Make this amazing vegan fried rice recipe with your favorite veggies This is Chinese restaurant-style fried rice is so good with a savory sauce and stir-fried veggies. Transform leftover rice into a delicious dinner that takes around 30 minutes to make.
I love using brown rice to keep this recipe healthy too!
This easy vegan fried rice recipe is made with a simple tofu scramble, rice, and mixed vegetables. And I think homemade fried rice is so much better than Chinese takeout. The difference between vegan recipes and vegetarian fried rice is the eggs. Because vegans don’t eat eggs, this recipe uses a tofu scramble to create the flavor and texture profile of eggs.
Tofu and rice are a great combination because tofu adds protein, making it nutritious and delicious!
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Using vegan butter helps the rice brown and adds a delicious, buttery flavor
- Starting with cold rice keeps the rice firm, meaning you won’t be left with a mushy clump of rice when you’re done cooking it
- Letting the rice sit in a skillet over medium-high heat before stirring it helps the frying process and creates golden-brown bits that makes it so delicious.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Vegan butter — For the fried rice, we’ll make a different version of tofu scramble, and the main difference is using vegan butter rather than olive oil.
- Extra-firm tofu — If you’re new to working with it, here’s my tofu buying guide.
- Nutritional yeast flakes — Adding a rich, umami flavor to the tofu scramble happens from adding nutritional yeast flakes.
- Spices — We’ll be adding a pinch of turmeric, paprika, and garlic powder to add even more great flavor.
- Mild miso paste — If you don’t have this magical miso paste, you can substitute salt to taste.
- Rice — It’s best to use either medium or long-grain rice to avoid clumping of the rice. Also, be sure to use cold rice for the best fried rice. Freshly cooked rice will create soggy fried rice. So cook your rice the day before and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Or if you make it fresh, spread it out on a pan and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Veggies — You can use a variety of veggies, but a gold standard is carrots and peas. You can use fresh, but to keep things easy, go ahead and buy frozen peas and frozen chopped carrots. You can even buy Asian frozen veggies too.
- Tamari — I use tamari because it’s gluten-free. Substitute soy sauce if you don’t have issues with gluten.
- Toasted sesame oil — The flavor of this oil is distinctive and adds a lot to Asian dishes. Substitute untoasted sesame oil or olive oil.
- Garlic — We’ll use a bit of garlic powder and some fresh cloves of garlic, peeled and minced.
- Almond butter — I find almond butter has a more neutral flavor for the sauce. Substitute peanut butter if you don’t have this.
- Agave nectar — Any syrup sweetener will do here, such as maple syrup.
- Chili garlic sauce — You can leave this out if you don’t like spicy, but it adds a lot of great flavors.
- Green onions — Adding fresh green onions contributes both color and flavor.
What Rice is Best?
Medim-to-long-grain rice is best for fried rice because it doesn’t clump together after it’s cooked. Leave the short-grained rice for things like sushi because it does have a stickiness factor to it. Using cold leftover rice is the best because it’s had a chance to firm up. That means it will be easy to keep it separate as it cooks (rather than mushing up together). Be sure to cook it in a hot skillet to get that golden-brown effect.
How to Make Vegan Fried Rice
Fried rice has been a go-to recipe because of its simplicity and ease of making. Of course, it’s also delicious. The traditional recipe is made with eggs and even pork or chicken. However, it’s easy to make vegetarian fried rice recipes. Here are the steps:
- Make the tofu scramble by cooking pressed tofu in a skillet with the appropriate seasonings.
- Cook onions with vegan butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add any vegetables, like carrots, peas, and more.
- Cook the rice by turning up the heat and adding the cold rice. Add the tofu scramble to the skillet along with the vegetables and the rice.
- Make the sauce and pour it over the rice and other ingredients. Continue cooking the rice until the edges become golden-brown.
Step One: Tofu Scramble
To prepare your fried rice with tofu, let’s begin with making the tofu scramble. This takes only a few minutes and adds great flavor, texture, and even protein to your finished dish.
Be sure to press the tofu to remove excess liquid. The cooking process removes some of the liquid too. I put the whole block of tofu in the skillet with a little bit of vegan butter. Then use a spatula to break it up into smaller pieces.
Once the tofu is adequately cooked and broken down into bite-sized pieces, add the flavorings and spices. Stir to make sure it’s all coated. Then transfer to a bowl or sealable container and set aside.
Eggless fried rice is delicious and easy to make!
Quick Fix Tip
Make the tofu scramble and the rice the day before and this recipe comes together in minutes!
