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Easy Vegetarian Fried Rice

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Easy Vegetarian Fried Rice is an American Chinese style dish is meatless and kosher. An incredibly flavorful side!

Try it and you might never not want to buy the takeout again!

Vegetarian fried rice with peas, carrots, and onions near a package of chop sticks on a white wood table

Never throw away good left over rice again!

Easy Vegetarian Fried Rice is a delicious American Chinese style dish that can be made with freshly made rice, but is perfect with leftover rice as well.

Don’t like peas and carrots? Leave them out! (That’s actually what I do…).

Makes a great side to any main dish!

And the ingredients (carrots, peas, rice, eggs) have health benefits!

A little of my cooking background

I really wanted to title this blog “If I can make it, anyone can”, because – honestly – if I can make it, anyone can.

I never really liked cooking and when I was single, a meal for me meant grilled cheese, eggs, tuna, or something else that didn’t require effort or time.

When my kids were young, I was still able to get away with preparing only a small variety of easy meals, but the older they got, the more dishes I learned to make at their request.

Still, I insisted on keeping it simple.

Honestly, I never understood why some cooks unnecessarily complicate meals. I have seen recipes that have several ingredients that don’t really seem to add much, if anything, to the dish. So, why bother?

It has always been important to me that whoever eats at my table will have plenty to enjoy and that includes my kids (I never agreed with the “You will eat what is served or you won’t eat” ideology) and, because I keep it simple, I can prepare a variety of dishes in a relatively short period of time.

I have a philosophy regarding being a great cook: Prepare food according to the tastes of those who will be eating it and they will love your cooking!

As far as I am concerned, start with the basic ingredients that make the dish what it is, adapt according to taste, and voila! you are an amazing cook!

The bottom line is that while there are certainly delicate recipes out there for specialty dishes, making delicious meals doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. It’s not difficult to impress – just make sure it tastes good.

While some of the recipes on my blog are more time-consuming than others, they are all tried and true easy-shmeezy!

Of course, one always has to consider the conditions under which they cook. Weather (humidity, heat, cold), different types of ovens, different quality of pots, etc. – all of which can affect your cooking and baking.

Nevertheless, as I said, if I can do it, anyone can!

Everyday pantry essentials (suggested)

As I learned to prepare more and more recipes, I also learned which basics and seasonings are good to have on hand to have the ability to make a dish on short notice and not have to run out to the store or borrow from a neighbor.

While I will admit that I am not always prepared when one of my kids will ask for eggplant parmesan or lasagna at the drop of a hat (which they have done), I dislike having to postpone making something just because the ingredients needed to make a reasonable meal were not readily available.

So, I maintain selection of what I consider “pantry essentials” in my refrigerator and on my shelves at all times.

Initially, many of the herbs and spices were useful to me only on occasion (having been purchased for a particular recipe) and I usually just had them around as leftovers. However, as I began to cook more of a variety, I was really glad to have them (hey, look, I already have that !) and that is how my list began.

While, of course, most of the essentials will not be needed just for any one recipe, at least some of them are needed for most recipes, and you would be surprised how many recipes be made just with this list. So, if you keep whatever you use regularly on hand, it can really save you time and effort.

Everyone has their favorite recipes, preferred seasoning, and just whatever they like to use to cook. Your own list should certainly reflect your own cooking tastes and style.

Just to give you an idea, the list below is a comprehensive list of what I normally keep on hand (this does not necessarily include what I keep for baking and there may be some overlap between the two lists as some items are used for both, such a brown sugar) and, of course, it reflects the meals and desserts that I like to make for my own family and guests.

Seasoning and flavoring:

  • salt (my receipes use regular table salt)
  • ground black or white pepper
  • granulated garlic or garlic powder (I prefer granulated)
  • onion powder
  • sweet paprika and/or sweet pepper flakes (paprika is ground dried red pepper, pepper flakes are crushed dried red pepper)
  • hot paprika, hot pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper (moderately spicy dried ground chili pepper) for those occasional spicy dishes
  • ground turmeric
  • ground cumin
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • ground nutmeg
  • ground Cloves (for pumpkin flavors)
  • sugar (granulated)
  • brown sugar
  • chicken consomme powder / beef bullion powder (regular or vegetarian)
  • onion soup mix
  • onion flakes (substitute for fresh onion – 3 tablespoons for 1 medium onion).
  • various herbs
  • additional spices to adapt taste to preference


  • oil / margarine / butter / cooking spray
  • coconut cream as a dairy free cream substitute
  • corn starch as a thickening agent
  • flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • bread crumbs or Corn Flake crumbs (you can make these with your blender or food processor) for coating
  • condiments – such as ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce
  • tomato sauce/tomato paste/canned tomatoes – diced or crushed/pasta sauce
  • soy sauce
  • ready made pie crusts and dough (to just add filling)

We always have eggs in the fridge and onions, rice, and potatoes on our shelves as well as pasta.

In addition, having some fresh vegetables in the fridge, such as carrots, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers (red, green, etc), etc. can be very useful when putting together a quick, but delicious meal.

It is also a good idea to have some ground meat or chicken (breast, ground, or in parts), in the freezer for anyone who likes meat dishes in a snap.

Weather can have an affect on some of the spices and on the chicken consommé powder, so I keep as many of the seasonings in the refrigerator or freezer as I can and I keep everything tightly closed in containers (you will be surprised to know just how determined moths are at getting into sealed bags and how hot red pepper powder can attract little black bugs – YUCK!).

Therefore, store your items well.

Why are these pantry essentials beneficial to have on hand?

