You are just 15 minutes away from this easy Vegetable Tofu Fried Rice. Load it up with vegetables of your choice. On the protein front, there is tofu instead of eggs. This recipe is the best way to use any leftover rice. Vegan & Gluten-free.
Rice for dinner is simple, quick and loved by everyone in my family including kids. If you are looking for quick dinner recipes with rice then this veg fried rice will soon be your favorite too.
Coming from an Indian family, rice is a staple in my house. I cook rice in a pressure cooker every single day. My kids love eating curd rice, dal rice, khichdi, pulao, fried rice, biryani on a regular basis for one of the meals.
I make all kinds of rice especially basmati, jasmine and brown rice in my Instant Pot. I am often left with leftover cooked rice. Rice can be boring the second day. Instead of throwing it, I revamp it by making this yummy vegetarian fried rice.
Ingredients to make Vegetable Tofu fried rice –
The ingredient list is very forgiving. This fried rice recipe is pretty much a fridge clean out recipe.
I start with a combination of sesame oil and regular cooking oil.
Sesame oil gives a nutty flavor to the fried rice and tastes so authentic. A little goes a long way.
I add any veggies that need to be used up. Sometimes it is just two vegetables and sometimes more.
Today it is carrots, zucchini, frozen peas, onion, and red cabbage.
Ginger garlic is a must to make fragrant fried rice.
Authentic Chinese fried rice uses eggs. I have made this fried rice without eggs.
So, on the protein front, I have used firm tofu instead. If you consume dairy, swap paneer for tofu.
You may just make vegetable fried rice and serve with a tofu curry.
To add flavor to this rice I use a combination of low sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, sambal olek ( chili sauce), raw sugar or agave, salt and pepper.
Peanut butter is another ingredient that I love to use sometimes to make fried rice especially if it is Thai fried rice. It makes the rice so flavorful just like a restaurant takeout.
I like to top my rice with roasted peanuts or cashews.
How to cook rice in an Instant Pot?
Rinse rice 2-3 times with cold water and drain.
If I have time on hand I let the rice soak in water for at least 20 minutes. It yields light and fluffy rice.
I use 1 part rice : 1.5 part water ratio.
Add rice, water and a pinch of salt to the inner pot of Instant Pot.
Close the lid with the black knob on the sealing position.
Press low pressure 5 minutes.
Once the pot beeps I place a kitchen towel on the black knob and perform a quick release.
Once the silver pin falls down I open the lid.
Take out the inner pot carefully using a dishcloth and place it on a potholder.
This prevents overcooking of rice. Fluff the rice gently with a fork.
Let it completely cool down before making fried rice or use it the next day after chilling it in the fridge.
How to prepare tofu for fried rice?
There are a few ways to do it. Use the one which suits you the best.
I like to use firm or extra firm tofu for quick stir fry or fried rice.
Take off the tofu block from the package.
Now for more chewy dense texture, you have to press the tofu to get rid of excess water.
Place it on a strainer/colander. And top the tofu gently with some weight so that the tofu is pressed down and excess water drains slowly.
You will even need to place the colander on a plate or a tray to collect the dripping water from the tofu.
This weight can be a stack of sturdy bowls or a heavy pan. Press it down for at least 10 minutes for firm tofu and 15 minutes for medium tofu.
You can simply add tofu after the veggies are cooked in the sauce, cover and let it steam for a minute so that it soaks up the sauce and the flavor.
Marinate tofu in sauces and pan-fry them until golden brown or each side. Toss it with rice towards the end.
Deep fry the tofu and add to the fried rice.
Step by step making of Vegetable Tofu fried rice –
Start by pressing the tofu for 10 minutes as mentioned above to take out excess water if you prefer so.
Chop desired vegetables.
Whisk up the ingredients for sauces in one bowl and have it ready to go.
Heat oil in a pan or a wok.
Fried rice is made on high heat.
I suggest making it somewhere between medium and high heat.
I cook it at number 8.
Once warm add in onions and cook until translucent. Add in ginger garlic and saute until golden brown.
Now add in the veggies.
Tough vegetables like carrots go first. It will take around 2 minutes for it to cook.
Followed by zucchini, cabbage, peppers that take a minute to cook.
Throw in the cubed tofu and give it a gentle stir to coat the tofu.
Add in the rice and mix well. Cook for a minute .
Taste it with a spoon and adjust the seasoning if needed. The sauces contain enough sodium so add it towards the end after tasting.
If you need extra spicy fried rice you may add in more hot sauce. Serve hot.
I like to keep it mild as my son loves this fried rice. We add in sauces later at the dinner table if needed.
