Refried Quinoa (Red Palm Oil)

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Since many were so intrigued and interested in the red palm oil I use to pop popcorn, I thought I would share another very flavorful use of this great traditional oil — refried quinoa (or any grain).

I am a huge fan of quinoa, while my son and husband are just so-so about it. However, if I refry the quinoa in a flavorful oil such as red palm oil, they love it. Love it. The flavor just pops! Not to mention the color. 😉

This is a super easy recipe to make. You can use it as a warm side dish with roasted chicken or meatballs, or as the base for a cold grain salad*. The key is to use thoroughly cooled, cooked quinoa when refrying — so as to preserve the integrity of each beautiful grain. (Who likes mushed up quinoa, or any grain for that matter?)

If you don’t have red palm oil, use coconut oil or any other traditional fat to boost the flavor when refrying any grain.

Refried Quinoa

  • 1/4 cup red palm oil (or other traditional fat)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5 to 6 cups cooked and thoroughly cooled quinoa (or other grain) — see how to cook whole grains
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in the oil until soft.

Add the quinoa and mix in gently, without mashing up the beautiful grains. Bring all to a warm temperature. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve!

*If using for a cold grain salad, you don’t need to do any of this warm — just make sure the red palm oil is liquid before stirring it into the cold, cooked quinoa.

I hope you’ll like this — I can’t imagine how anyone wouldn’t. :) What fat and/or seasonings do you use to refry grains?

A few announcements: The deadline for the “Sourdough A to Z” eBook giveaway has been extended to next Friday. Also, I’ll be the guest on two radio shows next week, one on Monday evening (talking about sourdough) and one on Wednesday late morning/early afternoon (talking about cultured dairy). Links to those will be forthcoming… I’d love to have you listen in — but if you can’t make it, I’ll let you know when the mp3 recordings are available afterward for download.

This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


  1. Darcy says

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I don’t have any quinoa right now, but I have some millet and I might give this a try. I have yet to try palm oil as well, but I definitely have coconut oil I can use.

  2. says

    This looks wonderful! Can’t wait to try it, was just thinking this week that I needed to find some more creative ways to eat quinoa, other than just as an oatmeal replacement. Thanks!

  3. says

    Thanks for these two recipes. I just received a jar of red palm oil from tropical traditions to review and give away on my site and I had no clue what to do with it!!

    I made the popcorn and it was fabulous- a nice little change from just popping in coconut oil (which I love btw). And It does taste ( and look) just like movie theater popcorn (w/o all the junk!!)

    I may try this, too so I can include a recipe or two with the review.

    thanks so much!!


  4. Gudrun says

    Oh, I never thought of frying Quinoa as a side dish…….what a great idea! We like it for breakfast just plain with a tiny bit of raw honey. Don’t have any red palm oil, so will use virgin coconut oil for now. Does red palm oil have a strong flavor? Now I have to see if Azure has some. Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      Gudrun — The flavor is not overpowering, but it definitely has flavor. I’m so bad at describing flavors, but I can tell you we all love it!

  5. says

    Thanks so much for this recipe! We have the same issue in our home (the “so-so” feeling about quinoa… least, my husband feels that way about all grains except rice). So now I think that I have a new way to serve quinoa, millet and perhaps even buckwheat groats.

    I am so glad! I haven’t bought the red palm oil yet, but we have plenty of coconut oil so that will be what I start with.

    Thanks again!

  6. says

    I have a question for you.
    I have a jar of Palm Butter. Would it work the same way? And if not. Can you tell me how to use it? It has a distinct orange color and smell as well.
    Thanks, Kristin

    • says

      Kristin — I have not heard of palm butter before, but I don’t think it will work. That is, if the difference between it and palm oil is the same as the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter. You see, one is the pureed fruit and the other is the pressed oil.

  7. says

    What’s the difference between palm oil and palm shortening? I have some palm shortening. Would that work in this and the popcorn? I have some quinoa left over from last weeks menu plan. I’m excited to try this.

    • says

      DeDe– To my understanding palm shortening is more clarified palm oil. According to Tropical Traditions, “Palm shortening is palm oil that has some of its unsaturated fats removed, giving it a very firm texture, and high melting point.” (

      It has no color or odor — so while it would work for both this and the popcorn, it wouldn’t contribute the flavor that the other traditional oils would.

  8. says

    Yum. This looks interesting. I’ve not really done anything creative with quinoa, just cooked it in broth as a side… and I’ve never used palm oil. I’ll have to try it. thanks !

  9. says

    Yum! I’ve never used red palm oil before, but love to refry my grains in coconut oil. If I am making an asian style fried rice (or other grain) I’ll use the virgin coconut oil along with ginger and garlic, plenty of veggies, green onions and maybe some chicken, scrambled egg or shrimp. If I am doing more a “mediterranean” flavor I’ll use the refined stuff and add some green herbs, carrots and celery and maybe some chicken or pork. Try chicken fat for mexican flavored fried rice. Yum!

  10. Mary Ann says

    I now live in Malaysia (2 years), the home of Palm Oil and they put it in everything – even in powdered, condensed and evaporated milk!! Which is then put in any tea or coffee you might buy from the local and abundant eating places, as well as in cakes, biscuits etc. Then of course most of the food here is fried so we get a BIG HIT of palm oil in everything we eat and drink. What it does for the milk I suppose is fill it out to make producing it cheaper and makes it more creamy, so everyone loves it. Unfortunately you do put on weight quite quickly – so everything in moderation.

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