I’m jet lagged from my trip to Greece, so I made one of my old favorites to share again! It’s comforting and packed with nutrients, which is just what I need right now.
In fact, I enjoy this recipe so much that it inspired a recipe in my cookbook, the colorful coconut fried rice with edamame on page 182. If you haven’t tried that one yet, you’ve really missed out.
This dish is a relatively quick weeknight meal and a fun alternative to my go-to extra vegetable fried rice. This recipe has some Thai flavors, including sriracha, lime and cilantro.
I added coconut flakes, too. The big, toasted coconut flakes are savory and remind me of bacon. We all know that bacon and eggs belong together, so today, I present to you a healthier, vegetarian option.
For some reason, when I shared this recipe four years ago, I called it a stir-fry. It’s fried rice, not a stir fry! This is a stir fry. Moving on.
Feel free to throw in any thinly sliced vegetables that you might have in the fridge, too. Red bell pepper is lovely, as are chopped Brussels sprouts. I bet thinly sliced carrots would be great, too.
I found the base recipe for this stir fry in an awesome cookbook that landed on my doorstep, courtesy of a PR rep. It is appropriately titled, Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables.
Brassicas are the cruciferous family of vegetables that include kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and other less trendy ingredients, like bok choy and turnips. Did you know that arugula is a brassica? That was news to me.
Brassicas help prevent cancer, reduce inflammation and promote liver detoxification, so needless to say, they are a worthy (and delicious) addition to your plate.
The book’s original recipe for spicy kale fried rice was really tasty, but I couldn’t help adding some complementary flavors. While I was savoring my first test run, I remembered how great lime and cilantro go with kale in my burritos. Then I recalled Heidi Swanson’s amazing kale and coconut flake salad. I added all of the above to my second try and loved it even more.
Hope you’ll take my word for it and try it! Please let me know how this recipe turns out for you in the comments.
Watch How to Make Spicy Kale and Coconut Fried Rice
Spicy Kale and Coconut Fried Rice
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Thai
A vegetarian weeknight fried rice with sautéed kale, coconut flakes and rice. The dish is finished with Thai flavors like lime, cilantro and sriracha. For best results, cook your rice in advance and refrigerate until you’re ready to start cooking (see note). This dish comes together very quickly—be sure to have your ingredients prepped ahead of time and placed near the stove, along with a big empty bowl for the cooked components. Recipe yields 2 servings.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or quality high-heat oil such as avocado oil, divided
- 2 eggs, whisked together with a dash of salt
- 2 big cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ¾ cup chopped green onions (about 1 bunch)
- Optional: 1 cup chopped vegetables, like bell pepper, carrot or Brussels sprouts
- 1 medium bunch kale (preferably Lacinato but curly green is good, too), ribs removed and leaves chopped
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ cup large, unsweetened coconut flakes* (not shredded coconut)
- 2 cups cooked and chilled brown rice**
- 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or sriracha
- 1 lime, halved
- Handful fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Heat a large (12-inch or wider) wok, cast iron skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on contact, add 1 teaspoon oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Pour in the eggs and cook, stirring frequently, until the eggs are scrambled and lightly set. Transfer the eggs to your empty bowl. Wipe out the pan if necessary with a paper towel (be careful, it’s hot!).
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and add the garlic, green onions and optional additional vegetables. Cook until fragrant or until the vegetables are tender, stirring frequently, for 30 seconds or longer. Add the kale and salt. Continue to cook until the kale is wilted and tender, stirring frequently, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to your bowl of eggs.
- Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Pour in the coconut flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the flakes are lightly golden, about 30 seconds. Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is hot, about 3 minutes.
- Pour the contents of the bowl back into the pan, breaking up the scrambled egg with your spatula or spoon. Once warmed, remove the pan from the heat.
- Add the tamari, chili garlic sauce and juice of ½ lime. Stir to combine. Taste, and if it’s not fantastic yet, add another teaspoon of tamari or a pinch of salt, as needed.
- Slice the remaining ½ lime into wedges, then divide the fried rice into individual bowls. Garnish with wedges of lime and a sprinkling of torn cilantro leaves, with jars of tamari, chili garlic sauce and/or red pepper flakes on the side, for those who might want more.
Recipe adapted from Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables by Laura Russell.
*Where to buy coconut flakes: Look for them in the baking section at Whole Foods, health food stores or well-stocked grocery stores. The brands I see most often are “Let’s Do Organic” (green package) and Bob’s Red Mill.
**Rice notes: Stir fries always work best with chilled rice. You’ll need to cook about ⅔ cup dried rice to yield 2 cups cooked. If you’re in a hurry, spread the cooked rice on a rimmed baking sheet and place it in the fridge or freezer to cool. Here’s how to cook brown rice.
Make it vegan/egg free: Skip the eggs by heating the pan and then start cooking with step 2. For extra protein, you can stir in 1 cup defrosted frozen shelled edamame in step 4.
