Fried rice is just one of those dishes that makes you happy. It’s so comforting. And warm. And wonderful. And sadly, like a lot of comfort food, all of those things do not exactly make for health food. But — stop the presses! — we have a better-for-you twist on fried rice from Registered Dietitian Carissa Bealert that is delicious. The secret is that it uses quinoa instead of rice, has way more veggies (carrots! peas! asparagus!) and boosts the amount of protein with lean ground pork (we’re talking 35 grams of protein per serving!).
Carissa created this Pork Quinoa Fried Recipe for the National Pork Board and says it’s a quick and healthy meal that makes for great leftovers the next day.
“It’s based off traditional comfort food and is filled with subtle, savory Asian flavor, but it’s made lighter using the lean ground pork and by increasing the vegetables,” she says. “I chose ground pork because it cooks so fast, is a good source of protein and it’s an excellent source of several vitamins including thiamin, selenium, niacin and vitamin B6.”
The veggies cook super quickly, too — she uses the convenience of frozen peas and carrots, plus quick-cooking asparagus. But you can customize it however you’d like.
“Do you love broccoli and red peppers? Then add those,” Bealert tells us. “Any vegetable works great in this recipe so customize to your liking.”
Quinoa is the base of the recipe — she recommends making a big batch ahead of time and using it in this recipe and then all week long. For extra flavor, she uses a rice cooker and vegetable broth to cook hers, using a 2:1 ratio of liquid to quinoa. So smart!
- 1 pound lean ground pork
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons corn oil or sesame oil
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
- 10 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 2 cups prepared quinoa (prepared according to directions on package)
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- scallions, chopped for garnish
- Whisk eggs in small bowl, set aside.
- Season ground pork with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Brown pork, stirring and breaking it up into bite-sized pieces, until cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat. Add the frozen vegetables, asparagus, and green onions. Stir-fry until tender, about 2 minutes.
- Push vegetables to the side of the skillet then add the eggs and the remaining teaspoon of oil to the middle of the pan. Scramble eggs.
- Add the ground pork, quinoa, and soy sauce. Toss well to combine.
Do you ever make fried rice at home? I haven’t made it at home in years, but this high-protein twist with the quinoa sure has me rethinking that! —Jenn