Personally, having the above ingredients in my kitchen is very advantageous, as I make a variety of dishes and use most of the items on the list regularly enough to warrant storing them. However, I do not store items for dishes that I make seasonally or only on rare occasions or those that spoil easily.

Whether or not it is workable for you depends on your cooking style, the space you have to store, and whether or not you mind running out to the store as needed. Of course, the more you cook and the more varied your recipes, the more you will use, and the more you will need.

A little about American Chinese Food

American Chinese cuisine is a style of Chinese cuisine that was developed by Chinese Americans. These dishes significantly differ from traditional Chinese dishes, because American-Chinese dishes were adapted to suit American tastes.

Chinese immigrants arrived in the United States in large numbers in the mid 19th century in order to escape the economic difficulties in China, hoping to find work during the California Gold Rush and on the Central Pacific Railroad.

They mostly settled together in ghettos, individually known as Chinatown, and – since there were laws preventing them from owning their own land – they opened their own businesses, such as laundry services and restaurants.

Initially, the family-owned businesses catered to miners and railroad workers and estaurants were set up in places where Chinese food was unknown. Food was based on the requests of the customers and recipes were created to suit American tastes using whatever ingredients were available.

One major difference between traditional Chinese cuisine American-Chinese cuisine is in the use of vegetables. American Chinese recipes will use raw or uncooked ingredients and those not native to China. Traditional Chinese cuisine, on the other hand rarely contain raw or uncooked ingredients and often uses Asian leaf vegetables.

While he new dishes were not traditional Chinese, these restaurants were responsible for the development of the ever-popular American Chinese cuisine.

The little history of Kosher Chinese Food

It is well known that Jews (especially those with ties to New York) love Chinese food. You can find at least one and, more often than not, several kosher Chinese restaurants in predominately Jewish neighborhoods. In the town of Cedarhurst, New York, for example, there are two within a couple of blocks – both excellent…and don’t even get me started on Brooklyn.

There is a popular joke, which has been passed around for many years which describes the Jewish dependency on Chinese food: “According to the Jewish calendar, the year is 5749. According to the Chinese calendar, the year is 4687. That means for 1,062 years, the Jews went without Chinese food.” That was back in 1989 and who knows when the joke even started?

Jews as a group were probably first introduced to Chinese food in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where immigrants of various cultures settled in their own neighborhoods in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

By the early 1900s, approximately one million Jews from Eastern Europe and half a million Italians from Southern Italy shared the Lower East Side of Manhattan with only approximately 7,000 Cantonese Chinese, most of who had moved from California.

Due to anti-Chinese laws and acts, which prevented them from competing with whites, many Chinese opened restaurants.

The majority Jewish immigrants at that time were observant in their religion and ate only kosher food when they arrived in New York. But, over time, many assimilated and their children, who were less interested in keeping “the old ways” and more interested in other cultural experiences, even more so.

Some continued keeping kosher at home, while allowing themselves to stray while out. Sunday was a favorite time for eating out and Chinese food was not only reasonably priced, but their restaurants were open on Sundays.

Not only that, but Chinese food didn’t use milk and while excuses may be made for eating non-kosher meat outside of the home, there was still the forbidden mixing of meat and milk to consider.

Having been raised with what is forbidden, these Jews seemed to feel that if they couldn’t tell it was non-kosher, it wasn’t that bad (or wasn’t repulsive), even if it contained pork or non-kosher seafood. The attitude seemed to be, if I can’t see it, it won’t kill me.

But what about Jews who did keep kosher? It took decades, but finally one enlightened Jewish, kosher deli owner found a solution. Using Cantonese Chinese recipes and substituting kosher veal, beef, and chicken livers for pork, he began selling the first kosher Chinese food. This was Sol Bernstein, the eldest son of Schmulka Bernstein.

Schmulka Bernstein ran kosher butcher store and smokehouse on the Lower East Side of Manhattan near Essex St for approximately 30 years from the 1930s until the mid-1960s.

In 1959, Sol, opened a delicatessen on Essex Street and called it Bernstein-on-Essex. His slogan was “Where kashrut is king and quality reigns” (kashrut = kosher).

Although the deli was separate from Schmulka’s butcher shop and belonged to Sol, everyone still called it Schmulka Bernstein’s and anyone who is still around and remembers, still does so till this day. In fact, I doubt that many people even know that the deli belonged to Sol or that it was Sol who was the originator of Kosher Chinese food in the US.

Sol continued to sell deli while he incorporated Chinese foods into the menu and did very well. The restaurant continued to prosper until he died in 1992, when it was sold.

Love kosher American Chinese dishes? Try these!

Yield: 4 servings

Easy Vegetarian Fried Rice

Vegetarian fried rice with peas, carrots, and onions near a package of chop sticks on a white wood table

Delicious and savory vegetarian fried rice.

Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 can peas and diced carrots, drained or 1/2 cup frozen peas and diced carrots. *
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon (or a pinch) vegetarian chicken consommé powder (bullion powder)
  • Oil


    1. Lightly coat a suitable size pan or pot with oil.
    2. On medium heat, scramble the egg into small pieces.
    3. Add the onions and cook together, stirring continuously, until the onions have become soft and somewhat transparent.
    4. Mix in peas and carrots (if desired).
    5. Add cooked rice to pan.
    6. Head rice with mixture, while stirring and break up any chunks that may have formed.
    7. Add soy sauce
    8. Continue heating for another couple of minutes, while stirring, for the soy sauce to mix in.


If you don't like peas and/or carrots - like me - just leave them out.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 529mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 8g

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