We’ve always had a thing for fried rice. It satisfies on all levels—salty, savory, crispy, carby, and easy to shovel into your mouth (an important category in our book). We have fond highschool memories of driving to get fried rice at the drop of a hat, whenever a craving hit. Anyone else? It was only $3 to-go from our local hibachi spot, and we took full advantage.
Now, we bring that core memory to the present day with the help of Trader Joe’s and a microwave. You’d be surprised at how a simple package of Trader Joe’s frozen Vegetable Fried Rice can be upgraded to satisfy a craving with just a few additions. It has all the umami flavor we look for, with less oil than restaurant-bought fried rice. Plus, it’s ready in just five minutes—a perfect busy weeknight meal.
Microwave the Vegetable Fried Rice
Start with the easy part. Follow the microwave instructions on the package. You’ll get a fluffy, textured fried rice that is pleasant on its own but lacking something you can’t quite put your finger on. We’ve got you covered with four easy upgrades.
1. Add the Oomph
To the cooked rice add 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari and 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil. The soy sauce adds umami and the sesame oil, even a small amount, adds a ton of flavor and that takeout flair.
2. Freshen Up
Bright herbs help balance out the salty, savory flavors. Our favorites are chopped green onions and fresh cilantro. Parsley works too!
3. Take It up a Notch
We love to add a vinegary vegetable and a homemade sauce to the fried rice. Adding kimchi brings some complexity to this quick and easy microwave meal. Chop it up so it’s evenly distributed within the rice. For the sauce, make a simple two-ingredient spicy mayo by mixing equal parts sriracha and mayo. Then drizzle it on top.
4. Make It a Meal
While the upgraded fried rice can stand alone, it’s very easy to transform into a complete meal. Add a scrambled egg to up the protein. As vegans we add a plant-based egg that comes frozen and pre-cooked, so we microwave it and chop it up. Leftover tofu or chicken makes it an easy and satisfying weeknight dinner. We guarantee your family and friends will think it’s all from scratch—just make sure to throw out the evidence! Good luck, chef.