Quinoa Recipe with Summer Vegetable Stir-Fry

Delicious quinoa stir-fry with summer vegetables.

Easy. Easy. Easy.

Trying to find a Los Angeles sublet for the summer- within our budget- is as slippery and twisted as charting Madonna's romantic liaisons post Guy Ritchie. It's a serpentine endeavor, this whole reading between the lines thing, deciphering what is true and what is only mostly true. It's all those key buzz words peppering Craig's List and Westside Rentals. "Convenient to the 10" can mean the eastern bedroom window sucks in freeway exhaust during rush hour. "Pet friendly" might translate to everyone in the building works all day and leaves their poor pooches to yap and woof until the cows come home. Which, as we all know, in LA is after sushi and mojitos.

"Cozy studio" can mean cute and comfy or it can mean as cramped and tight as a walk-in closet. Not Madonna's closet(s). I'm sure hers are bi-coastal and coordinated by era, each epoch's collection larger than our entire casita. We're talking my closet here. The five foot black hole currently crammed with winter parkas, too many mismatched socks to count, and the book-filled boxes I'm storing for this alleged, yet-to-materialize summer getaway.

And the price for the privilege of said 150 square feet of space in Venice Beach?

If you have to ask, Darling, you can't afford it. Which as it turns out, is a moot detail anyway, because no one on Craig's List ever answers your e-mails (especially when they notice your out of town area code). So here we sit. Grazing the Internet till the migraines kick in, picking through rentals beyond our budget, hoping for an affordable hidden gem amongst the inflated glut of summer housing in Los Angeles. Unless we're looking for a roommate. We could afford one room. Shared bath. With a UCLA student.

So what am I cooking during all this rental drama, you impatiently ask as I ponder our next move?

That would be quinoa.

Simple and satisfying quinoa stir-fry.

Easy Quinoa and Summer Vegetable Stir-Fry Recipe

This easy, toss together quinoa is fabulous hot from the pan. But it's also delicious cool, as a quinoa salad. So make more than you think you'll need and you've got picnic food for the next day. When you'd rather take a walk than scour the Internet and don't feel like cooking.


Make your quinoa, the easy way. In a rice cooker. Here's the quinoa recipe. You'll need roughly 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.

As it cooks, gather and cut up your summer vegetables.


Olive oil
1 onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yellow summer squash, sliced
A fistful of slender asparagus or green beans, trimmed, sliced
1 Japanese eggplant (small eggplants are way less bitter), peeled, sliced into bite size pieces
1 bell pepper- red, yellow, orange or green, cored, sliced
2 cups Baby Bella mushrooms, trimmed, sliced
A handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Sea salt and ground pepper
Herbs, to taste- parsley, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes- whatever you prefer
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste


When the quinoa is almost done, heat a splash of light olive oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, stir until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the remaining vegetables. Season with sea salt, pepper, and herbs. Add the balsamic vinegar. Stir-fry until tender.

Scoop the cooked quinoa out of the rice cooker and add it into the wok. Stir to combine with the vegetables. Taste test and add more salt or seasoning if it needs it. Remove from heat. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss to fluff.

Serve immediately; or allow it to cool, then cover and refrigerate it to eat as a salad. before serving it cold, taste test again and adjust seasonings.

Serves 4.

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Kalyn said...

I keep hoping something will happen that makes the LA getaway work out, but I know housing prices there are really a joke. I guess the ocean is such a draw, they can name their price.

Meanwhile, the quinoa looks fantastic! I need to cook that more often.

Katerina said...

This looks great, love that you have a recipe for making it in your rice cooker. I still have yet to try quinoa but I think I may now get around to it. It supposed to be such a great source of protein!

Kimberly said...

This dish looks really good and easy for summer time. I think it would be perfect to take on a picnic I will be going to soon:)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Our local super-discount store sells the oddest collection of things -- including the whole line of Bob's Red Mill products, agave nectar, and quinoa by the case. The price is right, but with so much quinoa on hand, I'm always looking for new recipes. Thanks for this one!

Cara said...

Looks really good! I need to try some different veggies rather than the same ol'

And hope your rental works out. We used to live in Santa Rosa, CA and finding a rental there was a joke too.

Rach said...

Something good will happen, Something good will happen, Something good will happen, Something good will happen, Something good will happen...
It has to - you deserve it. :)

worldpeace said...

