Vegan Fried Rice with Less Oil?

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I love fried rice.  A lot.  Actually, I love pretty much anything that contains rice or can be served over rice, but Chinese takeout still has a soft place in my heart despite the fact that I no longer buy it.  I have fond memories of eating out of those little cardboard cartons on lazy afternoons or hot summer nights when the power went out.  But MSG and I don’t really get along, and since I’ve been moving away from excess salt and oil, I find a lot of pre-prepared foods to be too heavy on both.

That is, of course, the problem with fried rice.  It’s so…fried.  Even recipes for homemade fried rice tend to use rather more oil than I’m comfortable with.  Fortunately for me, Appetite For Reduction takes this into account with “Unfried” Rice.

vegan unfried rice
Fried rice…with only a teaspoon of oil!  I know, it sounded kind of weird to me too, but also a welcome change from the recipe I used to make, which used three tablespoons of oil.  The recipe description bills Unfried Rice as being fresher and lighter, and it’s basically a template that you can add any combination of vegetables to.  I added carrots, peas and nappa cabbage, but broccoli, zucchini, finely chopped bell peppers, mushrooms or anything else you’d customarily put in a stir fry would work just as well!  I also threw in a spoonful of turmeric to give it the classic yellow color.

vegan unfried rice with hoisin tofu
Hoisin-mustard tofu was the suggested accompaniment for the rice.  I’ve had my eye on it for a while, mostly due to the fantastic picture in the middle of the book, so I had no problem whipping that up as well.  The sauce is pretty basic with an option for less spicy or more spicy depending on how many hot pepper flakes you want to throw in.  Being the lover of hot food I am, I went with the spicier version.  It was the perfect complement to the rice, but I would also put it in tortilla wraps, sandwiches or, as the cookbook suggests, lettuce wraps.  Or it’s be great on top of salad!  It’s one of those recipes that would be nice to make on weekends to have around for quick lunches during the week.

Since there was nothing overtly green in either the rice or the tofu recipe, I cooked some kale to round out the meal.  This in and of itself wasn’t a bad thing, but I somehow got the idea in my head to serve everything on a bed of kale.  Not exactly what I was going for.  On the side, kale would have been fine; but it was too basic a flavor to try and mix in with everything else.  If I were to serve this with greens again, I would go with raw Asian greens of some kind.  I can picture the fried rice served cold on a bed of bok choy or an Asian salad mix.  Micro greens would probably work too…I’ve had  a soft spot for pea shoots lately.

The Unfried Rice was a lot lighter than regular fried rice, but just as delicious!  I’ll be making it again in the future whenever I’m craving that takeout-at-home experience…


About the Author:

Sam has been eating a plant-based diet since summer of 2009 and has spent the subsequent years experimenting with all manner of plant-based food. She holds a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and is a graduate of the Bauman College Nutrition Consultant Program. She is a former member of Toastmasters International and was awarded a Competent Communicator designation for public speaking. When she's not blogging or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, play silly card games and knit socks.
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  1. Chef AJ  April 13, 2012

    Now that you have my book, try the Pineapple Unfried Rice with no oil, you will never miss it!

    • Sam  April 13, 2012

      That one is definitely on my list to try! I love pineapple in fried rice dishes…actually, I just plain love pineapple!

      I’ve been reducing or eliminating oil from a lot of my favorite recipes, and you’re right. You don’t miss it at all. I’m starting to wonder why so many “one pot” meals like soup and chili seem to call for oil in the initial steps. Doesn’t make much sense, since it doesn’t affect the taste of the final product!