This fried brown rice recipe is one of my back pocket weeknight meals. I can easily throw it together no matter how exhausted I am and have dinner ready faster than a Seamless delivery.
It’s flavored with garlic and toasted sesame oil, and I love the contrast between the soft, chewy rice and the crunchy broccoli. It’s comforting, but healthy, too.
Fried rice is a great canvas for whatever vegetables you have lingering in your fridge. While the onion and carrot create the base flavor, everything else is fair game.
I use broccoli and frozen peas for the vegetable component here, but mushrooms, bell peppers, green beans, and corn (fresh or frozen) are equally great options. Finely chopped spinach, bok choy, or kale are also fun additions.
Classic Chinese fried rice typically includes a scrambled egg. For my vegan version, I use crumbled tofu for a similar effect. The tofu also increases the protein content of this dish, making it a complete one-pot meal.
A few words on the rice…
When choosing rice for your fried brown rice, be sure to buy short grain brown rice, which has a chewier, stickier texture and slightly sweet flavor. I find that long grain brown rice works better in Indian– or middle eastern-inspired recipes.
I start this fried brown rice recipe by sautéing the vegetables to get them slightly softened and caramelized. Then I add the rice.
It’s important that the precooked rice is straight-from-the-fridge cold. Refrigerated rice is drier than freshly-cooked rice, which helps the grains stay separate when frying. If you use still-warm rice for this recipe, you’ll end up with a mushy texture.
Tip: To cool freshly-cooked rice faster, spread it on a baking sheet/tray in a single layer. After it stops steaming, place it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes, until it’s cool to the touch.
With that said, this is a perfect way to repurpose leftover takeout rice.Print
This 20-minute vegan fried brown rice recipe uses tofu, plus whatever vegetables you have lingering in your fridge.
- 7 ounces (half a standard package) extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil, like avocado, canola, or refined coconut
- 2 cups finely chopped broccoli
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice, cold from the fridge
- 1 cup frozen peas or edamame
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- Toasted sesame seeds and scallions, for garnishing
- Start by pressing the tofu. Place it on a plate, then top with another plate or cutting board and weigh it down with something heavy (like a jar), to squeeze out as much water as possible. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, periodically draining off the excess water.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli, onion, and carrot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are starting to soften and brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the rice, peas, sesame oil, and garlic, and stir to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring once, until the rice is heated through and starting to get crispy.
- Meanwhile, using your fingers, crumble the tofu into small bits.
- Add the tofu to the skillet, along with the soy sauce. Stir to combine and continue to cook for about 1 minute more.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions before serving.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 355
- Fat: 10.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 57 g
- Fiber: 5.1 g
- Protein: 10 g
Keywords: brown rice, tofu, fried rice, chinese, broccoli