Hi Karina,
I follow your blog and it makes me smile every time i read it:)

I live in LA...sherman oaks....and if there is anything I can do to help you...don't hesitate to email me.

Warm hugs,

Diane-The Whole Gang said...

This looks delicious. Can I post a link to this recipe on my Friday Foodie Fix from last week. The Secret Ingredient was quinoa. This week it's mushroom. Actually it works for both! I hope you find something great in LA. I'm headed to Laguna Beach again this summer. Looking for something to buy so we can move there. I so get the whole trying to decipher ads. They don't make it easy from a distance. Love CA. Hope you get there soon!

veggievixen said...

yummm. i love quinoa.

best of luck. sounds like such a crazy process.

moonwatcher said...

Hi Karina,

Having lived in Southern California for many years, and being a native Californian myself, I had to laugh ruefully at your astute juxtaposition of what the ads say and what the ads might actually mean. . .but, like Rach, I will just keep chanting "Something Good Will Happen". . .it will. . .meanwhile, this quinoa recipe sounds delicious. I love quinoa and eat it often, and I agree that such a dish for these times. May your walks in between it all restore and inspire you.



Stephanie said...

Can you make this with out the balsamic vinegar and it still taste good? I have a yeast allergy which means no vinegar. :(

j.cro said...

Hi Karina,
Our summer veggies aren't quite here yet but I can't wait to make this when they are.

A couple of other websites you might want to check for rentals are:
or even vrbo.com (vacation rentals by owner).

Good luck in your search!

annaaspnes said...

Love reading your posts. You always make me LOL! And, hey you may not be able to live like Madonna but at least you're eating like kings! Hope something turns up soon for you. Thanks for the recipe...Been wanting to try cooking quinoa for a while.

Abby Fifer Mandell said...


Your blog, recipes, and insight have changed my life and given me so much g-f comfort!

I live in Santa Monica...if there is anything I can do to help you find a place out here, please let me know. Depending on what dates and how much room you need, I know of a few leads.



makingloveinthekitchen said...

Karina that looks so delicious! A perfect salad for a summer BBQ.

RecipeGirl said...

I'm glad you found a place!! You'll love your summer in LA... exploring!

Can you believe I've never had quinoa? It's simply one of those things that I've never tried. Your recipe looks like a good one to start with!

Karina Allrich said...

Thanks, everyone for your kind wishes and support. As of last night, we have a sublet rental in Santa Monica. But more on that later... xox

Quinoa is my new favorite comfort food- and for vegans and vegetarians it's a fab source of protein. Season it generously, stir-fry it, bake it in casseroles, chill as a salad- it's all good.

As for subbing out the vinegar- try lemon juice or lime juice. Use fresh squeezed for best taste. Up the fresh herbs for a boost of flavor.


Sophie said...

MMMM..I love quinoa! your dish looks superb & fresh! Yummie indeed!

glutenfree4goofs said...

Oh all these beautiful looking quinoa dishes! I just can't seem to get over the texture. I need to kick myself and eat it anyway because I know it's SO good for you! Lol

G.F.Veg said...

i have to start using all the quinoa i have and this looks like a perfect way to do it! especially since i'm gluten free AND vegetarian!

Kevin said...

What a nice summer salad! I really like using quinoa in salads like this.

Jackie said...

Hi Karina, I made this for dinner tonight....it was fantastic.

For the blogger who is also allergic to yeast and all things fermented (Stephanie?), I used some lemon juice and some Bragg's soy sauce (unfermented, wheat free)insead of the balsamic vinegar. It was delicious!


Karina Allrich said...

Thanks, everyone. :-)

And for those of you who haven't tried quinoa, give it whirl. It's high in protein. And a nice change from rice.

My trick for fluffy quinoa is to make it in the rice cooker. I use the same proportions I use for rice: 1 cup quinoa to 2 1/2 cups water. You may need slightly less at lower altitude (I'll let you know, as we'll be sea level by Monday!).

Be well xox


Wendy said...

Karina -- I live in Santa Monica. Let me know if you need tips on gluten free destinations or Santa Monica in general.

ShirraPOP said...

Thank you so much...I made your summer Quinoa dish and it came out wonderful..thank you so much.

Houston Ima said...

I'm eating this for lunch right now and I used the veggies I had on hand (Japanese eggplant, red bell pepper, onion + garlic, zucchini) and I added cilantro and just a touch of balsamic vinegar. To top it off, I added a few chunks of goat cheese. YUM!! This is definitely a keeper.

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