Recipe: Spicy Quinoa Stir-fry

by Polly N on March 26, 2014

Knowing what to eat for dinner that’s tasty and healthy might leave you wondering what on earth you can throw together that encompasses those two elements so I want to share my dinner from a few nights ago. I’ve been feeling like I need to increase my protein consumption, not with animal products but a plant-based product so I opted for quinoa.



Quinoa has been singled out by the Food & Agricultural Organisation as a food with “high nutritive value”, impressive biodiversity and an important role to play in the achievement of food security worldwide. Yep, this little seed, pronounced ‘keen-wah’ packs a punch when it comes to nutrition.

Here’s what you need to know about quinoa

  • It is a complete protein containing all nine amino acids
  • Contains lysine which is helpful for healing, tissue growth and repair.
  • It’s rich in magnesium which helps to relax blood vessels, improve detoxification and help in the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
  • It contains iron which helps in the transportation of oxygen from one cell to another.
  • It contains almost twice as much fibre than other grains.


How to cook quinoa (how I like to cook it)

Generally, I use 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa. First, I rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. (This removes its natural coating, saponin which can make it taste soapy or bitter.) I boil the water, add a good pinch Himalayan salt and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Add the quinoa and turn the heat down so it’s a gentle simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once it tastes cooked, (soft and nutty) drain into a mesh strainer and leave to stand for 5 minutes.


+ when adding the salt and lemon juice, add herbs such as dried oregano, thyme, dill or add spices such as turmeric, cayenne, chilli powder.

+ cook in a veggie broth instead of water

quinoa stirfry

Spicy Quinoa Stir-fry

  • 3 large carrots, chopped into matchsticks or rounds
  • 4-5 large broccoli florets, chopped
  • 4-5 large broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced finely
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut butter
  • sesame seeds (for garnish)

Start by cooking the carrots by boiling them in a pan of water. Once cooked, drain and leave to one side. Meanwhile, spoon coconut butter into a frying pan and allow to melt. Add the garlic, onion and broccoli and cook gently until the onions are soft. The broccoli will stay fairly crunchy but if you prefer it cooked, just throw them in the pan with the carrots to soften them up slightly for 5 minutes.

For the quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch pink himalayan salt
  • Squeeze lemon juice

Wash the quinoa as instructed above. Bring the water to the boil and add the salt, lemon juice and quinoa. Allow to simmer with a gentle rolling boil for 15 minutes. Once cooked, drain using a very fine mesh strainer and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Chilli “Soy” Sauce

  • 5 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 inch ginger root, peeled

In a mini-whizzer (I used my Tribest Personal Blender), combine all ingredients until smooth. Add this to the frying pan, turn down the heat slightly and add the carrots (broccoli if you decided to par-boil them), and quinoa. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, mix through thoroughly and serve.


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