I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I’m too old to be telling myself that I can get by on less for productivity’s sake. Au contraire, Kate! Do you see my little white flag of surrender to getting eight hours at night? It’s waving in the breeze, about as slowly as my brain waves today.
I’ve already clicked through the Met Gala gowns (here’s my favorite/sorry for that rabbit hole) and searched for a Kentucky Derby-style fascinator for this weekend. It’s high time that I tell you about this delicious veggie fried rice recipe, huh?
I set out to create a more interesting take on greasy take-out vegetable fried rice. Here it is in full glory, and it’s as flavorful as it is colorful. I used brown rice, naturally, and even threw in a handful of greens, which offer even more health bonus points. (The greens are optional.)
I also played around with a variety of vegetables, and all of them work well as long as they were cut into very small pieces. This is exactly what you should make when you have leftover rice and some random raw vegetables languishing in your refrigerator.
I designed this recipe to work well in a regular skillet (preferably cast iron), since most of us don’t have woks at home. The only tricky part, which really isn’t so difficult, is to cook the eggs, vegetables and rice separately, and combine them all at the end. That way, each component will be cooked just right, and the vegetables and rice will get a chance to develop those delicious golden edges. As always, please let me know how you like it!
Extra Vegetable Fried Rice
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 2 to 3 servings
- Cuisine: Chinese
Learn how to make vegetable fried rice—it’s a simple and satisfying dinner! This vegetarian recipe features extra vegetables and brown rice. Recipe yields 2 large or 3 moderate servings (I think you could double it if you have a large enough skillet, but you might not get as much caramelization on the edges of the veggies and rice).
- 1 ½ teaspoons + 2 tablespoons avocado oil or safflower oil, divided
- 2 eggs, scrambled
- 1 small white onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- 2 cups additional veggies, cut into very small pieces for quick cooking (see photos for size reference; options include snow peas, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, bell pepper, and/or fresh or frozen peas—no need to thaw first)
- ¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1 tablespoon grated or finely minced fresh ginger
- 2 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (*see notes!)
- 1 cup greens (optional), such as spinach, baby kale or tatsoi
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce**
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Chili-garlic sauce or sriracha, for serving (optional)
- This recipe comes together quickly. Before you get started, make sure that all of your ingredients are prepped and within an arm’s reach from the stove. Also have an empty bowl nearby for holding the cooked eggs and veggies. I’m suggesting that you start over medium-high heat, but if at any point you catch a whiff of oil or food burning, reduce the heat to medium.
- Warm a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until a few drops of water evaporate within a couple of seconds. Immediately add 1 ½ teaspoons of oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Add the scrambled eggs and swirl the pan so they cover the bottom. Cook until they are just lightly set, flipping or stirring along the way. Transfer the eggs to a bowl and wipe out the pan with a heat-proof spatula.
- Return the pan to heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining veggies and salt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally (don’t stir too often, or the veggies won’t have a chance to turn golden on the edges), until the veggies are cooked through and turning golden, about 3 to 5 more minutes. In the meantime, use the edge of your spatula or a spoon to break up the scrambled eggs into smaller pieces.
- Use a big spatula or spoon to transfer the contents of the pan to the bowl with the cooked eggs. Return the pan to heat and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and mix it all together. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is hot and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the greens (if using) and green onions, and stir to combine. Add the cooked veggies and eggs and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tamari and sesame oil. Taste, and add a little more tamari if you’d like more soy flavor (don’t overdo it or it will drown out the other flavors) or salt, if the dish needs an extra boost of overall flavor.
- Divide into bowls and serve immediately. I usually serve mine with chili-garlic sauce or sriracha on the side. Leftovers store well in the refrigerator, covered, for 3 to 4 days (if you used purple cabbage, it might stain your scrambled eggs a funny blue color, but it’s fine to eat).
*Rice notes: You’ll need to cook about 1 cup dry rice to yield enough for this recipe; be sure not to over-cook it or it will stick to the pan. I prefer short-grain brown rice since it’s a little chewy, but medium-grain or jasmine rice will work, too. You can use freshly cooked rice if you spread it onto a large tray and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes first (this gives it a chance to dry out a bit so it doesn’t steam itself in the pan). Day-old leftover, refrigerator rice is great, too. Just break up any clumps of rice before you add it to the pan. Credit goes to Serious Eats for the rice tips!
**Make it gluten free: Be sure to use gluten-free tamari, not regular soy sauce.
Make it vegan: Omit the eggs and the 1 ½ teaspoons oil that goes with them. For extra protein, you could mix in 1 cup edamame (thawed if necessary) or a batch of my crispy baked tofu with the cooked veggies at the end.