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Vegetarian Thai Fried Rice Recipe (Khao Pad)

Close-up of vegetarian Thai fried rice with carrots, onions, bell peppers, green onions, and a lime wedge in a blue and white bowl. In the distance is a red and green chili pepper, coriander, and fish sauce.

Vegetarian Thai fried rice recipe is hands down THE BEST 20-minute weeknight dinner you'll ever whip up. It's so tasty, way better than takeout, and guess what? It's not just healthy, it's also super easy to make.

Close-up of vegetarian Thai fried rice with carrots, onions, bell peppers, green onions, and a lime wedge in a blue and white bowl. In the distance is a red and green chili pepper, coriander, and fish sauce.

Looking for more? Check out this chicken pineapple fried rice, fried rice with leftover rice, and my authentic tom yum fried rice.

What is Thai fried rice (khao pad)

Thai fried rice, known as 'khao pad' in Thailand, is made with a blend of Thai sauces and seasonings. Stir-fried over high heat, this meal comes together quickly for a meal that can be paired with other street food as a side, or enjoyed on its own as a main dish.

Thai vegetarian fried rice

This recipe for vegetarian fried rice without egg could easily be served up in a Thai restaurant. You know it's spot-on when the kids ask you "how can vegetables taste this good"?

Right side of a blue and white bowl filled with vegetarian Thai fried rice.

I don't know about you, but sometimes, I just get this random urge to cook up some vegetarian Thai food. A plateful of vegetables fried rice is just perfect for that.

It's such a comfort food that can be enjoyed by anyone, kids, adults, and this recipe is suited for vegans alike.

A wooden spoon with a bite of fried rice and vegetables over a blue and white bowl with fried rice with vegetables.

I tossed in some classic greens — carrots, tomatoes, green bell peppers, green onions, and onions. But hey, you can use this recipe as an excuse to clean out your fridge. Just toss in your favorites and enjoy.

How to customize this vegetarian recipe

  • Craving spicy vegetarian Thai fried rice? Mix in a tablespoon of my homemade Thai red curry paste, add a drizzle of vegetarian fish sauce, or garnish with some black pepper or Thai chili flakes.
  • Toss in fresh pineapple chunks for a sweet and tropical variation.
  • Use your favorite vegetables. I used fresh veggies from my garden, but you can get your favorite ones at your grocery store. Gai lan, snap peas, kale, bamboo shoots, baby corn, mushrooms, bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, green onions, the options are endless.
  • Use different types of rice. Jasmine rice is the top choice, but you can use basmati rice, brown rice, or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.
  • Add more protein. Tempeh, tofu and toasted cashews are easy to add protein-packed ingredients for fried rice. Additionally, you can add shrimp, crab, squid, or other seafood. For meat, try chicken, pork, beef, turkey, or others, and slice into thin slices.
Blue and white bowl with vegetable fried rice, a lime wedge, and chopsticks.

Why use leftover rice for fried rice

Leftover rice is drier, this ensures that each grain absorbs flavors without turning mushy. Chilled rice grains separate easily, allowing them to easily absorb flavors and achieve the desired texture for fried rice.

If you don't have leftover rice, simply spread fresh rice out on a baking sheet to let it cool. Give it a quick chill in the fridge, and you're good to go.

Vegan fried rice in a blue and white bowl with chopsticks and a lime wedge. In the distance are chili peppers and coriander.

5 Reasons to try this recipe

  • Perfect for meal prepping. This recipe is great for meal prep. You can easily cook it in advance and enjoy it later.
  • Healthy and nutritious. It's packed with vegetables and vitamins.
  • One-pan dinner. This easy vegetarian fried rice requires just one pan. No fuss, no clean-up!
  • Family favorite. Kids, grandparents, everyone is going to love it.
  • Quick and easy. After a long weekday, this recipe is your lifesaver.

Ingredients

For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Ingredients to make this Thai fried rice recipe: rice, mushroom soy sauce, light soy sauce, white sugar, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, green bell peppers, onions, and garlic.
  • Rice - Leftover jasmine rice is the best option for Thai fried rice. If you're using freshly cooked rice, make sure to let it cool down before cooking.
  • Mushroom vegetarian sauce - This vegetarian sauce is a substitute for oyster sauce, a good brand is Healthy Boy Brand. It adds an umami flavor to our homemade vegetarian fried rice. You can ask for this in an Asian grocery store.
  • Light soy sauce - This staple of Southeast Asian cuisine adds a salty flavor. It's used to season dishes and sometimes as a dipping sauce.
  • White sugar - A sprinkle of sugar is needed to balance out the salty flavor.
  • Green bell peppers
  • Green onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Garlic

How to make vegetarian Thai fried rice

Dice up the vegetables to speed up the stir-frying.
Preheat a non-stick wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and spread evenly across the bottom of your pan.
Add diced vegetables into the pan. Sauté until the vegetables are nearly cooked through. The larger you cut your vegetables, the longer you have to stir-fry, which is why we diced them.
Add sauces and seasonings (mushroom sauce, light soy sauce, and white sugar) and thoroughly mix with the veggies.
Add cold rice into the mix and thoroughly combine. Use your spatula to press and separate the rice clumps, if needed.
Continue to cook for 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the heat of your stove top. Consistently toss and stir to prevent burning. Garnish and serve immediately.

