I love a good stir fry. It has all the features of a perfect weeknight meal. It’s quick, nutritious, and delicious. When days get hectic, I turn to a stir fry. I love the idea of throwing chicken, beef, or shrimp with whatever veggies I have in the fridge or freezer. Whisking up a flavorful sauce to go with it and dinner is on the table under 30 minutes.
I’ve had my share of many stir fry dinners (thanks to long nights at the office) and learned some tricks along the way.
The secret to perfect tender crisp veggies is to cook everything in batches and not to overcrowd the pan. I used to build up the stir fry in my pan by cooking the chicken first, then adding the veggies and sauce but it always turned out mushy and overcooked. Now, I start off with stir frying the chicken for about 3 minutes or just until the pink is no longer visible and center is slightly undercooked. I transfer the chicken to a bowl before adding my veggies to the pan and only towards the end I add the chicken back into the pan along with the sauce. It’s all a very quick process with use of little oil and the result is super crisp, flavorful veggies.
This 30-Minute Sesame Chicken Quinoa Bowl was a result of many factors: (1) long day and dinner was the last thing on my mind (2) half empty bags of veggies on the verge of going in the dumpster and (3) more quinoa than I know what to do with. So this easy 30 minute meal came about! I’ve made so many different variations of stir fries before but chicken is always my favorite, whether it’s thighs or breasts, both are easy and quick to cook.
I made a basic sesame sauce to go with my chicken and veggies, using all the ingredients that I had in my pantry. You can create your own sauce with simple ingredients such as soy, ginger and garlic. I’ve done that before and it turned out super delish! And speaking of fresh ginger, you can certainly add some here as much or little as you like. It’s very flavorful so a little goes a long way.
To speedy up prep and cook time even more, you can use frozen veggies. I like the mixed combos all in one bag with broccoli , snow peas, carrots, and bell pepper but any combination will do. Also, if you like rice, go with rice instead of quinoa. I’m just digging quinoa these days because it’s cool 🙂 I’ve also done a skinny version of a stir fry before by completely cutting out the carb portion (quinoa or rice) and just having a big bowl of chicken with veggies. Good stuff too!
- 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
- 1½ cups of chicken stock or water
- 1½ tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. rice vinegar
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. sliced scallions
- 2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless , chicken thighs, chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 cup snow peas
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into bite size pieces
- 2 medium carrots, halved and sliced on diagonal
- 2 green onions (green and white part), sliced
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Rinse quinoa under cold water until water runs clear. Place quinoa and chicken stock or water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with rice vinegar, whisking to blend. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients; set aside.
- In a large skillet or stir-fry pan, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat. Add chicken and stir fry for about 3 minutes until pink is gone and the center is slightly undercooked. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan; add snow peas, sugar snap peas, and carrots. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. If the veggies begin to stick to the pan, add water by 1 tablespoon.
- Add the green onions and minced garlic to the pan and continue stir frying for about 3 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp tender. Continue to add water by 1 tablespoons or as needed.
- Stir in the chicken back into the pan, along with the sesame sauce. Cook until the sauce thickens and flavors are blended, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve over cooked quinoa. Enjoy!