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Need a healthy, easy recipe to make for dinner? Make fried rice! No meat? No problem. Vegetarian fried rice is an excellent meal, packed with nutrients.

And for vegetarians, it’s one of the few meals that has protein fully included. You get it from both the rice itself (even more if you’re using brown rice—more on that below) and the eggs (or tofu, if you’re vegan). 

And you can always add more protein to it, in the form of vegetables like edamame and beans.

Vegetarian fried rice is also delicious and easy to make, even for the amateur cook. It also has the bonus of being one of those meals where you can throw in anything you have lying around. That one last carrot, the bottom of that bag of frozen green beans, that half an onion—it’ll all taste delicious!

Read on to find out how to make easy fried rice in a few different ways.

How to Make Vegetarian Fried Rice

fried race
Source: unsplash
Restaurant-quality fried rice, sans meat? Coming right up.

The basic recipe for vegetarian fried rice is fairly simple. 

Ingredients

Rice is the main ingredient you need, unsurprisingly. The other essential ingredients are:

  • Oil
  • Eggs
  • Onion, garlic, or shallots 
  • Soy sauce or sriracha 
  • Salt and pepper 

And then the best part about fried rice: You can throw in whatever vegetables you have. If you’re trying to pack in the protein, try:

  • Edamame
  • Lima beans
  • Fava beans
  • Peas
  • Spinach

These additional veggies pack in their own fair share of nutrients:

  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Corn 
  • Green beans

And finally, some optional (but delicious) ingredients:

  • Tofu
  • Sesame seeds
  • Fresh ginger 
  • Anything else you like to spice up your meals with 

In terms of how much to make, if you’re using about three cups of cooked rice, you’ll want three eggs (generally one egg per cup of rice is good), half a cup of onions, and about half a cup of each of those veggies. Though if you’re using more than five different veggies, we’d suggest cutting it down to around 1/3 a cup of each. 

The good thing about this recipe, though, is nothing has to be exact! You can play around with it and see what you like best.

Instructions

Vegetarian fried rice is a great way to use up leftover cooked rice. But if you don’t have any, no worries—cook some fresh, and that’ll work too. Just make sure it’s fully cool before getting started. Otherwise, you’ll end up with mushy, rather than crispy, rice.

To make the rice, follow these steps:

  • Make your rice according to the box directions, and set it aside to cool.
  • Chop up your veggies.
  • Sauté your oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add in your onions, garlic, and chopped veggies and cook until softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Beat the eggs. Push the veggies to the side of the pan and pour on the eggs, scrambling until they’re cooked. Mix in with the veggies.
  • Add in the rice, and cook until the rice is slightly crispy in places.
  • Serve with soy sauce or sriracha or any spices you like. 
  • Enjoy!

Pro tip #1: If you’re making tofu fried rice, make your tofu first. Cut it into bite-sized pieces and sauté in a separate pan, tossing frequently so all sides get a little crispy. You can also coat in cornstarch for a little extra crunch.

Pro tip #2: If you want to add even more protein to this meal, top with a fried egg or two. Add a little sriracha on top and it’s *chef’s kiss* delicious.

Pro tip #3: If you are serving people who don’t believe that a meal is complete without meat, it’s easy enough to de-vegetarian-ize it: Just add some chicken!

fried rice with egg
Source: pexels
Top your fried rice with a fried egg for added protein.

How to Make Vegan Fried Rice

Vegan fried rice is similar to vegetarian fried rice—you just need to leave out the egg. 

Some people use tofu as a substitute and scramble it in the way you would eggs, but if you don’t like tofu, it’s not a necessity. 

And a lot of recipes will call for a more interesting sauce to serve with it to make up for the lack of egg. Think adding ingredients like peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, or sesame seeds to up the flavor profile.

Here’s our favorite way to make vegan fried rice:

Ingredients

The essentials don’t change much! You’ll need:

  • Oil or vegan butter
  • Onion, garlic, or shallots 
  • Soy sauce or sriracha, or a homemade sauce
  • Salt and pepper  

Veggies can also be the same:

  • Edamame
  • Lima beans
  • Fava beans
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Corn 
  • Green beans

Other optional ingredients:

  • Tofu
  • Fresh ginger 
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Peanut butter
  • Sesame seeds 
  • Turmeric
  • Nutritional yeast 

Instructions

  1. If you need to cook your rice, make it according to the box directions, and set it aside to cool.
  2. If you’re using tofu instead of egg, scramble this first, on its own. In a large frying pan, crumble it and cook until most of the water is gone. 
  3. Add flavoring to the tofu: salt, pepper, turmeric, nutritional yeast—whatever you feel like adding. Set aside.
  4. Chop up your veggies.
  5. Add oil or vegan butter to the same large frying pan. Add in onions, garlic, and chopped veggies and cook over medium-high heat until softened. 
  6. Add in the rice, and cook until it’s slightly crispy in places.
  7. Stir in the tofu scramble.
  8. Serve with soy sauce, sriracha, or your own homemade sauce.
  9. Enjoy!

Fried Brown Rice

fried rice
Source: pexels
Fried brown rice packs even more protein in each serving.

The dishes above contain a healthy serving of protein on their own, thanks to the rice, protein-packed veggies, and eggs or tofu.

But if you’re looking to get even more protein bang for your buck, as well as an increase in other nutrients, substitute brown rice for white rice. 

One cup of cooked brown rice has about 5.5 grams of protein, while the same amount of white rice has closer to 4.2 grams. Brown rice also has more than three times as much fiber per serving than white rice and packs in more magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, and vitamins B1 and B6. 

Brown rice does have slightly more calories than white rice, about 42 extra per cup. That’s not a huge amount, though, so if you’re focusing more on nutrient intake than caloric intake, brown rice is your best bet.

Brown rice doesn’t taste exactly the same as white rice—it’s denser and has a stronger flavor profile—so that’s also something to consider.

And if you’re looking to cut back significantly on carbs? Consider cauliflower fried rice!

How Will You Make It?

The great thing about vegetarian and vegan fried rice is how healthy and versatile it can be. You really can’t go wrong with any veggies you have lying around, you can experiment with different kinds of sauces, and you can easily leave out the egg or substitute it for tofu if you’re vegan. And regardless of what kind of rice you use, you’ve got a healthy and delicious meal on your hands.

Start Your Dinner

Cooking: Make Fried Rice with Anything