This colorful beet fried rice is made by stir-frying diced beets with coconut oil, curry paste, and spices, and then crisping them in the pan with cooked rice. Stir-fried vegetables and/or protein can be added to make it a meal!
I thought you’d like a little break from Thanksgiving-y comfort food. But this beet fried rice is still very autumn appropriate! And I definitely won’t stop you from serving it at Thanksgiving if you’re going the non-traditional route :).
Kind of like how I don’t always feel like soaking and blending raw cashews, sometimes I am just not in the mood to spend an hour roasting whole beets. I figured I would see what happened if I cut the beets into tiny cubes and stir-fried them in coconut oil, and it turns out that I LOVE cooking them this way. They get juicy and sweet but still maintain some bite. Combining them with crisped fried rice and a curry and citrus sauce, I think I’m pretty close to beetroot heaven.
I love the vibrant pink color that the beet infuses into this whole fried rice dish. Even better is the flavor! I’m always looking for ways to add a little natural sweetness to my curries and stir-fries so that I can avoid added sugar, and beets absolutely delivered on that here. Beets and oranges are a classic pairing and so I also sweetened the stir-fry sauce with a little bit of freshly-squeezed orange juice.
Also, this rice dish features that turmeric + black pepper combo that I know many of you like to incorporate into your cooking.
This dish works well with both brown or white rice, and you could also try other grains or pseudograins like quinoa or millet for a twist. Cauliflower rice works really well in my Thai vegetable fried rice, but I might not recommend it in my beet fried rice because the cauliflower + beet might be Too Much Earthy. But some people like that I suppose!
I enjoyed my beet fried rice with some vegetables that I stir-fried in a separate wok, as you can see pictured above. Normally when I make this, I cook everything in the same pan. The vegetables were cooked separately this time purely to keep them free of beet blood for the photographs.
I had much difficulty making up my mind whether to title this Beet Fried Rice or Beetroot Fried Rice. Ultimately I went with the American version. But between you and me, I think ‘beetroot’ sounds nicer. Just as I think ‘aubergine’ is a better word than ‘eggplant’. 🙂 Either way, if you try this beet fried rice, let me know in the comments here or by tagging your photos with #yupitsvegan and @yupitsvegan!
Beet Fried Rice
Cubed beets are stir-fried to perfection in coconut oil and curry paste, and then mixed with crispy rice for an earthy cold-weather twist on vegetable fried rice.
For the beets and aromatics:
For the stir-fry:
- 1 crown broccoli cut into florets
- 1 bell pepper cut into strips
- 1 onion (any color) sliced
- 1/2 small head purple cabbage chopped
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup diced pineapple
For the sauce mixture:
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbsp freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
Heat the coconut oil in a large, wide pan over medium-high heat. Add the diced beets and stir well. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until beets are starting to soften. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and black pepper, and stir. Immediately add the Thai red curry paste. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 more minutes or until fragrant.
Next add your vegetables to the pan and stir well; continue to cook while stirring frequently until the vegetables have turned bright in color and are crisp-tender. Add the cooked rice and diced pineapple and stir to combine. Finally, add the sauce to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until hot throughout.
Served warm, garnished with chopped scallions, toasted cashews, and other accompaniments as desired.
MIX AND MATCH VEGGIES: Instead of the broccoli, bell pepper, onion and/or cabbage, feel free to mix and match other veggies of choice. Some others that I have tried and enjoyed with this dish include sliced cherry tomatoes; cauliflower (takes a little bit longer to cook); snap peas; and kohlrabi.
FRESH GARLIC SUBSTITUTE: Feel free to substitute 1/4 tsp garlic powder for the fresh garlic. I recommend using fresh ginger if you can get your hands on it, though. It makes a difference!
SEPARATE COOKING: If the presentation of the dish is important to you and you'd like to keep the vegetables to their own beautiful colors, you'll want to get two separate stir-fries going. Reserve 1/2 tbsp of the coconut oil and about 1/3 of the sauce to stir-fry just the veggies in their own pan. After cooking and saucing both pans, you can then stir everything together and the vegetables will be relatively "unharmed" by the stir-fried beets.