Vegan pineapple fried rice is a savory-sweet side dish packed with pineapple and veggies and topped with crunchy cashews!
Pineapple fried rice is an old favorite take out dish of mine. This homemade, 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.
Ingredients and substitutions
- toasted sesame oil - To fry the rice and vegetables. You can use other oils, if you prefer. Toasted sesame oil does give this dish a lovely flavor, though!
- carrots - Crunchy carrots are a fried rice stable and pair so well with pineapple!
- garlic and ginger - These aromatics add a ton of flavor.
- crushed pineapple in juice - Using crushed pineapple and the juice from the can gives vegan pineapple fried rice its sweet flavor!
- cooked rice - Use white or brown, medium- or long-grain rice of your choice.
- frozen peas - Sweet peas are a fried rice staple. You can omit, though, if you like.
- chopped kale - Feel free to use the same amount of your leafy green of choice, like spinach, bok choy, etc.
- soy sauce - Adds salt and umami. Low-sodium is fine.
- rice vinegar - Adds more sweetness and a lovely tang! Seasoned rice vinegar is also fine.
- roasted cashews - For protein and crunch. You can omit or use peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, etc, if you don't have or don't want to use cashews.
- sriracha - A little sweet heat to finish this dish brings out all of the flavors! You can omit, if you don't want any spiciness.
How to make vegan pineapple fried rice
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 five to seven minutes.
Add all of your remaining ingredients except the water, cashews, and Sriracha, to the pan.
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.
- Leftover rice is drier than freshly-cooked, so you may need to add water to the pan while frying the rice. Add by the tablespoon, as needed, to prevent sticking.
Serving and storage directions
You can serve vegan pineapple fried rice as an entree or as a side dish. As a side, I like to pair it with panko tofu or air fryer tofu. It's also great with teriyaki tofu, if you want to double down on that sweet flavor profile!
Frequently asked questions
You can really use any rice you like, 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!
More rice recipes
Vegan 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.