There’s a sushi spot here in Chicago that gives you the option to choose black rice with your roll. The first time I decided to try it, I was blown away by the rice’s slight sweet flavor and chewy texture. At this point, I can’t really enjoy sushi unless it’s made with black rice (which also happens to be known as purple rice or forbidden rice.)
If you haven’t cooked with black rice before, it’s very easy to make and absolutely delicious. I have quite a few recipes that use black rice, including: salmon tacos, thai peanut chicken bowls, and these chile lime salmon bowls. It’s a must-try!
Here’s how this recipe came to fruition: I wanted to use up some black rice that had been lurking in my pantry for a few months, so I decided to make this amazing vegetarian fried rice with pineapple and edamame. It’s a plant-based, healthy take on traditional fried rice and damn is it good! And guess what? It’s vegetarian and gluten free too!
This pineapple fried rice includes Thai flavors and vegetables that were a little more unique than traditional versions of fried rice. In this recipe you’ll find: fresh pineapple (although frozen would also work), soy sauce, chili paste, cilantro, cashews, ginger, garlic, red bell pepper, green onion, red cabbage (such an underrated superfood!), and edamame for a boost of plant-based protein.
What’s the difference between white rice and purple/black rice (or forbidden rice)?
Forbidden rice, also known as black or purple rice is loaded with antioxidants as well as higher amounts of fiber and protein than both white and brown rice. I love cooking with forbidden rice because it adds a nutty, slightly sweet flavor to savory recipes. Use up the rest of your forbidden rice from this recipe in these delicious tacos, and this gorgeous bowl.
How to cook black rice
Add 1 cup of rice and a little coconut oil (or sesame oil) to a medium pot and place over medium heat. Toast rice for 1 minute with the oil to enhance the flavor and texture, then add 2 cups water and salt, and stir. Allow water to come to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover and cook for 45-50 minutes. Do not at any point, lift up the lid. Remove from heat and allow to sit in pan covered for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. The rice should be slightly chewy but still soft.
How to make fried rice at home
Fried rice is very easy to make right at home, and after you make it once, you’ll be addicted. The best part is that you can add a variety of veggies and protein to mix it up. Here are some tips for making vegetarian fried rice at home:
- Use old rice: my advice is to use day old rice for the best texture and to achieve the crispiness you desire. If you want to use fresh rice, you absolutely can, just make sure that it’s sat out for 5 minutes before you cook with it. I like to spread mine on a tray to cool for 5 minutes.
- Use a hot wok or pan: Make sure your pan is nice and hot when you cook your fried rice. This will help to achieve crispiness. Use coconut oil or sesame oil for additional flavor.
- Pre-cook your eggs to speed up the process: fried rice typically doesn’t take a long time so you’ll want to cook your eggs and any protein first. Then set aside and you can toss them in when the fried rice is done.
- Add in additional veggies, sauce or protein. Feel free to change this recipe up and add whatever veggies you have it on hand. You could also add fish sauce, more soy sauce and even extra protein if you feel like you need it.
What to serve vegetarian fried rice with
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Vegetarian Thai Pineapple Forbidden Fried Rice
- For the rice:
- 1 cup uncooked forbidden rice
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil or toasted sesame oil
- 2 cups water
- Pinch of salt
- For the scrambled eggs*
- Nonstick cooking spray (I like avocado oil cooking spray)
- 2 large eggs + 1 tablespoon water
- For the fried rice + veggies:
- 1 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil or coconut oil, divided
- 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cubed pineapple
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped (reserve some for topping)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots (or carrots cut into matchsticks)
- 1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame
- 1 tablespoon chili paste
- 2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos, plus more to taste
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped honey roasted or regular cashews (or peanuts)
- To garnish:
- ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
- Extra green onion/scallions
- honey roasted cashews (use regular roasted cashews if vegan)
To make the forbidden rice: Add rice and coconut oil to a medium pot and place over medium heat. Toast rice for 2 minutes with the oil to enhance the flavor and texture. After 2 minutes, add water and salt and stir. Allow water to come to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover and cook for 45-55 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit in pan covered for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. The rice should be slightly chewy but still soft.
While the rice is cooking, you can chop your veggies and cook your eggs. Add eggs and water to a bowl and beat slightly with a fork. Place a large skillet or wok over medium low heat and spray with a little nonstick cooking spray (alternatively you can use a little oil). Add eggs to the pan and season with a little salt and pepper, scramble and cook eggs until done but still slightly wet. Transfer eggs to a bowl and set aside.
Once rice is done cooking, you can start cooking your veggies. Wipe the same large skillet or wok you used clean with a paper towel, then add in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or sesame oil and place over medium high heat. Add in pineapple, garlic, ginger, green onion and red bell pepper; saute for 4-6 minutes until pineapple starts to caramelize and turn slightly golden brown on the edges.
Next add in the remaining veggies: red cabbage, carrots and edamame. Saute for 3-5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer all of the veggies to a large plate or bowl.
Now it’s time to fry up the rice! Add the remaining ½ tablespoon oil to the same pan and place over medium heat. Add in your cooked rice and cook, stirring frequently for 2-4 minutes.
Add all of your cooked veggies plus the cooked eggs back to the pan. Stir in the the chili paste, soy sauce and honey roasted cashews and cook for a few more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. You may want to add another tablespoon of soy sauce or even some crushed red pepper flakes for a little hint of spice. It’s up to you.
Garnish with additional nuts, cilantro and a little extra green onion. Serves 4.
You can enjoy this pineapple fried rice as is, or if you aren't vegetarian you can serve with salmon, chicken or beef. Feel free to add more edamame too!
If you don't have black rice, feel free to use brown rice or jasmine rice.
To make vegan: leave out the eggs or swap with a plant-based protein like tofu, and use regular roasted cashews instead of honey roasted.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats