Stir-Fried Quinoa

stir-fried quinoa

On Friday night, Yancey was at the station and I opened up the fridge to see what could be thrown together.  My inventory:

  • Cold rice
  • Leftover quinoa collard salad from my cooking class
  • half a ziploc bag of shredded cabbage from my cooking class
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • carrots
  • a few sugar snap peas leftover from our Farmer's Market picnic on Wednesday
  • ever-present garlic and ginger

Stir-fry, obviously.  I love pulling out my wok.  It's so heavy and dark, ready to transform any hodge-podge into something delectable.  I made two batches because I knew my sister and her family were stuck on I-90 in the 100 degree heat waiting for a tow truck.  I said dinner would be waiting for them once they made it back to Seattle.  I managed to have brought the cantaloupe over from the other house and made some ginger mint iced tea.  They were so bedraggled and tired by the time they got here, though the kids were amazingly chipper.  Poor things.


In this post, there's been a little debate going on in the comment section about who's suited to work on the "big" political things like healthcare and who's suited to small loving acts of service.  That's a longer conversation, but I will say this--NONE of us are excused from small loving acts of service no matter what the bigger agenda.  In fact, the bigger agenda doesn't matter if it's not carried out in the context of love and the little things have everything to do with the "big" things.

There was a time when I wouldn't have offered to make dinner for someone unless I had gone to the store and gotten really serious about the endeavor.  About 10 years ago, Yancey and I lived next to a multi-generational Latino household, and I credit them with my hospitality salvation.  The daughter-in-law and grandmother worked together at one of the McDonalds downtown.  When they got off work, there would be a little knock at our door, and they'd be standing there with a bag of leftover Egg McMuffins or apple pies.  The grandmother was an excellent cook, so often when the doorbell rang, what we'd get was posolé or molé.  But it didn't matter what was in their hands--what mattered was the community being built between us and the small acts of kindness and generosity that were its building blocks.  For me, those little things often involve food. In this case, Refrigerator Stir Fry.

for tired travelers

Stir-Fried Quinoa
I used a mixture of rice and quinoa here because that's what I had in my fridge.  You can do that, or just use one or the other.  If I was deliberately making this, I'd use all quinoa.  And of course, there are so many other things you could put in here depending on what's around.  I love Hsiao Ching-Chou's simple stir-frying tips if you think you might make a habit of this.   You can also look at this old post of mine for more on stir-frying. This recipe makes enough for 2.  If you want more, double everything and make two batches.  Too much stuff in the wok at the same time just steams everything instead of getting it crusty.

2 Tb. vegetable oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 Tb. minced fresh ginger
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1/2 yellow, red, or orange bell pepper, finely diced
2 c. finely shredded green cabbage
1 small zucchini sliced into very thin rounds
handful sugar snap peas, coarsely chopped
1 c. cold cooked quinoa, clumps broken up  (and it must be cold)
2 Tb. soy sauce
1 Tb. sesame oil
sesame seeds
fresh cilantro or mint

Heat wok, cast-iron pan, or nonstick skillet on medium high heat.  Add oil and turn down a tad.  Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for about 30 seconds.  Then add carrot, pepper, cabbage, zucchini, and peas and fry for 1 or 2 minutes until crisp-cooked.  Add quinoa, mix with veggies, fry for a minute.  Add soy sauce to coat.  Remove from heat, drizzle with sesame oil, and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro or mint.