This takeout style vegan fried rice recipe is easy to make and comes together in 30 minutes! It’s a great way to use up leftover rice, and can be made with frozen vegetables and any protein you like. The tofu “egg” replaces the scrambled eggs in traditional fried rice.
Whenever we ordered Chinese takeout when I was growing up, I always got the chicken fried rice. Nothing else, ever. Makes sense—it’s not too complex for a child’s palate, but still has some flavor from the soy sauce and vibrant diced veggies.
Thankfully I expanded my takeout order choices as time went on, but there’s still something comforting about basic fried rice. I tend not to order it at restaurants much anymore because it’s so easy to make at home. If you have some leftover rice and some add ins, you can make it too.
I love this fried rice recipe because it’s so versatile. You can use any veggies you like, and it’ll come out great every time.
The flavors are simple, but pack a punch. The soy sauce brings the base flavor while the toasted sesame oil adds some complexity. It also coats each grain of rice to give it that oily takeout feel without actually using a ton of oil.
It’s a good idea to get all of your ingredients prepped and chopped before you start cooking. This recipe moves very quickly, so it’s helpful to have everything by your side and ready to grab. Here’s what you’ll need…
- Leftover rice
- A protein like seitan, “chicken” strips, or tofu
- Tofu for the scrambled “egg”
- Soy sauce, spices, and seasoning
The tofu “egg”
One of my favorite parts of ordering fried rice at Chinese restaurants was the little scrambled egg bits. Before I was vegan, of course. You can make a vegan scrambled egg for the rice with tofu to mimic the egg.
Black Salt or Kala Namak
The black salt is a key ingredient for the tofu “egg”. Black salt or kala namak is actually pink in color, and is a common ingredient in Indian and other South Asian cooking.
It has a pungent sulfur odor (yum) and when used sparingly, it can add an “eggy” flavor to dishes. This makes it popular in tofu scramble and other vegan egg dishes. Be careful not to add too much, or spill it because that smell will linger.
Now that I’ve sold you on black salt based on smell alone… I recommend picking it up at an Indian grocery store where it will only set you back a few bucks. One bag will last you forever and when stored properly, never goes bad because it’s salt. As you can see, mine is starting to clump up a bit due to humidity in the air. But it’s still fine.
If you don’t have access to international shops and can’t find it at the supermarket, you can order it online.
I used chickwheat shreds in my rice. Chickwheat is a type of seitan created by Avocados and Ales. It’s made with chickpeas and vital wheat gluten (hence the name “chickwheat”). It has the perfect shredded texture for mimicking chicken in this fried rice and other stir fry dishes.
You can use any protein you’d like such as traditional sliced seitan, or store bought vegan “chicken” strips. If you’re gluten free, you could use marinated tofu or tempeh.
For tofu, I’d recommend marinating it first. You can follow the tofu prep and marinating instructions in my Takeout Style Kung Pao Tofu recipe. Keep in mind that the recipe also includes tofu scrambled egg. But if you want to include tofu two ways, the world is your vegan oyster!
The classic vegetable fried rice veggies are finely diced onion, carrot, celery, and peas. But the beauty of these “kitchen sink” type of dishes is that you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. Want to swap out the carrots for broccoli, chopped green onion, or diced red bell pepper? Be my guest.
I used a mix of fresh and frozen veggies, but you can do all fresh, all frozen, or even canned veggies. You can also buy “fried rice mix” precut frozen veggies at most supermarkets so you can skip the chopping step.
Getting the rice just right
You can use any type of rice you have as long as it’s leftover, ideally day old cold rice. Freshly-cooked rice has too much moisture in it and will turn to mush when you attempt to pan fry it. Leftover rice will have had a chance to dry out a bit in the fridge. The grains will easily separate and develop the chewy texture associated with fried rice.
The go-to rice is plain ol’ long grain white rice, but most types of rice will be fine to use. Thai jasmine rice will add an underlying floral flavor that will pair nicely with the umami soy sauce. Brown rice will make the fried rice extra chewy.
I would advise against using short grain rice or sticky rice. The rice will, believe it or not, stick together and be mushy when you add the rice to the pan. Short grain rice may also be labeled sushi rice or calrose rice. Save those kinds for sushi or rice balls.
For the most part, soy sauce is what makes fried rice brown and what gives it its flavor. Restaurants may also be adding fish sauce or oyster sauce, but we’re skipping those.
The recipe calls for 1/4-1/3 cup soy sauce, which is kind of a lot, but necessary for the dish. I would recommend using regular table soy sauce. The super concentrated kinds at Asian markets will be too strong in flavor.
Soy sauce is a sodium bomb in general though. If you want to cut back on the salt content, you could dilute your soy sauce a bit with with water. Alternatively, use low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos.
Toasted sesame oil
I love toasted sesame oil so so much. It automatically amps up the flavor of any Asian inspired dish. Make sure not to skip this ingredient, and make sure to use toasted sesame oil. The untoasted kind will be no different than your average vegetable oil and bring nothing but blandness.
Ta da! This dish is best served immediately after cooking. It goes great with a glass of wine and a movie or your favorite TV show.
Vegan Fried Rice with Tofu “Egg"
- 1/2 lb medium firm tofu (1/2 block)
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric for color
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 pinch kala namak (black salt)
- Squeeze of fresh lemon or splash of apple cider vinegar
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
Rice and veggies
- 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil divided
- 1 1/2 cups seitan
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 3/4 cup carrot diced
- 3/4 cup celery diced
- 3/4 cup frozen peas
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil or to taste
- 4 cups leftover cooked rice
- 1/4-1/3 cup soy sauce low-sodium soy sauce recommended, or tamari for gluten free
For the tofu "egg"
- Crumble the tofu in bowl, then add the turmeric, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, kala namak, and lemon or vinegar.
- Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To prepare the fried rice
- Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil to a wok or cast iron pan over medium high heat.
- Add the seitan and stir fry until browned, 4-5 minutes, then transfer to a plate or bowl and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, then add the diced onion and stir fry for 3-4 minutes, until soft and golden.
- Add the carrots, celery, and peas, and continue stir frying until the vegetables are tender.
- Push the veggies to the side of the wok or pan, creating space in the center.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the center of the pan, then add the tofu.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring every so often, until cooked and a bit golden on all sides.
- Push everything to the side again and pour the sesame oil in the pan.
- Spoon the rice into the pan.
- Evenly pour the soy sauce over the rice, and begin stirring to coat the rice.
- Add the cooked seitan back into the pan.
- Continue stirring until the soy sauce is evenly distributed, and the rice is heated thoroughly, 4-5 minutes.
- Add more soy sauce and sesame oil to taste, if desired, then serve immediately.
- You can use any kind of rice for this dish, such as white rice, brown rice, or jasmine rice.
- Make sure to use leftover rice that is slightly dried out. Fresh rice will make the dish mushy.
- Kala namak or black salt is a type of salt with a pungent sulfur odor. It's used in Indian cooking, and vegan dishes to impart an "eggy" flavor. It's pink in color and you can find it at Indian markets or online.
- You can replace the seitan with any kind of protein like marinated tofu or tempeh if you'd prefer. You can use the marinated tofu recipe from my Kung Pao Tofu.
🥡 More takeout style dishes
Skip the delivery and load up your plate with these other Asian inspired dishes. Make an evening of it with your family or friends!
This Kung Pao tofu is marinated in a soy sesame garlic marinade and pan fried until crispy. It’s stir fried with onions, bell peppers, chilis, and peanuts.
This vegan wonton soup or potsticker soup is warm and comforting, and can be made in one pot in 10 minutes. The soup has a flavorful ginger sesame garlic broth.