This easy pineapple fried quinoa is a healthy and delicious meal made with leftover boiled quinoa, fresh pineapple and crunchy vegetables. Everything is added to one skillet, and sauteed to for a few minutes until it's warm throughout.
If you like fried quinoa, you might also enjoy my egg fried brown rice!
I'm a huge fan of quick and easy meals, and it doesn't get easier than fried quinoa. And since everything is cooked in the same skillet, there's barely any dishes to clean!
I love the combination of protein rich, hearty grains with the sweet pineapple, the crunchy peppers and scallions. But to be honest, it's also a great dish to use up whichever leftover vegetables you have at the bottom of your fridge.
The main ingredient in this dish is cooked quinoa. Ideally you want to use leftover quinoa that's been stored in the fridge for at least a few hours, or up to several days. You'll get the best results if the grains are quite dry.
Additionally, you want some add-ins. I use fresh pineapple, red peppers, scallions (green spring onions), garlic, and edamame beans. You can change these to suit your preferencces.
For the seasoning we keep it simple with salt, pepper and sesame oil.
This 5 minute meal could really not be easier to make!
Heat up some oil in a skillet or wok on high heat. Meanwhile, dice the red peppers and scallions in small pieces, and grate the garlic.
Add all the ingredients to the skillet. Stir while frying for a minute, then leave it to cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally. The grains should crisp up, and the vegetables should be warmed through.
Serve the garlic pineapple stir fried quinoa immediately while it's hot.
🍲 Cooking quinoa
To make fried quinoa, you will have to cook the quinoa in advance. Quinoa is typically boiled in a pot on the stove top.
Before you boil quinoa, you want to rinse the grains thoroughly under running water. Quinoa has a very bitter taste, which is removed when it's rinsed before cooking.
I like to add quinoa to a fine mesh sieve, and rinse for a minute or two, until the water comes out clear on the other side. Add the quinoa to a pot along with water, and boil for 10-15 minutes on medium to high heat.
Drain off any excess water. For this recipe, it's key that the grains are not overcooked and mushy. In fact, they should rather be slightly undercooked, as not to stick together in the pan while frying.
💭 Top tips
Here are my best tips to get this recipe absolutely perfect:
- Use quinoa that you cooked the night before. If you boil your quinoa, and use it to make fried quinoa immediately after, you will not get the same tasty texture.
- You can change the add-ins to suit your preferences. Try adding corn, carrots, peas, mushrooms, leftover cooked chicken or ham, or any other veggies that you like!
- Fresh pineapple is always better than canned pineapple, but you can use either.
- Make sure to dice the vegetables into small pieces. This allows them to cook quickly.
Types of quinoa
White quinoa is the most common type of quinoa, and my favorite to use in vegan pineapple fried quinoa. It has a mild, but delicious flavor, and is widely available.
You can also use black or red quinoa if that is all you have. These have a stronger flavor, and a crunchier texture.
As we need whole quinoa grains, you can unfortunately not use quinoa flour or quinoa flakes in this recipe.
🥗 Serving suggestions
Here are my favorite ways to serve this delicious dish:
Main course: Serve fried quinoa with pineapple as a main course for an easy lunch or dinner. You can serve it as is, or with a simple side.
Add it to other dishes: You can totally add pineapple fried quinoa to other dishes, such as wraps, Buddha bowls, casseroles and more.
With a sauce: I like to top my fried quinoa with a nice sauce. Try adding sriracha, sweet chili sauce, or soy sauce.
This pineapple quinoa fried rice is a healthy, low calorie meal that suits most dietary requirements. It is dairy free, gluten free, vegan, and slimming world and weight watchers friendly. Here is how you can change it up if necessary:
- Nut free: Ditch the sesame oil. You can replace it with vegetable oil, olive oil or avocado oil.
- High protein: Although this dish is full of protein already, you can increase the protein content by adding shredded chicken, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas or extra edamame beans.
Here's how you can store any leftovers correctly:
Storing: Store any leftover pineapple fried quinoa in an airtight container in a refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving, or enjoy it cold.
Freezing: Fried quinoa is also suitable for freezing. Store it in a freezer safe container, and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw and reheat before serving.
Reheating: You can easily reheat fried quinoa in a microwave for a few minutes, or in a skillet or frying pan.
Make ahead / meal prep: Since this dish stores so well, it's perfect as a make ahead meal. Make a big batch, and use it as a quick and easy lunch or dinner, or as a convenient side dish for several meals.
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📋 Frequently asked questions
Can I use frozen ingredients? - Absolutely. Frozen quinoa, pineapple or vegetables all work just fine.
Can I use canned pineapple? - Yes. You can use pineapple chunks, or you can dice pineapple rings. Don't add the liquid from canned pineapples.
Pineapple Fried Quinoa
- Heat up the vegetable oil in a skillet or wok on high heat. Meanwhile, dice the red peppers and scallions in small pieces, and grate the garlic.
- Add all the ingredients to the skillet. Stir while frying for a minute, then leave it to cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally. The grains should crisp up, and the vegetables should be warmed through.
- Serve the garlic pineapple stir fried quinoa immediately while it’s hot.