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Tasty Words: Try vegetable fried rice for an easy, at-home ‘take-out’ meal

Photo courtesy of Lauren Kudlawiec / The use of brown rice gives this meal the “fried rice” look.

One of the joys of life that ties my husband and me together is definitely food. I love to cook and he loves to eat.

We also enjoy sampling new foods and visiting local restaurants wherever we go. Although our opportunities to embark on food excursions now is limited with our growing family, we still make time to venture out for special occasions, like our recent seventh wedding anniversary.

Good sushi and hibachi has been a mainstay choice throughout our years together, and we chose Aki in Altoona to celebrate our day this year. I love the contrast in flavor between each course you receive and the exciting displays the chef puts on at your table, ranging from rings of fire to flying shrimp.

My hands-down favorite part of the meal is the fried rice. That buttery, vegetable-flecked side dish makes my mouth water until it hits my plate. I love the rest of the meal too, but there is just something special about the rice.

While I would love to eat hibachi more often, I’ve found myself making my own version at home more often, probably at least once a month. The use of brown rice gives it the “fried” look, and the other common ingredients give it the fried taste.

This recipe is a vegetarian version, but if you have leftover chicken or pork on hand, dice it up and add it to the pan with the rice.

Happy seven years to my hubby, and happy fried rice making to all of you!

Vegetable Fried Rice

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4, 2 cups per serving

2 cups uncooked instant brown rice

1 3/4 cup low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

4 eggs, beaten

Salt and black pepper to season

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon hot sauce, optional

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, optional for garnish

Cook the brown rice according to package directions, but use the chicken broth instead of water. Keep lid on and set aside until ready to use in the recipe.

In a large skillet, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and carrots and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and add in the beaten eggs. Season with salt and black pepper as they cook. Push the eggs around with a spatula to fully cook, then stir into the vegetables. Add cooked brown rice and stir to combine. Stir in the soy sauce, butter, hot sauce and peas. Cook until peas are heated through and the whole mixture is steaming. Taste and season with additional salt and black pepper if desired. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve hot.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 421; Total fat: 20.3 grams; Saturated fat: 6.4 grams; Sodium: 1,132.0 milligrams; Carbohydrates: 48.7 grams; Fiber: 5.7 grams; Sugar: 5.4 grams; Protein: 14.5 grams; Cholesterol: 201.5 milligrams.

Lauren Kudlawiec is the author of “Cooking with Lauren K,” a cookbook featuring healthy and affordable meals. Books are available on her website laurenkcooking.com or at the Altoona Mirror building. She teaches at Penn Cambria High School and lives in Ebensburg with her husband and son.

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