Spicy Thai Quinoa

You absolutely MUST try this dish!

It’s packed with the incredible flavors of coconut, peanut, lime, garlic, cilantro, scallions and spicy Sriracha.  It’s high in protein from the quinoa, tofu and chicken.  (You can omit the chicken for a vegetarian version.)  It’s full of healthy vegetables.  This dish is also so easy to make and is perfect for dinner or heated up for lunch the next day.Spicy Thai Quinoa | Hugs ‘n KitchenThe dressing is unbelievably easy to throw together.  You barely need to chop anything because it all blends together quickly and beautifully in the food processor.  Cilantro, peanuts, garlic, brown sugar, lime zest, lime juice, Sriracha, salt and sesame oil.  (The picture below actually shows culantro instead of cilantro.  When I went to the market today for ingredients they were out of cilantro.  I was craving this dish so figured I would try making the dressing with culantro instead.  It still tasted delicious but was definitely more citrus-y the first go around when I used cilantro.  Still good to know I have a back-up just in case!)

Spicy Thai Quinoa | Hugs ‘n Kitchen

Spicy Thai Quinoa | Hugs ‘n KitchenSpicy Thai Quinoa | Hugs ‘n KitchenThe star of the dressing is Sriracha hot sauce.  The first time I made this dish, I mis-measured the quantity of hot sauce, and added THREE QUARTERS OF A CUP of Sriracha!  Holy guacamole it was insanely spicy.  My mouth was on fire, yet my bf was still able to add even MORE Sriracha to his bowl.

The second time around, I took my time and added one third of a cup of Sriracha and it was perfect.  You can start with less if you aren’t a fan of spicy foods, and adjust based on your heat preferences.  Or you could substitute a different hot sauce altogether.  I have a friend who said that Cholula works well as a substitute.  We love Sriracha so that’s all I’ve tried but let me know if you explore making the dressing with other hot sauces!

Spicy Thai Quinoa | Hugs ‘n KitchenOnce your sauce is made, prepare the quinoa.  It absorbs delicious flavors cooking in coconut milk and vegetable or chicken broth and would be delicious as is.  I suggest you try a few bites before adding the other ingredients to the bowl, but be careful not to eat too much!  It is addicting.

The rest of this dish prep involves crisping the tofu, cooking the chicken (if you’re adding chicken) and blanching your veggies.  Make sure to drain your tofu really well before sautéing in vegetable oil because it’s the only way to get a crispy exterior.  If it’s still full of liquid it won’t get crispy and this adds a great texture to the dish.Spicy Thai Quinoa | Hugs ‘n KitchenOnce all of your ingredients are cooked, combine the quinoa, tofu, chicken, broccoli, carrots, soybeans, scallions and dressing in a large bowl.Spicy Thai Quinoa | Hugs ‘n KitchenTop with extra scallions, peanuts, cilantro and Sriracha to taste.Spicy Thai Quinoa | Hugs ‘n KitchenSpicy Thai Quinoa | Hugs ‘n KitchenLet me know what you think!  This is totally one of our new favorite dishes!!

Hugs, kisses + yummy dishes… xoxo

This recipe was adapted ever so slightly from Chow.com.

Spicy Thai Quinoa

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • YIELDS 6 servings


For the dressing:
  1. Place the cilantro, peanuts, Sriracha, lime zest, lime juice, sesame oil, dark brown sugar, garlic and salt in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment.
  2. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 1 minute.
  3. Set dressing aside.

For the quinoa:

  1. In a large saucepan, combined the quinoa, coconut milk, vegetable broth and salt.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the white outer casings on the quinoa have popped, revealing translucent little beads, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, line a large plate with several layers of paper towels. Drain the tofu, cut it into large dice, and place it in a single layer on the paper-towel-lined plate; set aside.
  4. Trim the carrots and cut them into 1/8-inch-thick rounds; set aside.
  5. Trim the stem of the broccoli to 1/2 inch and cut the head into 1-inch florets; set aside.
  6. Thinly slice the white and light green parts of the scallions; set aside.
  7. When the quinoa is ready, remove it to a large serving bowl and set aside.
  8. Wash the saucepan, fill it with water, and season generously with salt. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil over high heat.
  9. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the tofu and cook without stirring until the bottoms are golden brown, about 4 minutes. (While the tofu is cooking, line the plate you drained it on with fresh paper towels.)  Flip and cook until the other sides are golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, remove to the paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt; set aside.
  10. If adding chicken, heat another 2 Tablespoons of oil in the same large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Season chicken strips with salt and pepper and cook the until golden brown on each side and cooked through.  Using a slotted spoon, remove to the paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt; set aside.  Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  11. Add the carrots to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove them and add to the bowl with the quinoa.
  12. Return the water to a boil, add the broccoli, and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and add to the bowl with the quinoa and carrots.
  13. Return the water to a boil, add the soybeans and boil until softened and cooked, 4-5 minutes.  Drain in a colander and place in the bowl with the quinoa, carrots and broccoli.
  14. Add the cooked tofu, dressing, and scallions to the bowl and stir to combine.
For serving:
  1. Garnish with additional cilantro, peanuts, and scallions and serve hot.
Recipe adapted slightly from Chow.com.