Pineapple fried rice is an old favorite take out dish of mine. This vegan version is a little bit healthier than the restaurant version and comes together in less time than it takes a food delivery to get to your doorstep.
What I love about this vegan pineapple fried rice -- and all vegan fried rice, really -- is that you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand to make it. Think of the recipe below as a jumping-off point.
I'll walk you through how to use what you have, so you can make this recipe without a run to the store.
How do you make fried rice from scratch?
Fried rice is a super simple dish to make and a great way to use up leftover, cooked rice. If you don't have leftover rice in the fridge, you do need to cook your rice before frying it.
Fried rice is basically a stir fry where you saute the steamed rice in the pan, rather than serving it over rice that's only steamed. It has a very simple formula:
- Start sauteeing "hard" veggies, like onion, green pepper, garlic, ginger, and carrots first. Cook until they begin to soften.
- Then, add the medium-hard veggies, like mushrooms, zucchini, and broccoli. Cook those until they begin to soften.
- Finally, add the rice along with the soft veggies -- like kale, spinach, and frozen peas or corn --, and cook until the last round of veggies are fully cooked, which should happen very quickly.
You can use the formula above to use any vegetables you want to make your pineapple fried rice. My recipe doesn't have any medium-hard veggies, which conveniently reduces the number of steps. If you do have medium-hard veggies, just add them in between steps one and two.
Which rice is best for fried rice?
You can really use any rice you lik, but some do work better than others. It's more about grain size than white vs. brown rice.
The best rice for fried rice is medium- or long-grain white or brown rice.
That doesn't mean you can't use something shorter/stickier, like sushi rice. You just won't end up with that firm, restaurant fried rice texture. Short-grain or sticky rice will clump together, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
I kind of enjoy soft clumps of rice with a crispy, browned outside. It's just not what you'd get from a take-out order. And that's okay!
Pineapple fried rice (or any fried rice recipe, really) is a great way to use up leftover rice and raid your produce drawer at the same time. You can serve it up as a main dish or as a side.
By all means, don't feel bound by the vegetables listed in the recipe below. You can use any vegetables that you have in the fridge and/or the freezer. This version is delicious, but I encourage you to turn this into a fridge dump dish!
Great vegetables to try in this dish include:
- baby bok choy
- collard greens
- any type of chopped onion
- any type of mushroom
- zucchini or yellow summer squash
- bell pepper
Mixing up the vegetables in this dish is all about timing. See, the section above: How do you make fried rice from scratch? for details on when to add which vegetables to the pan.
You can also add tofu to this dish, if you like. If you want to add tofu, cube or crumble it, then marinate it in three tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce, a teaspoon of rice vinegar, and a teaspoon of garlic powder before you prep the rest of your ingredients, then add it to the pan with the hard veggies or air fry it separately while everything else cooks.
If you do cook your tofu in the pan with the rest of the ingredients, just be sure to stir gently, so the cubes won't break up too much.
That's really it! Do a quick survey of your fridge and freezer, read over the steps below, and make yourself some pineapple fried rice, y'all!
Pineapple fried rice recipe
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 carrots - chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger - or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice - not drained
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups chopped kale - or chopped green vegetable of your choice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- water - if needed
- roasted cashews - optional
- Sriracha sauce - optional
- Heat the oil on medium high in a large skillet or wok, and cook the carrots, garlic, and ginger until the carrots begin to soften. Around 5-7 minutes.
- Add all of your remaining ingredients except the water, cashews, and Sriracha, and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice softens and heats through and the kale turns bright green. If things get dry, add water by the tablespoon to keep everything from sticking.
- Serve topped with cashews and Sriracha sauce.
- This is a great recipe for leftover rice, and don't feel bound by the vegetables listed. You can use any veggies that you have in the fridge and/or the freezer
- This serves 4 people as a side or 2 as an entree. Nutritional information is for a side dish.