rising to the surface at a time. Cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork before serving.
- One cup of dry quinoa yields three cups cooked quinoa.
- Rinse quinoa: Always rinse quinoa with cold water before cooking it. This removes the bitter-tasting compound that coats the quinoa.
- Season the cooking liquid: Cook quinoa in vegetable broth for extra flavor, or add garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
How to quickly chill quinoa
Like traditional fried rice, quinoa fries up best if it is cold. I usually make a batch the night before and then refrigerate it until the next day.
If you don't have chilled quinoa on hand you can cool it in just 15 minutes.
Spread cooked quinoa out thinly on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or cutting board. Freeze it for 15 minutes, or until it's chilled, while you prep the veggies and sauce.
Step by step instructions
Start by making the teriyaki sauce by simply whisking all teriyaki sauce ingredients together. This recipe is adapted from my tempeh teriyaki stir fry.
Pro tip: Make sure the pan is hot! This yields veggies that are tender but not mushy. Before adding oil, sprinkle the pan with a little bit of water. If it sizzles, it's ready.
Stir fry the vegetables in a large skillet or wok over medium-high to high heat (somewhere between the two). Add a drizzle of oil (peanut oil or canola are my go-to but extra virgin olive oil also works) and cook the veggies until tender but with a little bit of a bite, about 2-3 minutes.
I add frozen edamame in with the veggies. If using thawed edamame, wait to add it until you add the quinoa.
Add in the quinoa, white parts of the green onions, and teriyaki sauce. Stir to combine with the veggies. Cook another 2-3 minutes, until the sauce, is absorbed and the quinoa begins to brown.
Enjoy quinoa fried rice hot topped with the green parts of the green onions, sesame seeds, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Veggies: Quinoa fried rice is great for using up extra veggies. Try broccoli, cabbage, different colors of peppers, etc. Frozen veggies work but make sure to thaw them before stir-frying.
- Protein: Try adding honey garlic tofu, pan-fried tofu, or sesame tofu for extra protein. Cashews and chickpeas are also great vegan protein options.
- Egg: If you want a more traditional fried rice, you can definitely add in a couple of eggs. Crack eggs directly into the pan when you add the quinoa and teriyaki sauce. Move around the pan until small pieces form and cook until fluffy.
- Garnishes: Roasted seaweed, crushed kale chips, and sesame seeds are all great ways to add flavor and texture to the fried rice.
More easy dinner ideas
For best quality, keep leftovers refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
If you loved this recipe, I have a few more like it that you'll want to try out!
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Quinoa Fried Rice with Teriyaki Sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 cups chilled cooked quinoa see note #1
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 large carrot peeled and diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 1 and ½ cups frozen edamame
- 3 sprigs green onion sliced
- sesame seeds for topping (optional)
- freshly ground black pepper for serving (optional)
- Start by making the teriyaki sauce. Whisk together all ingredients in a small container. The sugar won't fully dissolve but that's okay. Set aside.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet between medium-high to high heat. Once hot, drizzle in 1 tablespoon oil.
- To the hot oil add the diced carrot, diced bell pepper and frozen edamame. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Once the carrot is tender but still has a bite to it and the edamame is cooked, add in the white parts of the green onion, quinoa and teriyaki sauce.
- Cook another 2-3 minutes, until the sauce is absorbed and the quinoa is golden.
- Turn off the heat and add the remaining green onion. Serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!
- Quinoa: For every one cup of dry quinoa use 1 and ¾ cups of liquid. One cup of dry quinoa makes about 3 cups of cooked quinoa.
- How to cook quinoa: Combine the quinoa and water or vegetable broth in a small pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer. There should be just a few bubbles rising to the surface at a time. Cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork before serving.
- How to quickly chill quinoa: If you don't have chilled quinoa on hand you can cool it in just 15 minutes. Spread cooked quinoa out thinly on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze it for 15 minutes, or until it's chilled, while you prep the veggies and sauce.
- Leftovers: For best quality, keep refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium-low heat.