Thai Fried Quinoa


Thai Fried Quinoa is a healthier riff on fried rice, and is full of aromatic Thai flavors, including coconut, ginger, cilantro and lime. 

On the last episode of Ben’s Not Home For Dinner, I got up-close and personal with a creamy, comforting Tuna Noodle Casserole. A dish that I happen to adore, but my man won’t touch with a 10 foot pole.

On tonight’s episode we feature an entree that is not only meatless, but also contains a slightly sweet element, otherwise known as meh and nuh-uh in my husband’s world.

See, Ben’s been in Vegas since Friday night for a bachelor party (that sorry dog!) and while I can’t wait to see his sweet, smiling face when he gets home tonight, I’ve been loving the recipes chock-full of Kristin-friendly ingredients I’ve made in his absence, like tonight’s dinner of Thai Fried Quinoa.

Coconut milk-infused quinoa is stir fried with ginger, garlic, pineapple and peas, then drizzled with a lime-soy sauce, and topped with chopped peanuts. AKA, my dream meal, but something Ben would just rather…not.

Ok, to be fair, peas are his fourth favorite food after potatoes, turkey and ketchup, and I did overhear him telling my Dad how awesome! quinoa is last week (so adorable) But you know what I mean!

Thai Fried Quinoa is absolutely sensational. Start by rinsing 1 cup quinoa under water in a fine mesh strainer, then add it to a saucepan. Pour in 1 cup each chicken broth and lite coconut milk.

Unlike coconut butter, coconut milk DOES taste coconutty – although not in an in-your-face pina colada kind of way. Rather, in a subtle, super-tasty, tropical kind of way. Tip: shake your can of coconut milk before you open it. The fat in the milk rises to the top and sticks to the lid otherwise!

Bring the liquid to a boil, then place a lid on top, lower the heat to medium low (about a 3.5 out of 10) and let the quinoa simmer in the delicious broth for 15-20 minutes, or until it’s tender and cooked through.

While the quinoa is cooking, get out a large wok or skillet. This here wok is the consolation prize I received after losing the bump and grind stir fry competition with Curtis Stone. I’m not just saying this because of how I acquired it, but this wok is LEGIT. It’s officially my favorite pan that I own. Nothing sticks to it!

I also received the actual Bump & Grind, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to open the box yet…

Anyway! Heat the wok over medium-high heat, then give it a good coating with non-stick spray. Add 2 chopped green onions, 1 Tablespoon grated ginger, and 2 teaspoons minced garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly as to not burn the garlic.

BTW, I made the rookie mistake of going grocery shopping during the mad Saturday afternoon rush this weekend, and by the time I got to the fresh ginger, it was all gone. I paid through the nose for this tube of pre-grated ginger, but I’m actually kind of loving the convenience factor!

Next add 1 cup frozen peas, 1-8oz can pineapple tidbits (drained), and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro to the hot wok.

Cook for an additional minute or two, giving the peas time to heat through.

Lookin’ good already!

Next push the ingredients up the side of the wok to create a clear space in the center.

Add 2 whisked eggs, and scramble ’em up using a spatula. When they’re cooked, toss everything together to combine.

Another reason why I love this wok is because the sides are very conducive to ingredient flinging. As in, I can play fancy chef and toss my ingredients up the side of the wok, scoot it back underneath, and catch them as they come back down. WHEE.

Finally, add in the cooked quinoa,

2 Tablespoons soy sauce or gluten-free tamari (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce) and the juice of 1/2 a lime.

Toss it all together then burn your fingers eating it out of the wok because it’s so good you can’t wait for a fork spoon into bowls.

Top with chopped peanuts, and enjoy!

Thai Fried Quinoa

Serves 4


Thai Fried Quinoa is a healthier riff on fried rice, and is full of aromatic Thai flavors, including coconut, ginger, cilantro and lime. 


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup lite coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon microplaned or minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1-8oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce or gluten-free tamari (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce)
  • juice of half a lime
  • chopped peanuts (optional)


  1. Place rinsed quinoa in a saucepan over high heat. Add coconut milk and chicken broth, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, place a lid on top, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat and spray with non-stick spray. Add green onions, ginger, and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly as to not burn the garlic.
  3. Add peas, pineapple tidbits, and cilantro and cook for 1 additional minute.
  4. Push the ingredients to the sides of the wok to create a clear space in the center. Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl, then pour into the wok. Stir with a spatula until the eggs are scrambled, then stir to combine with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Add cooked quinoa, soy sauce and lime juice to the wok, and stir to combine. Cook for an additional minute or two, or until the quinoa begins to crisp up. Serve with optional chopped peanuts on top.