Make it gluten free: Make sure to use a gluten-free soy sauce, like tamari.
Storage suggestions: The dish tastes great the next day, whether reheated or served at room temperature.
This may be my favorite recipe from Cookie and Kate! My boyfriend always requests it when I make dinner.
Thank you, Kiley! I’m delighted you enjoyed it.
Like every recipe I’ve made from your site, I love it!
This is good!
Loved this dish and everything else from you!! I cook from your recipes several times a week and they’re always a hit. Thanks for inspiring me to love cooking. We finished w your lil lava cakes and loved those too :)
You’re welcome, Sonia! I appreciate your review.
One of my favs for sure. Such an easy, adaptable, healthy and tasty recipe. I make this at least 1-2xs a month for sure. I make it with cauliflower rice and any veggie I have on hand….always nourishes the body and soul. Thank you!
I love that! Thank you for sharing, Nicole.
Delicious! I added some bell pepper, an extra teaspoon of soy sauce and a spoonful of sambal oelek. I made it without egg since my husband doesn’t eat them but next time I’ll make two batches since I bet the egg would be super tasty.
Sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing, Youngmi. I appreciate your review.
Delicious! My husband and I both loved it. We added a yellow onion and carrots
Thank you for sharing, Julie! I’m glad you loved it.
Yum! This has such great depth of flavor and comes together pretty quickly. I swapped the egg for a can of chickpeas – vegan delight! I will say (if anyone is deciding) I’ve made it with both garlic chili paste and siracha, and the chili paste is preferred here.
Great idea! Thank you for sharing, Sarah.
Omg, I never comment online, but this was SO delicious. Thanks!
Thank you for taking the time to review, Laura!
If my kids don’t like spicy what could I substitute?
Hi Janice, just avoid adding the spicy sauce of choice for individual servings. I hope it’s a hit!
This looks great and I plan to make it this week. I have lots of leftover kale from a bag I bought last week.
About how much is one bunch of kale? Since I bought it in a big bag, are we talking 2 cups? More than that? I know it shrinks a lot when cooked.
Hi Erica, it can vary a little. 2 cups chopped is a good gauge.
Absolutely delicious just like every other recipe that I have cooked from your website.
Thank you so much for your time compiling the recipes.
You’re welcome, Bea! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Hi! I’ve made this recipe a few times and loved it. Tonight, I don’t have any kale on hand. Do you think frozen spinach would be an okay substitute? Thanks!
Hi, you can try it. Although I would suggest making sure you have all the moisture out of it. Or, just add a different vegetable instead. Carrots or peppers would be nice.
I never comment on recipes but oh wow this was so delicious!! I’ve never used coconut flakes before and now I have an enormous bag of them, so I look forward to making this lots more times with different veg and protein. Thanks!
You’re welcome, Jessica! I appreciate your review.
The dea of kale was appreciated. Thanks.
I really like coconut flavour. The addition of coconut might be OK for some but it spoilt the fried rice flavour.
My suggestion make a very small portion first.
Hi Peter, I’m sorry you didn’t love it. I appreciate your review.
This was delicious! I replaced the red pepper with brussel sprouts and carrots. Yum!
Thank you for sharing, Robin! I’m glad you loved it.
I’m a fairly experienced cook but have never made a fried rice of any kind! My husband is Indian and we have cooked many Indian dishes over the years, but I’m missing East Asian cooking. This recipe caught my eye as I had just brought home a large bunch of kale from the farmers market. I happened to have all the ingredients. It came together pretty quickly. And it was delicious! Thank you for helping me be a better cook. This will be a keeper for sure!
I’m glad you loved this one, Nancy! I appreciate your review.
Delicious! I skipped the egg and shredded some leftover chicken into instead. Added fresh corn and beans.
Sorry, once a scientist, always a scientist: does anybody know the weight of a “medium bunch of kale”, either before or after removing the ribs, because the kale I always find is always very very large.
Thanks in advance
Hi, I didn’t weigh this as bunches can vary. You can try 5-8oz and add more or remove from your liking.
I haven’t made this yet. I love fried rice, but I hate coconut. If I omitted the coconut, any suggestions of what I could substitute in? Thx so much!
This was delicious and came together so quickly. My husband and son ate it up right away! I made a double batch the next day for a pot-luck at work and it was enjoyed by all. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
You’re welcome, Jen! I’m happy you enjoyed it.
Made this tonight using additional diced frozen veg and a few spring rolls on top. Quick easy and delicious! I was surprised how very tasty it was, this is going to become a regular meal in my house for sure.
Love to hear that, Alex! Thank you for sharing.
Kate, this is an amazing dish. Next time I’m going to run two side-by-side skillets so we have leftovers! Could you give a measurement on the lime juice? I added the half a lime but my lime must have been too big. Thanks!
Hi, one half usually is around 1 tablespoon – give or take. I’m glad you loved it!