Meatless Monday: Thai Fried Quinoa

Whenever I talk to someone who’s a vegetarian, I’m always curious to know how strict a vegetarian they are. My only real experience with vegetarianism was two years ago when I gave up meat for Lent. For me, I didn’t eat any meat or seafood, but I also didn’t go out of my way to make sure there wasn’t, say, chicken broth in something I was eating. I also specifically remember picking pepperoni off of pizza rather than ordering a meat-free pie. So I was a pretty loosey-goosey “vegetarian” type vegetarian. Basically I was just avoiding eating big chunks of meat.

This is the kind of meal that would separate the “vegetarians” from the real vegetarians. There’s no actual meat in it, but the quinoa is cooked in chicken broth. For me personally as a non-vegetarian, I’m fine with counting this as acceptable for Meatless Monday, but depending on your level of strictness (and probably on your reason for avoiding meat), I assume most vegetarians would say this dinner doesn’t count. Either way, it’s really tasty (and easy!), and you could always sub in vegetable broth (or water) to make this a truly vegetarian dish.

THAI FRIED QUINOA (adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup light coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
olive oil spray
2 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup frozen peas
1 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits, drained and roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 egg
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp sriracha
chopped peanuts for garnish

1. Place rinsed quinoa in medium saucepan over high heat. Add coconut milk and chicken broth, bringing to a boil. Once boiling, cover and turn heat to medium-low. Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, 15-20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat large skillet over medium-high heat and spray olive oil spray. Add green onions, ginger, and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add peas, pineapple, and cilantro and cook for 1 additional minute.
3. Push ingredients to the sides of the skillet to create a clear space in the center. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and pour into skillet. Stir until egg is scrambled, then stir to combine with other ingredients.
4. Add cooked quinoa, soy sauce, lime juice, and sriracha to the skillet, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional minute or two, or until the quinoa begins to crisp up. Serve with chopped peanuts on top.

This is my favorite kind of dish – healthy with a lot of flavor. A great choice if you’re trying to cut down on eating meat!

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