Slightly adapted from Peas and Thank You

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

Stop what you are doing this very minute, go to the grocery store, buy the ingredients for this dish, and make a double batch. That is a direct order.

Cough, sorry – that is to say, this was incredible!! A light tropical scent hits your nose before you take a bite, then blammo – flavor explosion. Spicy ginger, savory garlic, sweet pineapple, and fragrant coconut. I adore this recipe!

It might be my new favorite quinoa dish too. Sorry, Mini Ham & Cheese Quinoa Cups. Your reign is officially over.

I can’t wait to enjoy the leftovers for lunch all week. This is definitely the type of dish that just gets better and better as it sits. Yummy!


Will you pay more for convenience? Or will you put in the work to pay less?

For me it depends on the product. I buy pre-cut broccoli because I loathe cutting broccoli heads – little green thingies get everywhere! – but for things like chopped garlic, I buy the bulbs and cut ’em myself!

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  1. I recently found your blog and just love it! I’m another Midwestern lady (from KC!!) and always like finding other Midwest blogs :)

    This quinoa dish looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it!

    • Laura 08.26.2014

      Ironically, I googled “what can I make with Quinoa, Coconut Milk and Chicken Broth” (as I opened my pantry and it was like all I had. LOL) and I came upon your recipe! I’m so glad I did and THANK YOU for sharing it. I picked up the fresh ingredients at the market and am enjoying it now with a glass of wine. I did add some chicken to mine though :) Keep it up, can’t wait to check out your other recipes and thanks again !

  2. Olivia 03.26.2012

    Oh man I was JUST thinking of a pineapple stir fry some time soon! :) Looks awesome!

  3. Looks amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever had quinoa in an Asian preparation before – must try.

  4. Julia 03.26.2012

    This looks delightful!
    I’ll pay for convenience sometimes and with certain items. But in general, I’m trying to train myself to put in the effort, and save the money. It’s a loooong training process ;)

  5. Jill 03.26.2012

    As amazing as this sounds and as easy as it will be to adapt, if you’re using chicken broth then it’s not actually vegetarian :)

  6. Lindsey 03.26.2012

    I have a favorite dish I make that is almost exactly the same as that, but minus the coconut milk so next time I will add that in for sure.
    It depends, most times I will do it myself but if I am hosting supper or a party, sometimes convenience wins!

  7. That’s too funny. My husband is out of town this week and every meal I’ve planned out for myself are ones he’d never eat.

  8. I will come over to eat anytime Ben is gone! This looks amazing and my husband wouldn’t like it either. Men…

  9. katie@newmamamac 03.26.2012

    i’m not gonna lie i really (secretly) love it when my husband is not home for dinner.

  10. christa 03.26.2012

    Have you ever thought of putting Weight Watchers PointsPlus Values on your meals?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.26.2012

      I haven’t because I don’t participate in WW, and I’m not sure how!

      • Elizabeth Whitehill 03.26.2012

        what about calorie count…do you keep track of those? This looks sooo good!!

      • christa 03.26.2012

        I would be willing to tell you each recipes point value, all I need to know is total fat grams, carbs, protein and fiber. Its that simple! I bet your readers would love it if you provided this info, I know I would! Your recipes are pretty healthy and thats what WW’ers are looking for! (BTW, Im not part of WW, i just follow their program)

  11. your pictures are beautiful! i love quinoa — just bought a brand new bag at TJ’s! enjoy the night :)

  12. Sarah 03.26.2012

    That sounds amazing. I love all the flavors in it.

  13. Afton 03.26.2012

    Hi IGE! My hubby and I went to Hunger Games on Friday night (in Ankeny) and as we were waiting for the movie to start, I overheard the 2 women behind me talking about you! They were comparing different recipes of yours- specifically Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Mac and Cheese! I thought you’d like to know. :) You must have quite a local following. Thanks for being so awesome!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.26.2012

      Oh my gosh, that is too crazy! I hope they like it…! ;)

      • randi 03.27.2012

        I too hear many people talk about you. Usually when I am at TJ on a Sunday. It is CRAZY! Even the register clerks talk about you…

  14. Lauren 03.26.2012

    This sounds fantastic! I’ve been using quinoa to make fried rice but I love your thai spin on it.