Possible Substitutions that works to make fried rice –
This Fried Rice recipe is highly customizable.
What vegetables to use for fried rice?
You can add any vegetables of your choice to make fried rice.
Carrots, onions, beans, bell peppers, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, zucchini, peas, mushrooms, bean sprout, cabbage are my favorites.
Canned vegetables like baby corn, water chestnut, and bamboo shoots are great in fried rice.
What protein to add in fried rice instead of eggs?
Firm Tofu is a great choice.
You can add it cubed or scrambled.
If you consume dairy then Paneer is a good option.
Which rice is best for fried rice?
Basmati or Jasmine rice is my choice to make this vegetable tofu fried rice.
Brown rice works well too.
Do you boil rice before frying it?
Yes, you need to cook rice before making the actual fried rice.
Cook it al dente and not soft because it continues to cook while making fried rice.
Can you make fried rice without rice?
Yes, if you are on a low carb or keto diet then use cauliflower rice instead to make this Vegan Fried Rice.
Swap quinoa for rice for a healthier recipe.
Expert tips on making the best Vegan Fried Rice-
- Always use completely cooled rice preferably chilled in the fridge or a bowl of day-old rice.
- Do not overcook the vegetables.
- Always make fried rice or a stir fry between medium to high heat. I make it on number 8.
- Use some Sesame or Peanut oil for authentic tasting Asian Fried Rice.
- Use less oil as sauces will make up for it.
- The Asian sauces like soy and chili sauce have enough sodium, add salt to the recipe if needed towards the end after tasting.
- Use firm or extra-firm tofu. Silken tofu will turn into a mush.
What pairs well with Vegan Fried Rice –
If you are having a party then these Pad Thai style Tofu Satay and Bulgar Wheat rainbow Salad with Thai Mango Dressing make a great starter.
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How to make Vegetable Tofu Fried Rice under 15 minutes –
Vegetable Tofu Fried Rice (Just 15 minutes)
- 3 cups cooked rice i.e leftover or cold rice of choice.
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 teaspoons Sesame oil
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 5-6 garlic minced OR 1 tablespoon paste
- 2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 carrot cubed
- 1 zucchini cubed
- 2 cups red cabbage
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 1 package extra firm tofu pressed & cubed
To whisk in for the Sauce mixture
- 3 tablespoons low sodium Soy sauce OR tamari
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar OR lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sambal olek OR any hot chili sauce of choice
- 2 teaspoons sugar or agave
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter optional
- Couple twists of pepper
- Salt not needed add only after tasting the rice
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts optional
- Start by pressing the tofu for 10 minutes as mentioned above to take out excess water if you prefer so.
- Chop desired vegetables into small cubes.
- Whisk up the ingredients for sauces in one bowl and have it ready to go.
- Heat both oils in a pan or a wok.
- Fried rice is made on high heat.
- I suggest making it somewhere between medium and high heat.
- I cook it at number 8.
- Once warm add in onions and cook until translucent. Add in ginger garlic and saute until golden brown.
- Now add in the veggies.
- Tough vegetables like carrots go first. It will take around 2 minutes for it to cook.
- Add in the whisked sauce mixture.
- Followed by zucchini, cabbage, and peas that take a minute to cook.
- Throw in the cubed tofu and give it a gentle stir to coat the tofu.
- Cook it for 30 seconds.
- Add in the rice and mix well. Cook covered for a minute.
- Taste it with a spoon and adjust the seasoning if needed. The sauces contain enough sodium so add it towards the end after tasting.
- Top it with roasted peanuts and serve hot.
Expert tips on making the best Vegan Fried Rice-• Always use completely cooled rice preferably chilled in the fridge or a bowl of day-old rice. • Do not overcook the vegetables. • Always make fried rice or a stir fry between medium to high heat. I make it on number 8. • Use some Sesame or Peanut oil for authentic tasting Asian Fried Rice. • The Asian sauces like soy and chili sauce have enough sodium, add salt to the recipe if needed towards the end after tasting. • Use firm or extra-firm tofu. Silken tofu will turn into a mush.
Possible Substitutions that works to make fried rice -This Fried Rice recipe is highly customizable. What vegetables to use for fried rice?
- You can add any vegetables of your choice to make fried rice.
- Carrots, onions, beans, bell peppers, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, zucchini, peas, mushrooms, bean sprout, cabbage are my favorites.
- Canned vegetables like baby corn, water chestnut, and bamboo shoots are great in fried rice.
How to store leftover fried rice?Leftovers make a great lunch for the next day. Just store it in an airtight container for up to 2 days.