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Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice

Packed with veggies, this Chinese vegetable fried rice is healthier and tastier than the restaurant take-out version. A great way to use up leftover rice and whatever veggies you have hanging around in the fridge.

We all recognize restaurant Chinese vegetable fried rice with those few little carrot and pea bits buried in a mountain of rice. Tastes good, yes, but the vegetable part is underwhelming to say the least.

This recipe goes a long way toward a better balancing act with 5 cups of chopped vegetables in 3 cups of cooked rice.

I keep the flavors simple with just soy, sesame oil and garlic. You can certainly vary the seasonings, though, with the suggestions below.

I often make extra rice to have leftovers for this dish. It freezes perfectly in a sealed container of zipper bag. And I love rummaging through the fridge to see what [wilting] vegetables I can throw in.

Chinese vegetable fried rice is endlessly versatile. So quick and easy and better than take-out.

Ways to serve Chinese vegetable fried rice

If I’m going for a simple one-dish main meal, I add crumbled tofu (as seen in the pictures) or chicken, beef, shrimp or pork.

And if I’m doing a Chinese dinner theme, I serve it with one or more of these recipes.

Rice tips

Which rice is best to use? Any long or medium grain rice will do fine. I like Basmati or Jasmine the best. Here’s a good article on types of rice and their uses by Bon Appetit.

Tip: It is best to use cold or leftover rice. Fresh hot rice will make your Chinese vegetable fried rice mushy. If you are making fresh rice, you can cool it down quickly by spreading it out on a pan in a single layer and putting it in the freezer for 5 minutes. 

Tailor To Your Taste

Where to start? There are so many variations for this recipe. Here’s a few.

Vegetables

  • peppers, mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, boy choy, cabbage, bean sprouts, peas, corn, green onion, edamame, snap peas, cauliflower, spinach – and anything else you like. 

Seasonings

  • Keep it simple with garlic, soy and sesame oil (a MUST).
  • Or kick it up by adding one or more of these: rice wine, BBQ sauce or oyster sauce. As weird as it sounds, I actually add a tablespoon of BBQ sauce sometimes to add depth (the rice won’t taste like BBQ sauce). 
  • Add sriracha or red chili flakes for heat if you like. 

Rice

  • Use long grain, Jasmine or Basmati rice. 
  • Or substitute rice with cooked quinoa. 

Proteins

  • Add egg, tofu, chicken, beef, pork, ham, sausage, shrimp

Ingredient amounts to use

  • The recipe below is a guideline.
  • There is no problem using more veggies, less rice, more rice, more sesame oil, more soy, no eggs, more eggs, etc.
  • The trick is tasting and adjusting to the way you like your fried rice. Or adding the ingredients that will achieve the nutritional content you are targeting. 

Shortcuts

  • Frozen vegetables – If you don’t feel like chopping or need extra vegetables, you can add frozen vegetables (no need to defrost). 
  • Chop veggies in processor – Pulse veggies a couple of times in a food processor instead of chopping them by hand. You’re aiming for 1/4-1/2 inch (~1 cm). You might need to do this in two batches. 
  • Garlic – as always, feel free to use frozen cubes of garlic or minced/chopped garlic in a jar. 
  • Rice – use leftover rice from your last takeout (rice freezes perfectly) or buy cooked rice from a restaurant or grocery store freezer section.

Make Ahead

There are 3 options for make-ahead Chinese vegetable fried rice. 

  1. Advance prep: I do this one often. Earlier in the day or even a day or two ahead, chop all your veggies and store them in the fridge in a sealed container or bag. And cook the rice ahead. 
  2. Day ahead for rewarming: Make the full recipe, keep it in the fridge, then warm it on the stovetop or microwave. Add a few tablespoons of water or broth so the rice doesn’t dry out. 
  3. Freeze it: Place the finished rice dish in a casserole dish or zipper bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat (with a few tablespoon of water), covered in the 350F oven for about 30 minutes. Or in the microwave for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice in between. 

 

chopped boy choy, green onion, peppers, celery, cauliflower, eggs, cooked rice

Ingredients: 4-5 cups of chopped vegetables of your choice, 2 eggs, cold cooked rice (plus soy and sesame oil – and other optional add-ins – not shown).

eggs frying in pan

Fry eggs in pan, breaking up with spatula into small pieces. Set aside.

veggies frying in pan
Fry chopped veggies in pan until tender. Stir in garlic for 30 seconds. Set aside with eggs.

rice frying in pan

Fry rice in pan for several minutes until soft and heated through.