  15. Kat 03.26.2012

    Sounds so good! May have to change dinner plans tonight… Do you think it could be good with sliced chicken cooked in some thai peanut sauce (like the one in your Thai Turkey Burger recipe) thrown on top? For the men in our lives who love meat. Just wondering – since you know how the dish already tastes…

  16. Morgan 03.26.2012

    Thanks for this! I wonder how this would go with your Thai burger recipe?

  17. Lindsey 03.26.2012

    I need to buy me some quinoa! I’ve never had it, and you keep posting these delicious recipes! :)

  18. Jeff 03.26.2012

    This looks amazingly good AND I have all of these ingredients in the kitchen right now. Instead of Soy Sauce, Try a mixture of Thai Fish Sauce and a bit of brown sugar along with the lime. Yum.

  19. This dish looks awesome! My boyfriend is a very picky eater, so I know that when we live together I’ll have to make all of the food he won’t eat on the nights he’s away :-)

    Just saw your post about cooking with Curtis Stone – that is SO AWESOME!!

  20. Mae 03.26.2012

    I made Thai food tonight too! I lived there for 2 years, and almost every Thai dish contains something sweet, spicy, salty, and sour – a perfect combination! This looks delicious. I usually go for price over convenience when it comes to produce.

  21. I’ve been a long time reader (occasional poster) but where is that LIKE button? I’m definately “pinning” this and DF doesn’t have a problem w/ Thai flavors. I’ll just make some chicken satay skewers or shrimp to bump up the protein! Thanks Kristin (and Peas & Thank You ;))

  22. We’ve been looking for a good quinoa recipe. I also love thai food (actually did a guest blog today on my trip to Thailand!).

    Whether I will pay for convenience depends on the product. I will pay for individual greek yogurt because I am too lazy to portion it out into a small tupperware. But, I will portion out carrots every single morning.

  23. Carrie 03.26.2012

    Cannot wait to try this!
    I made your Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese last night (to die for) and will be trying out your Skinny Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo tonight…love love love IGE!

  24. Prairie Bee 03.26.2012

    Wow! This looks absolutely amazing!!! You sure put Iowa on the map, in all the good ways! :)

    I just read your post about bumping and grinding with Curtis Stone ~ that was hilarious!

  25. Katie 03.26.2012

    This sounds insanely delicious! I love Thai food, and I can’t wait to try it out!!

  26. Bookmarking this one! Looks delicious!

  27. Beth 03.26.2012

    Definitely a dish to male when the hubby is gone…at my house that also includes any Mexican dish or Chinese. I usually don’t pay for convenience and I’m really considering buying groceries one week at a time vs two. I just threw out broccoli and a whole chicken because they went bad before I noticed!! Oops.

  28. Marie M 03.26.2012

    Loved the bump and grind (jealous), loved the Thai turkey burgers, and can’t wait to try this! Thank you for all the delicious recipes and fabulous entertainment!

  29. Amanda Yancy 03.26.2012

    I saw this and said “Yum!” and my husband said “Meh” – LOL :-)

  30. Lori P 03.26.2012

    This recipe looks amazing! I haven’t tried quinoa yet…can you believe it? This looks like the perfect time to change that because I love anything Thai.

  31. pattisj 03.26.2012

    I’m going to have to try this! Sometimes those little conveniences are worth every cent. And don’t ever apologize for being “that” wife. That’s the way it is when you play for keeps. :)

  32. Michelle 03.27.2012

    Brilliant! And so not a meal my boyfriend would eat. I can hear the, “Where’s the meat?” now.

  33. Epicurea 03.27.2012

    i’m really enjoying all the quinoa dishes here! not sure if i could trick hubby into eating this but i’ll definitely keep it in mind!

  34. Wow this looks so yummy!!

  35. This just went on my meal plan for next week, I can’t wait to make it!!

  36. I will absolutely be making this. And I buy pre-cut butternut squash because I hate peeling + chopping it myself. Lazy, I know :)

  37. Thanks for putting an Asian spin on quinoa! I never would have thought to do that before!

  38. Tami McBryde 03.27.2012

    Lovely recipe. YUMMO! It does contain a critical error, it says it serves four. Not so, maybe two; if the second person is quick enough.

    Thanks so much for enriching my quinoa recipes. Love it!

  39. Brittany 03.27.2012

    I definitely pay less and do the work. I think it’s so much more fun that way. I am on a huge Thai style food binge right now and this recipe looks great!

