If you love fried vegetable rice but are not a fan of the greasy fried part, then welcome! This beautiful vegetable rice is right up your alley! Easy and quick to make, chock full of veggies, and with a really simple sauce, never wonder what to do with leftover rice again.
Get rid of that nasty MSG-filled expensive takeaway for this much healthier fakeaway! If you have some cold leftover rice, this tasty vegan rice dish can be ready in just 20 minutes (less if you have a food processor for chopping).
Chuck the vegetables in a wok or large wide pan for a few minutes, add in some cold rice, pour over the sauce, stir and cook a few minutes and hey presto, the most delicious non-fried or half-fried vegetable rice ever!
When I lived in Ireland fried rice would usually refer to plain white rice with some corn, peas and carrots fried with bits of omelette. But I lived in India I was introduced to vegetable fried rice with a more Indo-Chinese flavour and that’s now my favourite type!
If you are vegan or vegetarian but allergic to eggs as I am, then I’m sorry but all that frying with such plain ingredients leading to a dish where the calorific pay-off is not really worth it is just a waste of valuable cooking time.
After all if you have a seriously flavoursome and sauceful main dish then just go with some plain perfectly cooked white rice to show off the main star of the meal.
This delicious vegetable rice is tasty enough to stand up to being paired with some plain sides (sauteed broccolini, mushrooms and onions for example) or can stand alone as a main dish by itself.
What if I don’t have leftover rice?
Due to the fact that the rice doesn’t cook more than a few minutes in the pan, if you were really stuck you could make freshly cooked rice, but I don’t recommend it.
When rice is hot it absorbs liquid much more easily and can become overcooked and gluey in a nanosecond.
But if you MUST have this delicious vegetable fried rice now, I totally get you – I am not amazing at planning ahead and many is the time I have made fried rice with newly cooked rice (scandalous, I know).
If you are going to be an absolute rebel and make this with newly cooked rice, I’m gonna have to insist that at the very least it must be perfectly cooked al dente rice.
This means that you need to use long grain or basmati rice, and 100% ignore the package instructions. Rinse it 4-5 times in cold water until the water is clear. Drain any excess water off.
This is not a drill – you MUST drain the rice properly or the liquid to rice ratio will be off and your rice will be mushy. I use a sieve and shake it a few times to make sure all the water is out.
Put the pot on the stove with the drained rice and water in a ratio of 1:1 (rice to water). So one cup of rice rinsed of starch should be drained and cooked with one cup of water.
I know the packet says two cups of water. Probably. IGNORE IT.
Put the rice and water on the stove at the highest temperature with a pinch of salt and cover with a lid. When the water begins to boil reduce the temperature to the lowest one possible on the stovetop.
Don’t wait until it’s been boiling a few minutes or it will continue to boil over and then the water to rice ratio will be wrong, reduce the temperature as soon as you check and see some lively bubbling going on there.
Leave on the stovetop for 15 minutes, then take off the heat and leave for five minutes. Do not crack the lid ten times to see how everything is going, the last time you should have removed the lid was when you were checking if the rice was boiling.
Otherwise, you guessed it, escaping steam will mess up the rice to liquid ratio.
After the rice has been standing for five minutes, take the lid off and use a fork to fluff up and properly separate the rice.
Leave the lid off to let any additional steam escape while you get the vegetables ready, and stir every few minutes to speed up the cooling process and get rid of even more moisture.
This will give you perfect rice with a slight bite which can stand up to a few minutes in the frying pan, or for eating in life in general (I can’t stand mushy rice and always make my rice this way for any dish).
This recipe doesn’t call for many complicated ingredients but there still may be a few things you don’t have to hand.
Sweet soy sauce
Contrary to popular belief, sweet soy sauce is NOT the same as regular soy sauce with sugar, it has a much thicker consistency. However, if you don’t have any to hand you can substitute the 6tbsp of sweet soy sauce needed in this recipe with 6 tbsp regular (not dark) soy sauce and 2.5 tbsp brown sugar.
Note that this is not a great substitute for sweet soy sauce in general, which has a more complex spice profile, but will do in a pinch for this awesome veggie fried rice.
