Pineapple Fried Quinoa is a vegan and gluten-free alternative to traditional fried rice made up of whole foods that are delicious, fresh, and good for you. It’s an easy dinner that is healthy and completely satisfying. Ready in under 30 minutes!
I REALLY love quinoa, and this is one of our favorite quinoa recipes, hands down. I might start a Crazy for Quinoa Thursdays or something like that where I post new amazing quinoa recipes every week. Would you enjoy that?
My husband’s favorite thing to eat is pork fried rice. I’ve never been a huge fan of rice, so a long time ago I decided to make a fried rice substitute that I could make for dinner. We use to eat a lot less meat than we do now (I miss that), so once upon a time I made this meal at least a couple times a month. Which doesn’t sound like a lot now that I “say” it, but that is a lot for me. I like to switch things up, so I rarely make the same exact dinner twice in one month.
For real, this is not a perfect fried rice substitute. For one – it’s not rice. And for second – it is lacking all of the fried, buttery flavor that people love about fried rice. However, it is a darn good substitute if you acknowledge the fact that you are trying to be healthy and satisfy a craving, not do some sort of kitchen magic where your mouth thinks you are eating 1200 calories but you are really only eating 15 calories.
I don’t believe those recipes actually exist which is why people fail in their diets and abandon their new healthy lifestyles so easily.
I’m not trying to trick anyone into eating healthy food! You should eat well because you want to BE well. That’s the only way it will make a real difference. I just try to provide healthy recipes made from whole foods that actually taste good so it’s not a sacrifice to eat this way.
The pineapple chunks are what really turn this fried quinoa from a bunch of vegetables into something super special. They get warmed and a little caramelized, which just enhances the sweet flavor. The tamari dressing gives it a salty side, and the seared veggies provide the savory oomph you want in an entree.
What is Tamari?
Tamari is a soy sauce substitute that is gluten-free or contains very little wheat (make sure you check your bottle). It is made from soy beans just like soy sauce, but where soy sauce is made with about 50% soy beans and 50% wheat, tamari is made from only soy beans with maybe a little bit of wheat added. The kind of tamari I use is from Trader Joe’s and it says “gluten-free” on the bottle, so I know they did not use wheat.
I find that tamari is not quite as salty as traditional soy sauce, but I use it as a soy sauce substitute 1:1. If you don’t have or don’t want to get tamari for this recipe, you can definitely just sub in soy sauce, and you’re good to go.
The best part about this Pineapple Fried Quinoa is that it cooks so quickly! It is definitely ready in under 30 minutes – the only part that takes a little time is cutting up the vegetables. If you cut them up, though, as part of your Sunday meal prep for the week, you’ll have dinner ready in 20 minutes easy.
This is another dish that I made ahead for my husband to take to work for lunch all week. It’s as delicious cold as it is hot, and since there’s no meat, I don’t worry about the texture of his lunch being a little gross on the fourth day.
I like to add eggplant to this if I want some extra substance, but make sure to roast it first or it will absorb too much of the liquid and get soggy.
What are your favorite ways to use quinoa? Tell me in the comments!
Want more delicious + healthy quinoa recipes? Try these:
The Best Quinoa + Black Bean Chili
Oven Roasted Greek Chicken with Lemon Quinoa
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Cauliflower