Healthy Fried Rice made with brown rice, eggs, and cabbage tastes just like the real thing but only has 130 calories per serving. This tastes as good as any restaurant version but is packed with veggies and good for you.
This Healthy Fried Rice tastes just as good as your favorite take-out version but is so much healthier! Using cooked brown rice, eggs, green onions, cabbage, carrots, and a simple soy sauce mixture you make delicious healthy fried rice at home in less than 10 minutes.
This healthy fried rice will change your mind about making healthy Chinese food and stir-fries. I promise it's possible and it's delicious. This isn’t my first rodeo with fried rice.
We have a bit of a storied past, meaning most times I make it, it turns into a weird, usually soggy, mess. Luckily I have persistence and keep coming back for more and this time I finally figured it out. Here’s the deal with cooking fried rice.
First, the rice needs to be cold and ideally one day old. When rice cools it lets out some of the excess moisture which makes it better for frying. The soggy rice of my past was caused by cooking the rice and then immediately using it to make fried rice.
Secondly, don’t be scared to get your pan really hot. Fried rice should be cooked quickly and constantly stirred to avoid burning.
Finally, cook your eggs first. Even though you’ve seen people put the eggs in with the veggies and rice and somehow still get delicious fried egg pieces, it likely won’t happen for you. You will probably end up with soggy, eggy rice as I have in the past.
That's the secret to delicious fried rice. Add in whatever veggies you like and if you really want an authentic flavor, consider adding in a few dashes of fish sauce.
What You'll Need
Here is everything you need to make this tasty and healthy fried rice.
- Cooked brown rice: Fried rice comes out best with day-old cooked rice. To keep the recipe healthy, use cooked brown rice since it is whole grain and it's a complex carb that will help you to stay full longer. If you are cooking rice from scratch, make sure to let it fully cool first. White rice can also be used.
- Eggs: Eggs are a traditional part of fried rice and add protein and healthy fats. Use egg whites, whole eggs, or a combination of both. For more protein, add chicken, tofu, or edamame.
- Vegetables: My favorite fried rice vegetables are cabbage and carrots. The cabbage adds crunch and texture while the carrots add some sweetness. Green onions add a mild onion flavor to the dish. Feel free to add frozen peas, red bell, pepper, or edamame for more veggie power.
- Garlic and ginger: These two aromatics add tons of flavor to the rice and work best in their fresh form. In a pinch, swap in powdered ginger and garlic but the flavor won't be as pungent.
- Soy sauce: Regular soy sauce, low sodium soy sauce, or coconut aminos can be used. The soy sauce adds salt to this dish and also adds a rich, umami flavor. This flavor is critical to fried rice, just adjust the amount to suit your preferences.
- Sesame oil: To add healthy fats and a nutty flavor, sesame oil is a great addition to fried rice.
How to Make Healthy Fried Rice
Here are the step-by-step instructions to make this easy fried rice at home.
- Start by cooking the eggs in a hot skillet with a touch of vegetable oil. Cooking the eggs first ensures they stay fluffy and don't stick to the rice. Once they are cooked, set them aside.
- Next, it is time to add flavor to the dish with aromatics and vegetables. Cook the garlic, ginger, cabbage, green onions, and carrots in a hot skillet with sesame oil and vegetable oil. Only cook them until they begin to soften since they will continue to cook with the rice.
- Add the previously cooked rice to the pan and press it down into the pan. Leave it in one place for 2-3 minutes so it can begin to brown and toast. Then stir and continue cooking until it is warmed through and toasted in some spots.
- Season the dish with soy sauce and add in the eggs. Taste and add more soy sauce if needed.
Some notes about preparing this Healthy Fried Rice:
- Make sure your rice is cooked and either cold or room temperature if you seek crispy fried rice. Using warm rice adds more moisture to the dish and makes it much more difficult to get a nice, crisp finish on the rice.
- Since I am always trying to use whole grains, I opted for brown rice in the recipe. However, you can use traditional white rice as well if you prefer. Other grains will also work. I have made quinoa fried rice and farro fried rice with great results. It will also work for cauliflower rice if you want a lower-carb option.
- If you don't have time to cook and cool your rice, consider using pre-cooked rice from the freezer section of your grocery store. Cook it for less time than suggested so that it just cooked through and is not hot.
- When it comes to veggies, you can add almost anything. Many fried rice recipes contain peas, so feel free to toss those in as well. To keep things quick and easy, I usually just use a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw mix.
- Want to sweeten things up? Adding some fresh pineapple is delicious in this recipe. It adds a really nice layer of sweetness to the recipe.
- You can add any type of protein to this dish, just make sure it is pre-cooked. Chicken, diced pork, shrimp, and tofu all work great.
What kind of rice is the healthiest option?
Normally I use brown rice in this recipe since it has a higher fiber content than white rice and is more slowly digested. However, any type of rice will work in the recipe.
Can I make this with shrimp? what about pork? chicken?
Consider this your base recipe for healthy chicken fried rice, pork fried rice, or shrimp fried rice. You will want to cook the chicken (or pork, bacon, cubed ham, or shrimp) first in a hot pan with some vegetable oil. To add flavor to the chicken, you can add some ginger and garlic to the oil.
Once the protein has cooked, remove it from the pan, and cook the rice according to the directions included. Add the protein back before adding the egg and soy sauce. Depending on how much protein you use, you may need to add some extra soy sauce so the whole dish is well seasoned.
Can I make this healthy fried rice with cauliflower?
For a low-carb or lighter version, you can make this with cauliflower rice instead of brown rice. Just substitute cooked cauliflower rice for the brown rice in the recipe.
For the best result, make sure to squeeze any excess liquid from the cauliflower rice before using. If possible, cook it a day in advance and use the cold, cooked rice in the recipe.
How can I make healthy fried rice without soy sauce?
Absolutely. Since soy sauce is a critical flavor in fried rice, it is important to replace it with a similar flavor instead of just leaving it out. Many people find that coconut aminos are the closest replacement to soy sauce as containing significantly less sodium and are more natural. If you simply need a gluten-free option, you could look for GF soy sauce, which is now pretty readily available.
What to serve with fried rice?
Although fried rice can be a meal on its own, it is also delicious paired with a yummy Asian-inspired dish. Here are some favorites.
Common Questions about Healthy Fried Rice
Since originally posting this recipe, I have gotten tons of questions. Here are some of the most common.
Most restaurant fried rice is full of calories and fat, so it isn't the best choice for weight loss. Luckily this lightened up fried rice is packed with veggies, brown rice, and uses a minimal amount of oil. This makes it a much better option for anyone looking to lose weight or eat healthier.
Normally egg fried rice is packed with unhealthy calories from tons of cooking oil. However, this healthy version is much better for you and the egg adds protein, vitamins, and nutrients.
Eggs can be a great part of a healthy diet and are a good source of protein as well as tons of nutrients. One thing to watch out for with all fried rice is the sodium level. It can be reduced by using low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos.
Healthy Fried Rice
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- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 5 scallions, chopped
- 2 cups green cabbage, shredded
- 1 carrot, grated
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos for GF)
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- Nutritional Information
* 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.
This recipe works best with day-old, cooked brown or white rice. If using freshly cooked rice, make sure to let it cool fully for best results.
Make sure to let the rice cook and brown on the bottom before stirring to get those browned, crispy bits.
Many people like to add frozen peas or red bell pepper to their fried rice. Just add it to the skillet with the other vegetables.
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