  40. Tracy 03.27.2012

    I’m just curious. If the consolation prize was that awesome wok, what was the winner’s prize?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.29.2012

      The same thing! When you’re forced to bump & grind in front of 500 people, there really is no true winner. ;)

  41. Jennifer 03.27.2012

    Brilliant! I cannot wait to make this. I especially enjoy dinner time when my hubby is gone in the field for a few days (army) because dinner is all about me, and includes way more vegetables :D He is a simple meat and bread man and probably wouldn’t touch this meal….I would devour it >:)

    Thanks for sharing. It looks amazing!!

  42. Megan 03.27.2012

    Just two nights ago I bout had a fit trying to cook quinoa for the first time. My main problem, I gather, is that I don’t have a fine mesh strainer. First, I tried just using the finest one I had. Not good enough, the quinoa were slipping through the holes. So I tried to improvise and threw a paper towel on the bottom. It did the trick but by the end of it there was quioa EVERYWHERE. And they are sticky little buggers! It was on everything.

    All that is to say that my favorite way to cook/eat quinoa is to buy the trader joe’s frozen bag of it. Delicious.

    My other favorite convenience buy is frozen crushed garlic. I know Trader Joe’s sells it (and cilantro and basil). It comes in little compartments holding the equivalent of a clove, so you just pop out the number you need for the recipe.

  43. Sarah 03.27.2012

    We just made this for dinner, oh my goodness yummy! We used veggie broth which worked just fine. We didn’t have green onions but will definitely seek them out next time. We used chopped tamari almonds on top. Yummmmmmmm!

    Our quinoa didn’t crisp up much, any tips!

    Two happy bellies in Maryland! Thanks!

    • Rachel 04.15.2012

      This recipe is really good! For those that don’t have a strainer with small enough holes, you can just put a paper towel in the bottom of the strainer and turn your sink on really low to rinse it because it takes the water longer to drain through the paper towel.

      And it takes awhile to get crispy but it’s soo good if you let it happen. Just turn it on medium-high and press the quinoa down in an even layer on the bottom of the pan and let it sit like that for a few minutes. Then stir it and press it down into the bottom of the pan again until you get the desired crispness.

      I didn’t have pineapple so I used Trader Joe’s mango chutney instead which worked out really good and also added some red pepper flakes.

      Thanks for this awesome recipe! I love quinoa and am always trying to find new ways to use it! I’m going to tell everyone about this yummy new way to make it!

  44. Alison 03.27.2012

    Ooo…I’m going to pin this one to try out! The only thing is that I’m allergic to pineapple, so I’ll have to switch that out for something else. Not sure what though.

  45. Amy 03.27.2012

    Oh this looks so good! I’ll make a half batch I think (only me to feed and please anyway!) and that’s two night’s dinners in the bag. Thanks for the recipe :)

  46. This dish looks super fab! Your hubby is like mine. He will not touch tuna casserole. I love it! I am having lentils tonight, something else he does not like since he is out of town!

  47. M. 03.27.2012

    I made this tonight and loved it. I LOVE quinoa. I think next time I’ll cut the ginger in half tho, it was VERY ginger-y. I did add a pound of tail-off shrimp that I marinated in splash of soy sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar just because I wanted that extra oomph. (and knew the two men in my house, hubs and son, would love this but would also want some kind of meat in it) THey loved it.
    My 8-year-old demolished his entire bowl of it.

    I even like to do quinoa for breakfast. I do re-heat leftover quinoa with a little peanut butter and honey and top with chopped apple. It’s delicious and filling.

  48. Suzanne Bolling 03.27.2012

    Made this tonight! Loved it. My husband and I made it together (miracle as we have 3 kids!) and I know we will make it again. Just found your site and looking forward to trying your other recipes. Thanks!

  49. Carey 03.28.2012

    I made this last night for dinner! YUMMERS!!! Oh, and even the hubs loved it. Fortunately, I am blessed with one that isn’t a picky eater and will eat anything I put on the table. But he isn’t afraid to tell me what he “actually” thinks of it. So when I make a dish and I get compliment after complement, instead of the silent treatment, I know I’ve done well! Or should I say IGE did well! haha! Since my hubs is a big meat eater, I grilled a chicken breast and sliced it on top. I didn’t marinate it anything, just used the extra lime and salt/pepper to season it. All I have to say is WOW WOW WOW! We even have left overs too!

  50. katie 03.28.2012

    yummm! I can’t wait to give this a try. I’ve just recently started cooking with quinoa!

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