This easy vegan cauliflower fried rice is the best of both worlds as it combines both cauliflower and rice for the perfect filling meal. A great way to add in more vegetables in a delicious way.
I’ve loved fried rice ever since I was young. It’s such a simple meal that provides a means of using up leftovers and making veggies more enjoyable. The best part, this vegan cauliflower fried rice uses simple and cheap ingredients to keep it budget friendly while still managing to have great flavor.
One thing that I made sure to do with this dish was do a combo of both the cauliflower rice and regular rice instead of favoring one or the other. I did this because I find there is benefit for both methods and it’s really tasty and filling this way. I have some tips below for those that want to do one or the other based on preference.
- Cauliflower: Cut finely into a rice shape using a food processor.
- Rice: You can use brown or white rice, just make sure it is cold/leftover rice as this “fries” the best.
- Vegetables: You can use the vegetables that you enjoy most.
- Plant Protein: I love this mix using mashed chickpeas or tofu scramble.
- Aromatics: For the most flavorful rice, add in some fresh minced garlic, ginger and onion.
How to Make Vegan Cauliflower Fried Rice
Start by sautéing your onions and chickpeas with some oil until onions have softened.
Stir in your cauliflower and pepper along with additional oil and sauté for a minute to help cook the cauliflower. Add in your garlic and ginger and continue to sauté until fragrant.
Now, stir in your cold rice along with your soy sauce, garlic chili sauce and spice. Make sure to continuously stir until rice is well coated and glossy. Season to taste and serve.
Tips for Making the Best Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Use cold/leftover rice. You want to use this style of rice because it tends to firm up as it refrigerates and has an easier time separating the grains as it cooks, which helps prevent clumping and reduces the chance of your rice becoming mushy.
- Make sure to use a higher heat. Having a higher heat will make sure that your rice toasts appropriately, which will help prevent if from getting mushy.
- Avoid cooking all your ingredients at once. There is a reason we are layering each ingredient in and that has to do with the moisture of each ingredient. Making sure we give each ingredient it’s own time to heat up and sauté will prevent the ingredients from releasing too much water at once.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fried rice normally needs oil to first help make the aromatic ingredients infuse their flavor better into the dish, and second, to help crisp up the rice and prevent it from getting mushy. You can make oil free fried rice. What I would recommend is to make sure you are using a non-stick pan that can handle higher heat or that can retain heat very well to maintain a non-stick surface.
You do not need a food processor to make cauliflower rice. Technically, you can cut your cauliflower florets and then with a chef’s knife, go ahead and finely mince your cauliflower. It will take longer to do, but it will help to reduce the amount of dishes you’ll need to do at the end. If you are pressed for time, you can also go ahead and purchase cauliflower rice. Normally you can see versions of it in the produce section of your grocery store near the bags of cauliflower and broccoli florets. Or, you can find some in your freezer section as well.
Add it if you want to. My goal as a dietitian is to help increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat. Variety and diversity is good for our gut health as it gives your gut exposure to different plant matter, fibers, and antioxidants. It also helps to bulk up your meal and make it more satisfying.
Add Ins and Swaps
- Plant Protein: Instead of chickpeas you can always add in some tempeh or tofu scramble. Add the tempeh at the same time that you would have added the chickpeas. If using tofu scramble, prep that in advance and add it in at the end to heat through. Edamame is also a great option to try.
- Cauliflower: You can omit and increase the amount of rice used if desired. Or, if you want you can always add some additional vegetables like broccoli instead as small florets.
- Chinese Five Spice: Totally optional, but if you happen to have this savory sweet spice, it compliments really well with the ginger. You can replace by tasting your rice and see if it needs a little balance of sweet. I normally will just add a teaspoon of maple syrup or agave to help balance all the flavor notes.
You can make this rice in advance and I absolutely love it as meal prep for the week too since it does have the protein in there thanks to the chickpeas. Allow your rice to cool and then store in an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
What to Serve Your Fried Rice With
I love serving my leftovers in a bento for lunch prep. I’ll either have the fried rice on it’s own or serve with extra protein like pan fried tempeh. I also love having a little sweet component to serve on the side, so I’ll prep some diced fruit as a salad along with some cashew yogurt and a handful of pepitas. Lot’s of fiber, protein, grains, veggies and fruit for a complete and satisfying meal.
More Lunch Recipes to Try
- Tahini Ranch Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Vegan Pesto Pinwheels
- Buffalo Cauliflower Chickpea Wrap
- Lemon Tahini Quinoa Salad
This easy vegan cauliflower fried rice is the best of both worlds as it combines both cauliflower and rice for the perfect filling meal.
- 1 tbsp neutral oil of choice (I used avocado oil)
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- 1 cup chickpeas (optional)
- 1 cup cauliflower rice
- 1/2 bell pepper, diced
- 2–3 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger, finely minced or grated
- 2 cups cold/leftover white rice
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce or more to taste
- 1 tsp garlic chili sauce (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pan or wok, warm up half your oil to medium high heat and add in onions and chickpeas. Sauté in pan with a pinch of salt and until the onions have started to soften.
- Add in remaining oil then add in riced cauliflower and pepper and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and ginger sautéing again until fragrant. As a note, you may wish to add a little more oil or a splash of water if you notice anything sticking.
- Add in cold rice and then drizzle on your soy sauce, garlic chili sauce and spice.
- Continue to sauté until everything is coated and rice has absorbed the sauces and looks glossy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Use cold/leftover rice. You want to use this style of rice because it tends to firm up as it refrigerates and has an easier time separating the grains as it cooks, which helps prevent clumping and reduces the chance of your rice becoming mushy.
Make sure to use a higher heat. Having a higher heat will make sure that your rice toasts appropriately, which will help prevent if from getting mushy.
Avoid cooking all your ingredients at once. There is a reason we are layering each ingredient in and that has to do with the moisture of each ingredient. Making sure we give each ingredient it’s own time to heat up and sauté will prevent the ingredients from releasing too much water at once.
Keywords: vegetable fried rice, vegan fried rice, cauliflower fried rice, vegan cauliflower fried rice
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