Chinese vegetable fried rice in a pan

Add cooked veggies and eggs, chopped baby spinach (if using) and tofu (if using). Stir to combine. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and salt as needed.

Chinese vegetable fried rice in a bowl 2

Garnish with additional chopped green onions if desired and serve.

bowl of Chinese vegetable fried rice p

Chinese vegetable fried rice in a bowl
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5 from 11 votes

Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice

Packed with veggies, this Chinese vegetable fried rice is healthier and more delicious than the restaurant take-out version. A great way to use up leftover rice and whatever veggies you have hanging around in the fridge.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 (or 6 if adding extras)
Author: Cheryl, Two Kooks In The Kitchen

Ingredients

main ingredients (see Note 2 for shortcuts)

  • 2 tablespoon oil, divided canola, peanut, vegetable
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 cups (600g) chopped vegetables, Note 1
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 3 cups (525g) cold, cooked white rice (long grain, Basmati, Jasmine)
  • 2 cups (60 g) fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped, optional

seasonings

  • 2 tablespoon (30 ml) soy sauce (or more to taste) light is fine
  • 2 teaspoon (15 ml) toasted sesame oil (or more to taste)
  • Optional seasonings- Note 2

add-ins (optional)

  • 1 cup (8 oz, 248 g) crumbled or cubed tofu
  • 2 cups (280 g) chopped, cooked meat e.g. chicken, pork, beef, ham, sausage
  • additional chopped green onions

Instructions

  • FRY EGGS: Heat a non stick large skillet or wok to medium high. Add 1 tsp oil. Crack in two eggs and use a spatula or wooden spoon to flatten it out and stir it around. Break into small pieces as it cooks for 1 minute. Set aside in a medium bowl.
  • FRY VEGGIES: In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp oil on medium high. Add chopped veggies. Stir fry for 6-10 minutes just until tender. The time will depend on how small you cut the veggies. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Set aside with eggs in bowl.
  • FRY RICE: Heat remaining oil to pan (about 1 tbsp). Add cold rice and stir around for 3-4 minutes until softened and warmed through.
  • PULL IT ALL TOGETHER FOR THE FINISH: Add eggs, veggies, baby spinach and seasonings to rice (and any other extras you like). Stir to combine and warm through for 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Here's where I often add a tbsp BBQ or oyster sauce). Garnish with chopped green onions if desired and serve straight from the pan or in a serving bowl.

Notes

  1. Vegetables: Almost anything will do. Good options are peppers, mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, boy choy, cabbage, bean sprouts, peas, corn, green beans, green onion, edamame, snap peas, cauliflower, spinach.  
  2. Shortcuts
    • Frozen vegetables - If you don't feel like chopping or need extra vegetables, you can add frozen vegetables (no need to defrost). 
    • Chop veggies in processor - Pulse veggies a couple of times in a food processor instead of chopping them by hand. You're aiming for 1/4-1/2 inch (~1 cm). You might need to do this in two batches. 
    • Garlic - use frozen cubes of garlic or minced/chopped garlic in a jar. 
    • Rice - use leftover rice from your last takeout (rice freezes perfectly) or buy cooked rice from a restaurant or grocery store freezer section.
  3. Optional extra seasonings: 1 tbsp or more oyster sauce, 1 tsp or more sriracha (for heat), 1 tbsp BBQ sauce, 2 tsp rice wine or mirin, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Make it your own: There is no problem using more veggies, less rice, more rice, more sesame oil, more soy, no eggs, more eggs, etc. The trick is tasting and adjusting to the way you like your fried rice. Or adding the ingredients that will achieve the nutritional content you are targeting. 
  5. Make ahead (3 options): 
    1. Advance prep: I do this one often. Earlier in the day or even a day or two ahead, chop all your veggies and store them in the fridge in a sealed container or bag. And cook the rice ahead. 
    2. Day ahead for rewarming: Make the full recipe, keep it in the fridge, then warm it on the stovetop or microwave. Add a few tablespoons of water or broth so the rice doesn't dry out. 
    3. Freeze it: Place the finished rice dish in a casserole dish or zipper bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat (with a few tablespoon of water), covered in the 350F oven for about 30 minutes. Or in the microwave for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice in between. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates and do not include optional extras. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 395 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 82mg27%
Sodium 634mg28%
Potassium 577mg16%
Carbohydrates 60g20%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 10827IU217%
Vitamin C 25mg30%
Calcium 92mg9%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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