Healthier Veggie Fried Rice
I love a good bit of Asian food. I’m a sucker for anything doused with soy sauce and rice. But the amount of oil and salt and otherwise unhealthiness in your standard fried rice can be a bit excessive (and leave you with an upset stomach and greasy face).
I’ve been working on a healthier version of fried rice filled with delicious veggies and fresh herbs from the garden. This recipe is just a base. You can adjust the veggies for whatever’s in season or whatever you prefer. Same with the herbs. I love a bit of fresh bright mint in this one but it would also be delicious with some basil or thyme. The beauty of cooking, unlike baking, is that it’s more of an art than a science. Little can’t be adjusted or rectified or otherwise ‘fixed’ with simply swapping out ingredients, seasonings and sauces.
Little ones may turn their noses up at something like this, especially if they’re not used to it. My trick: asking them to take a big bite and then tell me what they taste. It becomes a contest to see who can name the most correct ingredients in the meal (and a trick to get them to keep eating more). It’s not the taste they don’t like, it’s the newness. But once they get over the initial hurdle of “I don’t like it” (you know, that whine they make before they’ve even taken a bite?), they’ll suddenly be asking for more!
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 summer squash, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 inches of fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 box of tofu, cubed
3 large eggs (skip for vegan meal)
3 radishes, sliced thinly
a few large glug of sesame oil (or other vegetable oil)
a few sprigs of fresh mint
salt + pepper to taste
In a medium pot, place 2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups rice in the pot and turn the burner on high. When boiling, cover and lower to simmer. Cook until all of the water has been absorbed.
In a large skillet or wok on medium-high heat, heat a glug of sesame oil and add shallots, garlic and ginger. Season with salt + pepper and stir frequently. Once fragrant and slightly browned, add the tofu to the pan. Let the tofu sit untouched for a few minutes to get browned on one side then flip. Then add the squash and bell pepper. Season with salt + pepper. Lower the heat to medium and cook until soft and slightly browned.
Once the rice has cooked, heat a large pan or wok with a glug of oil on medium-high. Toss in the rice and press in to the pan with a wooden spoon or rubber scraper. Let sit for at least 5 minutes so the bottom gets a little crusty and ‘fried’. Mix and repeat. Once the rice has fried a bit, use a wooden spoon to push the rice to one side of the pan. Add a little more oil to the empty side and crack your eggs (if using) in to the pan. Scramble the eggs and season with salt + pepper. Once cooked but still slightly soft, mix the eggs in with the fried rice.
Put everything in a large bowl together and mix. Top with fresh chopped mint and radish slices.