4 Healthy Fried Rice Recipes That Taste Better Than Takeout

Fried rice is a takeout favorite, but it’s no secret the dish comes with a healthy side of sodium and calories. That makes fried rice a splurge rather than a regular weekday meal, which is kind of a bummer. But we have good news. You can change that by making it healthier at home. Check out these delicious recipes that let you eat fried rice any night of the week.

1. Cauliflower Fried Rice

scoop of fried rice

Fried rice | iStock.com

The first way to give your fried rice a healthy spin is by using cauliflower instead of the grain. Before you shake your head, check out this recipe from The Kitchn. Cauliflower rice is quickly gaining popularity because it can easily take the place of rice to make a dish much lower in calories. For this cauliflower fried rice, you’ll pulse your cauliflower in the food processor before cooking it with ginger, garlic, carrots, corn, and peas. Next, you’ll stir in cooked bacon, eggs, cashews, and soy sauce before it’s time to eat. It’s a quick and healthy meal that still has an indulgent kick thanks to that bit of bacon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • ½ pound thick-sliced bacon, optional
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup cashews, almonds, or other nut
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions: Cut the cauliflower into florets, discarding the tough inner core. Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it breaks down into rice-size pieces. You will have 5 to 6 cups of cauliflower rice.

Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Once cooled, roughly chop into pieces. Drain off all but a teaspoon of bacon grease, reserving extra. Alternatively, use vegetable oil.

Place the pan back over medium-high heat. Whisk the eggs and pour them into the skillet. Quickly scramble the eggs or make an omelet. Transfer the eggs to a cutting board and roughly chop into pieces.

Wipe the skillet clean and warm 1 tablespoon of bacon grease or vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the carrots and sauté until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Stir the corn, peas, and cauliflower “rice” into the pan, mixing the ingredients thoroughly.

Lower the heat to medium, cover the pan, and cook until the cauliflower is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Uncover and stir in the bacon, eggs, green onions, cashews, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Taste and add more soy sauce to taste. Serve immediately.

2. Vegan Fried Rice

Fried rice with tofu | iStock.com

Fried rice with tofu | iStock.com

Our next recipe from Minimalist Baker enlists real rice but makes things healthier by going vegan. This recipe serves 2 as an entrée and only requires 10 ingredients. The best part is a serving boasts 22 grams of protein, and you’ll also get your fair share of fiber, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup long- or short-grain brown rice, rinsed in a mesh strainer until the water runs clear
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped green onion
  • ½ cup peas
  • ½ cup carrots, finely diced
Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, plus more
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar, muscovado sugar, or maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Wrap tofu in a towel and press out the liquid by setting something heavy on top. Set aside for several minutes, then dice into ¼-inch cubes and arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 26 to 30 minutes.

Bring 12 cups of water to a boil in a large pot, then add rinsed rice and stir. Boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Drain well, then return to pot removed from the heat. Cover the rice with a lid and let it steam for 10 minutes.

Add all sauce ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. If needed, adjust seasoning by adding more tamari, peanut butter, brown sugar, or chili-garlic sauce. Add tofu, toss to coat, then let sit for about 5 minutes.

Heat a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan over medium heat, then scoop the tofu into the pan leaving excess sauce behind in the bowl. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove to a plate and reserve.

Add garlic, green onion, peas, and carrots to the same pan. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with tamari or soy sauce. Add rice, tofu, and remaining sauce. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Serve garnished with additional chili-garlic sauce, if desired.

3. Thai Quinoa Fried Rice

scoop of quinoa

Quinoa | iStock.com

Another way you can healthify fried rice is by subbing in quinoa. The grain performs perfectly in the absence of rice and it easily soaks up all the flavor. This recipe from Hummusapien is teeming with protein and fiber thanks to the quinoa and veggies. Go for a meatless dinner with this healthy spin on a tasty takeout meal, and you’ll be completely satisfied.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 cups broccoli slaw
  • 1½ cups sliced bell pepper
  • 1 cup edamame
  • 2 baby bok choy, chopped
Sauce
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Juice of half a large lime
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Optional toppings

  • Sliced green onions
  • Peanuts

Directions: Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a medium pot, reduce heat to low, then simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Use a fork to fluff the quinoa, then set it aside. Meanwhile, stir together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a large pot set over medium heat, then add onion. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, then cook for about 1 minute longer. Add broccoli slaw, peppers, and edamame, then cook for 5 minutes. Add the bok choy to the pan and cook for 2 minutes longer.

Remove from heat and stir in the quinoa and sauce. Adjust seasoning with soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and Sriracha. Garnish with peanuts and green onions, if using. Serve.

4. Farmers’ Market Fried Rice

trimming Brussels sprouts

Trimming Brussels sprouts | iStock.com

This recipe from Eating Well yields a product healthier than your typical fried rice thanks to the use of fiber-rich brown rice along with a handful of vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, parsnips, and tomatoes. It will help you meet your vegetable quota for the day while still letting you splurge on one of your favorite takeout meals.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil, divided
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 cup (¼-inch pieces) peeled and cored parsnips
  • 4 medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 4 cups cold cooked brown rice
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

Directions: Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat. Pour 2 teaspoons of oil into the bottom of the pan, covering it completely. Add beaten eggs and cook as if you’re making an egg pancake. When the pancake is set, flip using a metal spatula and allow it to set for about 5 seconds. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bite-size pieces.

Swirl 1 tablespoon oil into the wok, add garlic and shallots and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add parsnips and Brussels sprouts, reduce the heat to medium-high and stir-fry, cooking for about 2 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add rice, tomatoes and soy sauce and stir-fry, breaking up the rice, until heated through, 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, salt and pepper. Add the egg pieces and toss to combine.