This vegan pineapple fried rice recipe is a quick 15-minute meal. Using Thai curry paste for heat and flavour and pineapple for sweetness, this fried rice is the perfect combo of textures and flavours!
Where does pineapple fried rice come from?
Pineapple fried rice comes from Thai cuisine but I do not claim this recipe to be authentically Thai by any means (and that’s why I didn’t put Thai in the title).
In fact, if you look at enough recipes online, you’ll quickly realize that none of the vegan recipes should be calling themselves Thai for lack of the very important Thai fish sauce.
Most of them also lack sugar, which, if you know anything about Thai food, is all about getting a good balance of sweet, salty, sour, spicy and bitter.
So the majority of the vegan pineapple fried rice recipes are something of a mashup between Chinese and Thai fried rice recipes.
And that’s exactly what this recipe is. I started with the typical Chinese fried rice base of garlic, ginger, carrots, peas and soy sauce then added Thai curry paste for heat and flavour, and pineapple for sweetness.
Not authentic at all but easy and delicious!
Canned pineapple fried rice
You know those recipes you see online that serve fried rice in half a hollowed out pineapple?
I always thought that was a bit over the top. Fine if you’re trying to impress someone but fried rice is meant to be a quick and easy dish so who’s gonna do that on a random Tuesday night?
This vegan pineapple fried rice recipe uses canned pineapple that you can get year-round at any grocery store.
It’s also a great way to use up any leftover pineapple you might have. In fact, I made this recipe with leftover pineapple from my tofu teriyaki recipe.
Of course, it you happen to have a fresh pineapple on hand, by all means, dice it up and use it.
What’s the best rice to use?
While you can fry almost any type of rice, there are a couple things you’re aiming for when making perfect fried rice.
You want the rice grain to be plump enough to be chewy on the outside and tender on the inside.
You want the rice to be clumpy enough to picked up with chopsticks but not so mushy that the individual grains don’t fry.
That said, short or medium grain white or Jasmine rice are ideal.
Do I need to use day-old rice?
Most fried rice recipes will call for day-old rice because it’s drier and fries without going mushy.
They’re not wrong but day-old rice isn’t the only option.
If you haven’t planned 12 hours ago to cook fried rice today you can use freshly cooked rice that has been placed under a fan for an hour OR spread out on a tray for five minutes.
Yes, only five minutes. That’s enough time for the surface moisture to evaporate but not enough time for the internal moisture to make it to the surface and make the rice more difficult to fry.
Placing the rice in the fridge or freezer will slow down the evaporation process so only do that if you will be leaving it there overnight and frying it the next day.
You can read more about the science behind this on Serious Eats.
How to make vegan pineapple fried rice
This recipe is super easy and whether you’re using day-old rice or freshly-cooked and cooled rice, your meal will be ready in less than 30 minutes!
Start by rinsing your rice to remove some of the starch. The water does not have to run clear, just a quick 30-second rinse in a strainer under the tap is good enough.
Cook the rice and either spread it on a try for five minutes to allow the surface moisture to evaporate or refrigerate it for at least 12 hours.
When you’re ready to fry, prepare all your ingredients: chop the carrot, green onion, ginger and garlic.
It’s best to use a wok if you have one because it’s easier to flip the rice in. If you don’t have one, a large cast iron skillet would be the next best option.
Heat a high-heat oil such as vegetable, canola or sunflower in your wok over high heat. Don’t use olive oil!
I have a tendency to burn garlic so I like to start with the carrot and onion. Then, once the carrot is tender fry the Thai curry paste for a couple minutes to bring out the flavours.
Then I add the ginger and garlic and fry for about 30 seconds. Toss in the rice, peas and pineapple chunks and mix it up well.
Fry the rice, tossing frequently, until the rice has a chewy texture and some crispy bits - about 5 minutes.
Finally, season the rice with soy sauce and it’s ready to serve!
Vegan pineapple fried rice can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 - 5 days.
Can you freeze pineapple fried rice?
Yes, you can freeze pineapple fried rice in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months.
What to serve it with
Vegan pineapple fried rice makes a great meal just on it’s own but if you’d rather serve it as a side dish or as part of a meal, here are some suggestions!
- as part of a vegan meal prep with steamed veggies and fried tofu
- Vegetable spring rolls
- Vegan dumplings
- Vegan hot and sour soup
- Vegan satay
- Steamed bok choy, broccoli, snow peas
- Sweet and sour tofu
- Lemon cauliflower
- Vegetable tempura
- Green salad with an Asian-style vinaigrette
Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice
- 1 cup (185 grams ) uncooked short or medium grain white rice
- 2 - 3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
- 2 medium carrots peeled and finely diced
- 2 green onions sliced, white and light green separated from dark green
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 2 teaspoons chopped ginger
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 5 pineapple rings sliced into chunks
- 1 cup (145 grams ) frozen peas
- Put the rice in a strainer and rinse it under cool water while gently swirling for about 30 seconds.
- Cook the rice according to the package directions.
- Either place the rice in a container in the fridge for 12 hours or spread the rice out on a tray and let the surface moisture evaporate for 5 minutes. You can also gently fan it to help the evaporation if you want. (I discuss the reasoning behind this in the post above).
- In a wok or large cast iron pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat. Add the white and light green parts of the green onion and the carrot. Stir fry until the carrot is tender - 3 to 4 minutes.
- Push the carrot to the edges of the pan and add the curry paste to the middle of the pan. If the pan seems dry, add another tablespoon of oil over the curry paste. Fry the curry paste, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until it’s fragrant and darkens slightly in colour.
- Stir the carrots into the curry paste and add the ginger and garlic to the pan. Fry, stirring, for about 30 seconds or until the ginger and garlic is soft and fragrant.
- Add the rice, pineapple and peas and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the rice is chewy on the outside, soft on the inside and heated through.
- Garnish with the dark green tops of the green onions.