Veggie Cauliflower Fried Rice with Crispy Baked Tofu

October 21, 2016

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This cauliflower fried rice is packed with vegetables and protein, and is much healthier than the classic Chinese take-out version.

This cauliflower fried rice is packed with vegetables and protein, and is much healthier than the classic Chinese take-out version. Vegetarian, Vegan-friendly, Gluten-free.

I am so excited to share this recipe with you today! It’s one that has been on my to-post list for quite a while (you may have seen it in one or more of my Menu Plan Monday menus!), but the first few times I made it I didn’t photograph it or even write down ingredient measurements, and then when I finally did and was ready to post I saw the theme of this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge and decided to hold out a wee bit longer.

You see, this month’s theme is Plant Protein Power Bowls, and this Veggie Cauliflower Fried Rice with Crispy Tofu is just the perfect fit. Keep reading and you’ll see why!

Plant Protein Power Bowls

Packed with protein and fiber and color, plant power bowls are trendy and delicious. Show us what’s in your bowl.

I’ve never been a fan of Chinese takeout (to my husband’s chagrin!), so fried rice isn’t something I ever craved or thought very much about, but when I first started making this recipe for my family I saw the appeal of fried rice and was so happy to be able to provide my husband with a healthier version of something he loves. The icing on the cake is that my kids devour it too. That, plus it’s easy to make, relatively quick (the part that takes the longest is the crispy tofu), and pretty much a one-pot meal (other than baking the tofu).

By now I’m guessing you’re familiar with the cauliflower rice trend – if not, you need to get on that! I’ve shared a few recipes before, including my Cauliflower Burnt Rice and Spiced Plum Cauliflower Rice, and the first bunch of times I made cauliflower rice I started from a head of cauliflower, which really is easy enough, but the mess….oh the mess!

Trader Joe’s has been selling a frozen cauliflower rice for a while, but I find it gets mushy, so I was ecstatic when a few months ago they came out with a fresh packaged cauli rice sold in the produce section. It’s been my go-to since and I don’t think I can go back to ricing it myself.

This cauliflower fried rice is packed with vegetables and protein, and is much healthier than the classic Chinese take-out version. Vegetarian, Vegan-friendly, Gluten-free.

Recipe Notes

A few things to make note of before we get to the recipe:

  • First, if you don’t have access to Trader Joe’s or another brand that sells packaged cauliflower rice, you can definitely make this recipe starting with one head of cauliflower and pulsing the florets in the food processor.
  • Second, you may recognize the crispy baked tofu from my Peanut Soba Noodles or Asian Style Farro Buddha Bowl – this is another of my go-to recipes because it’s a winner every time! You can certainly top this cauliflower fried rice with chicken, beef, or any other protein of your choice, or keep it meatless and add some edamame.
  • Third, the veggies listed in the recipe below are what I typically include, but feel free to change it up based on what’s in your fridge, freezer, and pantry, personal preferences, and what’s in season.
  • Lastly, this recipe is vegetarian and easily gluten-free if you sub gluten-free soy sauce. If you follow a vegan diet, leave out the eggs and you’re good to go. Trust me, there’s a way to make this recipe friendly for anyone!

Alright, I think that about covers it. Let’s get to the recipe, shall we?!

This cauliflower fried rice is packed with vegetables and protein, and is much healthier than the classic Chinese take-out version. Vegetarian, Vegan-friendly, Gluten-free.

 

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Veggie Cauliflower Fried Rice with Crispy Baked Tofu

This cauliflower fried rice is packed with vegetables and vegetarian protein, making it much healthier than the classic Chinese take-out version.
Course Entree, Main Dish
Cuisine Chinese, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Author Jessica

Ingredients

For the tofu:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, drained, pressed*, and cubed small (or two 8-ounce packages cubed super firm tofu)

For the cauliflower fried rice:

  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen (or snap peas)
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions (green onions)
  • 1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts
  • 1 16-ounce bag cauliflower rice (or 1 head cauliflower, riced in food processor)
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha, plus more for serving if desired
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish (optional)

Instructions

To make the tofu:

  1. Combine sesame oil, lime juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce in a small bowl and whisk until emulsified.
  2. Pour marinade over cubed tofu in a medium mixing bowl and marinate for at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  3. Preheat oven to bake at 425 degrees. Spread marinated tofu in one layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in the top shelf for 20 minutes; turn tofu and bake another 10 minutes until crispy.

To make the cauliflower fried rice:

  1. In a large straight-sided skillet that has a cover, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add eggs and stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up the eggs, until they are cooked, but still a little jiggly (you don't want to overcook them). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and stir 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrots and peas (or snap peas) and stir another 3 minutes. Add scallions and water chestnuts, and stir for 2 minutes. Finally, add the cauliflower rice and stir all the vegetables together.
  4. Cover skillet and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cauliflower rice is soft and the texture of cooked rice.
  5. Return scrambled eggs to skillet along with lime zest, lime juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sriracha, salt, and cilantro. Toss everything together.
  6. Serve topped with crispy tofu and additional sriracha and cilantro if desired.