Step Two: Cook the Vegetables
Once the tofu is cooked, it’s time to move on to making fried rice. Start by cooking chopped onions in vegan butter. Vegetable oil seems like a better choice, but vegan butter helps with the browning process and adds great flavor, too.
Quick Fix Tip
To make this faster, use frozen carrots as they’re already tender. If you’re using freshly chopped carrots, you can microwave them for 1 to 2 minutes to soften them up. To do so, add chopped carrots to a microwave-safe bowl, add a splash of water (not much), cover, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Let them sit in the microwave until the dish is cool enough to handle. Then transfer the cooked carrots to the skillet with the cooked onions.
Once the onions and carrots are tender, add any other vegetables you’ll be using and the chilled rice.
Step Three: Frying Rice
Turn up the heat to medium-high and then add the cold rice. Spread it out across the skillet and leave it for a few minutes so that the rice begins to brown.
Make it healthier by using sticky brown rice!
Avoid overcrowding your skillet by cooking ingredients individually, removing them to separate plates and then combining them all at the end. So once your vegetables are cooked, transfer them to a skillet. Then you can devote the skillet to cooking the rice, allowing more of it to come in contact with the hot surface.
Step Four: Fried Rice Sauce
To make the fried rice sauce, combine tamari (a gluten-free soy sauce), toasted sesame oil, minced garlic, almond butter, agave (or maple syrup), and chili garlic sauce.
Yes, it’s true that chili garlic sauce can be spicy. However, we’re only using 2 teaspoons to add flavor. I’ve tested this with people who don’t like spicy food and it passed the test! However, you can leave the chili sauce out if you’re really opposed to it.
Next, pour the sauce over the the rice and vegetables. Stir the rice to make sure it’s all coated with the sauce.
The trick to frying anything is time — so let the rice sit in the pan on medium-high heat for several minutes. Then use a spatula to turn the rice. You should see it beginning to turn golden brown. Continue this process until the rice is fried.
Add-ins for this vegetable fried rice recipe include microwave-steamed broccoli, steamed cauliflower, water chestnuts, chopped peanuts, and more!
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To serve leftover fried rice, either eat it cold, reheat in a skillet over medium heat, or microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.
I’ve made this a few times now. Thanks for a great, simple, and tasty recipe!
Is Fried Rice Good for You?
The standard fried rice recipe calls for white rice that’s fried in oil. To make fried rice healthier, use long-grain brown rice, and reduce the oil. Be sure to add lots of healthy veggies, like onions, carrots, green beans, and more!
What Kind of Rice is Used for Fried Rice?
It’s best to use medium to long-grain rice when making fried rice. Short-grain rice can be used; however, it’s a softer rice and can stick together more. Although white rice is the more traditional, you can use brown rice to create healthier fried rice.
Vegan Fried Rice
Tofu Scramble for Fried Rice
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter, divided
- 15 ounce extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon mild miso paste
- 4 cups cooked long or short grain rice , chilled
- ¾ cup diced onions
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen carrots
- ½ cup frozen corn
For the Fried Rice Tofu Scramble
- Press tofu to remove excess liquid. Either wrap in a kitchen towel and set something heavy on top (such as a cast iron skillet) to press out the liquid or use a tofu press.
- While the tofu is pressing, stir together the nutritional yeast flakes, turmeric, paprika, and garlic powder Set aside. in a small bowl. In a seperate bowl stir together the miso paste with two teaspoons of water. Set aside.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegan butter. Add the pressed tofu cube. Use a spatula to break the tofu down into small, bite-size pieces. Continue cooking and breaking the tofu into smaller bits, until the tofu has released most of its moisture. Drizzle the miso paste mixture over the tofu and use a spatula to stir until all the tofu is coated.
- Sprinkle spices over the top and stir until all the tofu is coated. Transfer to the tofu scramble to a bowl. Set aside.
For the Fried Rice
- Add 1 tablespoon vegan butter to the skillet just used to make the tofu. Once the butter is melted, add the chopped onion. Cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add garlic, peas, and carrots. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn and any other vegetable add-ins like diced red bell peppers.
- While the vegetables cook, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- Add remaining vegan butter and cook until it's melted. Then add cooked rice and cook over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tofu scramble and then drizzle with sauce. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the ingredients begin to get golden-brown on the edges.
- Serve immediately with sriracha for spicy heat. Top with chopped roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, and/or sliced green onions.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To serve leftover vegan fried rice, eat cold, or reheat in a skillet over medium heat, or microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.