Calling in for Chinese takeout? Hold the phone!
This fried rice with veggies recipe is a nutritious spinoff of that beloved takeout but made from the comfort of home! Besides, it is simple to prepare and can harness a number of fresh flavors.
Find out how to make fried rice with vegetarian ingredients in mind!
Healthy Vegetable Fried Rice
Nutrition per serving: 277 calories, 9 g fat, 12 g protein, 31 g net carb
Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes
• 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
• 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
• 2 cups dry tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
• 6 Tbsp shallots, minced
• 2 Tbsp ginger, minced
• 4 tsp garlic, minced
• 2 cups carrot, green peas, and corn medley
• 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
• 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder*
• 4 tsp soy sauce
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cold rice is best for this recipe, as freshly cooked rice can result in a mushy product after cooking. That being said, cook brown rice the night before so that it has time to chill in the fridge overnight. Any leftover rice will work as well.
2. Bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup rice to boil in a pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. While still covered, turn off heat and let stand for 15 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Allow to cool then store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready for use the next day.
3. When ready to make the dish, heat grapeseed oil over medium-high heat in a Chinese wok or sauté pan. Likewise use a pan with sides high enough for comfortable stirring.
4. Before frying, make sure tofu is as dry as it can be, draining and drying with paper towels as needed. Pan-fry tofu lightly until the edges are a little brown and a light crispy skin forms on the outside. Remove and set aside.
5. Sweat ginger, garlic, and shallots for about 3 minutes until fragrant. Then add rice, vegetable mix, and bell pepper and stir well to combine. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Add the Chinese five spice, pepper and soy sauce and return tofu to wok/pan. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Serve warm and drizzle with a little bit of sesame oil.
*Chinese Five Spice is namely a spice blend used in Chinese cuisines. It combines cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and peppercorns to deliver one unique flavor profile.
Making a homemade blend ensures freshness, as whole spices retain their aromas and flavor better than ground spices. When ready to make, lightly toast the following spices over the stovetop:
• 1 tsp whole cloves
• 1 tsp whole fennel
• 1 tsp whole star anise
• ½ tsp Szechuan peppercorns
Then, use a coffee bean grinder to grind them into a nice aromatic powder with ¾ tsp ground cinnamon.
Feel free to grab ready-made Chinese Five Spice from the spice aisle if that is a more suitable option.
Additional Tips to Make Fried Rice
Making homemade fried rice is a fun opportunity to experiment with flavors. It also allows for tight ingredient control to accommodate dietary needs. Consider these tips for making your best fried rice recipe!
1. Alternate Rice
Really, brown rice, white rice, and any sort of rice blend will work. Just make sure it is chilled for best results.
But feel free to use a rice alternative, such as cauliflower rice, to lower the carb content. Subbing rice for quinoa also offers extra protein and healthy fat to the dish.
2. Play with Protein Sources
Tofu is a staple in this vegetarian fried rice, though other plant-based protein sources one might consider includes:
• Canned or frozen pea varieties, including sugar snap peas
• Tempeh, which is similarly used like tofu
• Peanuts, cashew, almonds, and other nut varieties
One can also add an animal protein as desired, including:
• Scrambled eggs, in which the eggs are scrambled into the cooked rice
• Shredded chicken breast
• Sirloin steak
• Lean ground beef and turkey
• Shrimp, scallops, and crab meat
• Tilapia, tuna, and salmon
3. Bulk with Veggies
Bulking with veggies can add volume and nutrients without amplifying overall calories.
The following veggies pair perfectly with the soba noodles, edamame, and a lean protein source:
• Brussels sprout
• Baby corn
• Portobello mushroom
• Water chestnut
4. Season with Various Flavorings
From the Chinese Five Spice to the soy sauce, the dish amplifies in flavor. However, one can season with other herbs, spices, and sauces such as:
• Oyster sauce
• Teriyaki sauce
• Red pepper flakes for a spicy kick
• Sriracha or chili pasta for an even greater spicy kick!
• Parsley and cilantro
• Lime or lemon juice
• Green onion or scallions
Simple Fried Rice Variations
Looking for some inspiration beyond the vegetarian stir-fried rice recipe? You will love these simple fried rice variations!
Low-Carb Fried Rice
Sub out brown rice for cauliflower rice, making sure to use a cooled product prior to frying. Bulk with lean protein and non-starchy veggies, including pepper and cabbage.
Beef Fried Rice
As the rice is frying, sauté sirloin or ground lean ground beef. Pair with broccoli for a traditional beef and broccoli stir fry.
Chicken Fried Rice
Keep the dish classic with lean cuts of chicken. Since chicken is mild in flavor, experiment with a variety of veggies, fruits, and flavorings.
Ham or Pork Fried Rice
Ham or other pork cuts offer richness to a fresh bowl of fried rice with veggies. To cut back on fat content, pork tenderloin and loin chops and roasts are good options.
Pineapple Fried Rice
Is there anything that beats fresh and juicy pineapple? Actually, yes! Stirring in fresh and juicy pineapple to fried rice. Experiment with other fruit as well, including mango and orange.
Shrimp Fried Rice
Mix sautéed shrimp with the rice. It pairs great with juicy pineapple and crunch cashews!
Breakfast Fried Rice
We are breaking standards with one delicious morning (or lunch and dinner) meal! Add favorite veggies breakfast proteins, including sausage or bacon. Top with a poached egg and chopped green onion.
Mexican Fried Rice
A Mexican fried rice dish is a tasty twist for your next #TacoTuesday! Add taco meat of choice and top with chopped lettuce, tomato, avocado, and salsa.