Recipe Notes

Directions to drain and press tofu:

  • If you have a tofu press, place block of tofu in the press and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • If you do not have a press, press the tofu as follows: Place the block of tofu between multiple layers of paper towel or a couple of clean kitchen towels. Place the wrapped up tofu on a cutting board or plate and top with another cutting board or heavy pan. Set aside for about 30 minutes until most of the liquid is pressed out of the tofu.
  • Note: I usually drain the tofu overnight and add marinate it in the morning.

This cauliflower fried rice is packed with vegetables, protein from eggs and crispy baked tofu, and is much healthier than the classic Chinese take-out version. Vegetarian, Vegan-friendly, Gluten-free.

Have you joined the cauliflower rice bandwagon yet?

What’s your favorite plant protein power bowl?

Share with me in the comments below!
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  1. I finally found something we differ on- I love fried rice! It was one of the first dishes I learned to cook and I used to make it obsessively when I first lived on my own! This version looks delicious and a lot healthier, of course. Thanks for the tip about Trader Joe’s- I’ve bought the frozen cauli rice but will now keep an eye out for the fresh one!

    1. Oh my goodness Sonali! I can’t believe there’s something we have a difference on! To be fair, I think my reluctance towards fried rice had always been that a) I don’t like greasy Chinese food and b) it has the word “fried” in it, lol! (Although I love french fries!!). I’m so glad I have found the joy and deliciousness of fried rice, even if it’s in my own way. I hope you’ll give my cauliflower rice version a try! And hope you find the fresh cauli rice at TJ’s!

  2. Ha! I on the other hand HAVE craved fried rice….for the first 3 months of all my pregnancies. But I’ve never made cauliflower rice – so I’m excited to try the less-full version from TJ’s for this yummy looking recipe!

    1. That’s funny! Pad Thai was a big craving for me when I was pregnant! Wait, are you telling me you have yet to make cauliflower rice at all?! You need to get on that my friend!

  3. I was in the same boat with my bowl recipe- I’ve been meaning to post it forever but haven’t. Thanks Recipe ReDux! This sounds so yummy! I still haven’t tried cauli rice, and now I don’t have a TJs nearby 🙁

    1. I saw that! So funny! I love that now I get a sneak peek at the themes so I can save a recipe if I have it! OMG, you have to try it – it really is so easy to rice cauliflower yourself, just be prepared for a bit of a mess 😉

    1. I feel the same way, and also love that I can go back for more and know it’s not breaking the calorie bank! Hope you give it a try in fried rice form!

    1. Thanks Rebecca! You have to try cauli rice – it is so good! If you give this recipe a try i’d love to know how you liked it!

  4. This recipe looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it. Great to know Trader Joe’s sells cauliflower rice. Taylor Farms has just come out with cauliflower pearl – also in the produce section in bags.

    1. Thanks so much Mona! I hope you enjoy it. I don’t think we have Taylor Farms in NY, but cauliflower pearl sounds fantastic!

  5. Great recipe Jessica! I make “classic” fried rice fairly often, b/c my kids and I enjoy it, but your version w/ tofu and cauliflower looks fabulous. I’m not sure my own kids will go for it, but definitely worth a try. And, if not, that just means more for me 🙂

    1. Thanks so much EA! I sure hope your kids like it. I actually find it a great way to get more veggies in for the kids b/c my girls love the cauli rice! If it’s the tofu your kids aren’t into, the great thing is there are so many alternatives like chicken and beef. But like you said – if they don’t like it, more for you!!

  6. […] tried it, that’s a pairing you want to make – you can test it out with my Veggie Cauliflower Fried Rice with Crispy Tofu.) If you’ve ever bought a bag of fresh cauliflower rice, you know that it doesn’t have […]

    1. Sorry to hear that. It’s hard to say for sure without knowing how you’re preparing it. A few of the reasons it may not crisp up is if there is too much stuff on the baking sheet, in which case it will end up steaming. Make sure to spread out the tofu so there’s enough room for air to circulate around it. Make sure the temperature is high enough and that you cook it long enough. Hope that helps!

    1. Thanks Pam! Hope you find it. Now there are so many companies and independent groceries that package the cauliflower rice so it should be a little easier to find.

  7. I’m not a fan of fried rice either. But, with that said, I love that you made this with cauliflower rice!! Holy moly, this looks delicious! I also love the tofu!!!! I can’t wait to make it!

  8. This looks tasty! I love a good, simple, tofu stir fry. I am not vegetarian, but eat that way most days of the week and I love options like this.

  9. These are my favorite kind of go to dinner because you can basically throw in what ever veggies you have around and it’s delicious