After making this khao pad recipe, try this vegetarian fried cabbage recipe, it's an easy stir-fry with tofu.

Kitchen tools

  • Cutting board and chef's knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Non-stick wok pan
  • Rice cooker
  • Spatula

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Stir-fry over high heat. This ensures a crisp finish, but keep it moving to avoid burning. If you're more comfortable cooking over medium heat, that's fine as well.
  • Use cold leftover rice. The dry texture ensures it won't become mushy during stir-frying.
  • Taste-test. Too many sauces can overpower the dish, too little will make it boring. Taste-test and adjust seasoning to taste if needed.
  • Add eggs for richness. If you'd like a vegetarian fried rice with egg, simply push the rice to the side of the pan, scramble the eggs, and then mix them in.

How to serve

Serve as a main-dish on a plate or in a bowl. Garnish with fresh herbs such as green onions or cilantro. For extra flavor, add a lime wedge, a twist of black pepper or white pepper, a splash of fish sauce, or serve with a spicy Thai condiment like prik nam pla.

Optionally, you can top your rice with a fried egg. A sprinkle of sesame seeds or toasted peanuts / cashews adds extra flavor and a delightful crunch.

Thai vegetarian fried rice in a blue and white bowl with a wedge of lime. Above it are blurred out chilies, coriander, and a chili sauce.

How to store

Allow your fried rice to cool down to room temperature. Transfer it to an airtight container and store it in your fridge. Use within 3–4 days.

Reheating instructions: Use a wok or frying pan. Add a splash of oil, and stir-fry until the rice is hot. Alternatively, you can use a microwave.

Did you know?

  • Leftover rice is the secret ingredient Asian restaurants use. In our former Thai restaurant, we had a separate rice cooker for reheating the leftover rice for fried rice.
  • Freshly steamed rice is clingy, while day-old rice grains fall apart easily, ready to soak up all the sauces and seasonings.
  • To say fried rice in Thai, you say "khao pad".

Frequently asked questions

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Soy sauce typically contains gluten. You can use gluten-free sauces to make gluten-free fried rice.

What to eat with Thai fried rice?

Thai fried rice is often enjoyed as a side with other Thai dishes. You can pair it with satay skewers like grilled chicken or moo ping. Thai appetizers like spring rolls or Thai fish cakes. Thai salads like papaya salad. Stir-fried vegetables like pad pak ruam mit or stir-fried cabbage, and many more.

More easy vegetarian Thai recipes you'll love

If you loved reading this vegetarian Thai fried rice recipe, please make my day by dropping a star rating and/or a comment below!

Ratings 5 from 2 votes
Cooking Method
Cuisine
Courses
Time
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 10 min Total Time: 20 mins
Servings 2
Calories 500
Description

Vegetarian Thai fried rice with simple ingredients, ready in no more than 20 minutes.

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 carrot (diced)
  • 2 small tomatoes (sliced)
  • 2 green onions (chopped)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • 1 bell pepper (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons mushroom soy sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 0.5 tablespoons white sugar
  • 14 ounces rice (leftover rice)
Instructions
  1. Dice up the vegetables to speed up the stir-frying.

  2. Preheat a non-stick wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and spread evenly across the bottom of your pan.

  3. Add diced vegetables into the pan. Stir-fry until the vegetables are nearly cooked through. The larger you cut your vegetables, the longer you have to stir-fry, which is why we diced them.

  4. Add sauces and seasonings (mushroom sauce, light soy sauce, and white sugar) and thoroughly mix with the veggies.

  5. Add cold rice into the mix and thoroughly combine. Use your spatula to press and separate the rice if needed.

  6. Continue to cook for 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the heat of your stove top. Consistently toss and stir to prevent burning. Garnish and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 2


Amount Per Serving
Calories 500kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14.2g22%
Saturated Fat 1.8g9%
Total Carbohydrate 88.3g30%
Dietary Fiber 3.8g16%
Sugars 7.7g
Protein 7.5g15%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Note
  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Feel free to add your favorite vegetables or protein.
  • Use day-old rice / leftover rice for fried rice.

Keywords: vegetarian Thai fried rice, vegetarian Thai fried rice recipe, Thai vegetarian fried rice

Thank you so much for trying my recipe!