If you don’t have brown sugar try 6 tbsp soy sauce and 1.5 tbsp white sugar (brown rice brings a lovely molasses flavour, without that we’re just trying to hit the sweetness level).
Ideally, you would make this dish in a wok. Woks are designed to get very hot very fast and cook evenly and quickly. This means crisp perfectly cooked veggies.
If you don’t have a wok don’t worry, do use the widest pan you have, ideally with at least two inches of height, to increase the surface area and get rid of liquid quickly so you don’t end up with soggy rice.
If you’re not a fan of any of the vegetables used you can swap them out in the same quantity for another vegetable you prefer, just make sure to chop it into small pieces so it will cook well.
I don’t recommend high-moisture content veggies such as tomatoes or aubergines because outside of the sauce, you don’t want to add more moisture or the rice will get mushy.
You can replace this with any other flavourless oil such as canola oil.
How to make the recipe
I like to keep this section short and sweet, it’s more help to beginner cooks or for those who have a few doubts while cooking and would like to check in that everything is going as expected.
But trust me this is a super easy recipe to make. Everything goes quite fast once you start cooking so I usually recommend chopping up all the veggies either by hand or using a food processor first.
Then heat the oil until smoking hot in a wok on high heat. Add the chopped vegetables (onions, peppers, celery and carrots) and fry five minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.
While the veggies are frying I slightly wet my hands and go through the cooked rice, breaking up and rubbing apart clumps until the grains are all separated. The rice should look like the rice below, the grains don’t have to be perfectly separated but should be mostly separated.
Add the frozen veggies (the peas and green beans) and fry two minutes more.
Add the cold white rice and toss well so it’s coated with the flavoured oil and vegetables in the pan, frying all the while for about 2-3 minutes more until the rice is all evenly coloured from the oil and vegetables.
Mix together the sauce ingredients, whisk briskly with a fork, and pour half the sauce over the vegetables and rice.
Very quickly stir the rice so that the sauce is evenly incorporated. Then add the rest of the sauce and do the same, stirring until the rice is all the same colour.
If you add the sauce all at once some grains will absorb more than others and be mushier and darker so I don’t recommend it.
The rice is then ready to serve, just sprinkle some thinly slice scallions (green onions or spring onions) over.
This recipe makes four large main servings or six smaller or side servings. It’s also amazing if you add some toasted or marinated tofu cubes which will also up the protein content.
It will keep in the fridge for up to four days – you can also freeze it but the veggies and rice will have to be defrosted and then flash-fried again to get rid of the extra moisture and the veggies will be slightly mushy.
As with most vegan or vegetarian recipes, it tastes even better cold or the day after!
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- 2 tbsp Sunflower oil
- 2 medium onions
- 1 large green pepper
- 1 large red pepper
- 2 medium sticks celery
- 2 medium carrots
- ⅔ cup frozen peas
- ⅔ cup frozen chopped green beans
- 5 cups cold basmati rice
- 6 tbsp sweet soy sauce
- 4 tbsp vinegar (white wine, red wine or any mild vinegar)
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tsp dried ground garlic
- 1 tsp dried ground ginger
- 1 half tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 tbsp finely chopped scallions (spring onions) to serve
- Heat the sunflower oil in a wok or wide deep frying pan until smoking hot,
- Add the chopped onion, peppers, celery and carrots and fry five minutes stirring often. While the veggies are frying dampen your hands and rub any large lumps or clumps in the rice until all the grains are separated.
- Add the frozen peas and green beans and fry two minutes more.
- Whisk the sauce ingredients together briefly and pour half over the rice, mixing quickly until all the rice is the same colour. Now add the remaining sauce and stir quickly again.
- Serve with the finely sliced scallions sprinkled over.
Will keep up to four days in the fridge, and tastes even better on the second day.
If the rice becomes cold and hard in the fridge sprinkle a tablespoon of water over and microwave on high for three minutes in a sealed container or covered with plastic wrap to restore rice texture.
Amount Per Serving Calories 337Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 765mgCarbohydrates 60gFiber 4gSugar 16gProtein 7g