Chicken and Pineapple Fried Rice is a delicious combination of sweet and savory flavors with fresh pineapple, veggies, and aromatics. It’s healthy, easy to make, and makes the perfect lunch or dinner for any occasion!
The first time I made Chicken and Pineapple Fried Rice, I was hooked. The sweet, tropical flavors of the fruit pair beautifully with the bold and savory flavors of the veggies, aromatics, and soy sauce. I love making a big batch at the beginning of the week and storing it in meal prep containers for quick lunches, or serving it for the family for an easy and healthy weeknight dinner.
One of my favorite things about this dish is how versatile it is. It can easily be made vegan by leaving out the chicken and eggs, gluten-free by swapping out the soy sauce for tamari, and even grain-free/paleo by swapping out the brown rice for cauliflower rice. The options are truly endless, so there’s plenty of room for creativity here.
If you’ve never had pineapple fried rice before, the concept may sound a bit strange. However, there’s a reason so many people enjoy grilled pineapple with meat and pineapple on pizza. When it’s cooked, the flavors of this tropical fruit become enhanced and taste even more delicious. For this reason, pineapple is one of the best fruits to pair with savory dishes for a perfectly balanced flavor profile.
After trying out this recipe, I guarantee you’ll be a believer. Whether you’re looking for meal prep recipes for quick and easy weeknight recipes, Pineapple Fried Rice is a perfect choice. Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think! Looking for more Chinese side dishes, try this Chicken Chow Mein or Lo Mein.
Main Ingredients and Easy Swaps
To make this healthy fried rice recipe, you will need the following key ingredients:
- Brown rice: Any kind of rice will work, but I like to use brown rice in this dish. Fried rice comes out the best when the rice is cooked in advance and allowed to fully cool.
- Chicken: You can use chicken breast or thigh, either one will work. You could also use pork, shrimp, or tofu.
- Pineapple: This adds an amazing touch of sweetness to an otherwise savory dish, creating the perfect balance of flavors. Fresh is bets but canned pineapple also works.
- Veggies: I like to use peas, carrots, bell peppers, and onions in this dish. However, this can be made with any combination of vegetables you like or have on hand.
- Aromatics: Minced garlic and ginger add a ton of flavor. Fresh works best, but you can use the dried versions if needed.
- Soy sauce: This is the key to any fried rice dish and packs a delicious umami flavor punch. For a gluten-free swap, you can use tamari instead. Coconut aminos also work but you will likely need more.
Make it Yours! Recipe Ideas
When it comes to fried rice recipes, there are tons of ways you can customize a dish according to your flavor preferences and dietary restrictions. Here are some of my favorite ways to switch up this dish:
- If you can’t find fresh pineapple, you can use canned pineapple. Just make sure not to get the kind packed in syrup, as those variations are loaded with sugar.
- For a show-stopping presentation, try serving the dish in a hollowed-out pineapple. It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!
- Not in the mood for chicken? You can swap it out for shrimp, ham, or tofu instead.
- You can make this dish vegan-friendly by simply leaving out the chicken and eggs.
- For a paleo-friendly and grain-free version, try using cauliflower rice instead of brown rice.
- Looking for a little heat? You can spice up this dish by adding diced chilies or a drizzle of sriracha.
What to Serve With Chicken and Pineapple Fried Rice
While this dish is both delicious and satisfying all on its own, there are a number of side dishes you can pair with it for a family meal or dinner party. Side dishes like egg rolls, soups, and roasted vegetables are usually my go-to choices. If you’re in need of a little inspiration, here are some of my favorite side dishes to pair with fried rice:
- Fresh Spring Rolls
- Baked Egg Rolls
- Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli
- Sesame Chicken
- Firecracker Shrimp
- Hoisin Pork Tenderloin
How to Store This Dish
This dish stores really well, so it’s a fantastic choice for meal prep! I love making a big batch on Sunday and then keeping it in the fridge throughout the week for quick and easy lunches or dinners. When storing leftovers, you will first need to allow your fried rice to cool to room temperature. Once it’s cooled, transfer it to an airtight storage bag or container. Then, you can store fried rice in one of two ways:
- In the fridge for up to 5-7 days.
- In the freezer for up to 6 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked question about this fried rice recipe:
The fried rice dishes you get at restaurants are generally loaded with oils and sodium, making it a fairly unhealthy dish. However, by making fried rice at home we can control exactly what goes into it. This recipe is made with brown rice, vegetables, fruit, and lean protein, making it a perfectly healthy meal when consumed in moderation.
Thai and Chinese fried rice are both made with a base of rice, vegetables, and some type of protein. The main difference between the two is that Thai fried rice is flavored with fish sauce, while Chinese fried rice is flavored with soy sauce.
Absolutely! Fried rice freezes incredibly well and can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to eat it, simply reheat it in a nonstick pan on the stove.
Fried rice can be made with freshly cooked rice but it won't turn out quite as crispy and fried since it has more moisture. Fried rice turns out best when it is made with day-old rice that has had time to cool and spend a night in the fridge. If you are using freshly cooked rice, spread it out on a baking sheet to cool it down quickly and press out any excess moisture.
Chicken and Pineapple Fried Rice
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- 4 tsp coconut oil, divided
- 2 U eggs, beaten
- 2 U green onions, chopped
- 2 U cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 cups pineapple, chopped (fresh or canned)
- 1 U red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (and cooled)
- 1.5 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped
- 2 tbsp raw cashews (more to taste)
- 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce ( plus more as needed)
Cook the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes, until the pineapple begins to caramelize. Add the rice, chicken, and cashews. Stir to combine the ingredients. Press the rice into the bottom of the skillet with the back of a spoon. Cook the rice for 2 to 3 minutes, until it begins to turn brown and crispy. Repeat this step if desired for more crispy rice.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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