When you get the craving for Chinese takeout, check if you have leftover rice and raw vegetables in your fridge. If you do, you already have all the makings for a tasty side or main course dish that is far healthier and more satisfying than anything you’ll find at a restaurant. I’m talking about fried rice.
This fried rice recipe is quick, easy, and deliciously satisfying. I’ve made it vegan-friendly/egg-free and packed it with veggies that make it really flavorful.
Is Fried Rice Vegan?
Though the exact origin of fried rice is unknown, its earliest mention is believed to be in a book about Chinese cuisine from the Sui Dynasty (569-518 CE).
It is said that Emperor Yang Guan visited Yangzhou three times and enjoyed eating the golden fried rice (referring to egg fried rice, as the rice appears golden in color because the grains are evenly coated with eggs).
Thus the dish became part of the imperial menu. During the Ming Dynasty, the chefs in Yangzhou added more ingredients to golden fried rice, creating the Yangzhou fried rice.
The standard recipe has rice, eggs, meat, fish, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and peas. This version of fried rice is vegan, gluten-free, and a lighter version than traditional fried rice.
How To Make Vegetable Fried Rice
One thing that I love about fried rice is how it comes together quickly and how easy it is to customize with whatever veggies you have on hand. I’m using onions, carrots, mushrooms, peas, and baby bok choy. This recipe is great to prepare in advance and stores well in the fridge, so it’s a great option to make for meal prep.
Cooking tip: This recipe goes really fast, so have all your ingredients out and prepped so that you’re ready to go and don’t burn the dish.
In a large skillet or wok, sauté the onions in sesame oil for around 1 minute until they soften up. Sesame oil adds great flavor to the dish. Next, add the finely diced carrots and sliced mushrooms and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Follow up with a splash of coconut aminos or soy sauce to the mixture and cook for 5 more minutes. Coconut aminos is made from fermented coconut palm sap and has a milder, sweeter flavor than soy sauce. It’s free from soy, wheat, and gluten, which makes it a great, healthy alternative. Surprisingly enough, it doesn’t taste like coconut.
Once the mushrooms start to break down and soften, add the cooked rice. I’m using red rice for added fiber and whole grains. Red rice is a variety of rice with an impressive nutrition profile. It is high in protein, fiber, and packed with flavonoid antioxidants, which can help decrease inflammation in your body and may reduce your risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Research shows that red rice has significantly more potential to fight free radicals and contains higher concentrations of flavonoid antioxidants than brown rice.
Add another splash of the coconut aminos and mix everything together. You can add a bit of water at this point if you feel like you need some moisture. Add the peas and bok choy and stir frequently.
You can cover the pan if you feel like the bok choy is taking some time to soften up. Finally, once everything has cooked to your liking, serve immediately.
Keep leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container and consume within 3 to 4 days. Fried rice can also be frozen for up to three months in freezer-safe containers.
How To Cook Red Rice
Red rice tends to be nuttier and more subtly sweet than other types of rice. Texturally, red rice is very similar to brown rice: somewhat chewy due to the bran coating but tender on the inside.
If you have a rice cooker, it’s very easy to make red rice, Simply follow the water-to-rice ratio for your machine, press start and move on to other tasks.
However, if you’re making red rice on the stovetop, the steps are pretty simple. The following recipe yields 4 servings of red rice.
Bring 2½ cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, rinse 1 cup of rice under cool water. When the water reaches a boil add the rice, and an optional touch of olive oil and sea salt.
Reduce to a simmer, cover, and leave to cook until tender, which may take 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork, then cover it again with the lid. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
Fluff the rice again and serve.
Tips & Tricks For Cooking Fried Rice
1. If you are using freshly cooked rice, spread it on a large baking sheet or flat pan and let it cool down. This gives it a chance to dry out a bit so so that you don’t end up with soggy and sticky clumps.
2. If you want an oil-free version of this recipe, use water or vegetable stock to stir fry the vegetables.
3. For a truly great dish, have a mix of sweeter vegetables like carrots and peas and savory ones like mushrooms, as well as a mix of textures.
4. Chop your vegetables into small pieces so that they won’t take too long to cook.
If You Love This Recipe, Then Try…
My pumpfu stir fry recipe that goes well with fried rice.
Or my miso soup recipe that is also a great accompaniment to fried rice.
This tasty vegan jambalaya recipe from Simple Vegan Blog.
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* The instructional video has been sponsored by Basil Bandwagon Natural Market. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
**Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through them.