Veggie Fried Rice

With both kids home all day every day, I’m making a lot of meals. There’s always something leftover in the fridge—but it can be hard to get kids (and adults?) excited about leftovers. Enter our Leftover Superhero: Veggie Fried Rice!

There’s a lot to learn from this recipe if you’re a young chef: how to peel carrots, how to mince ginger, how to make a sauce. But the lesson I’ve been focusing on lately with my own kids is “the art of reviving the lowly leftover.” That’s certainly an unsung skill worth learning.

30 mins



  • ¼ cup vegetable oil for cooking
  • About 4 cups of raw mixed veggies (think cabbage, carrots, green beans, peppers—anything you have!)
  • 4 cups cooked rice, cooled (leftover rice is the best for this)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Shaoxing rice wine vinegar or other mild vinegar (or water will do!)
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil if you have it
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Optional additions and alternatives:

  • Add 1-2 cups of chopped cooked meat (think diced ham, shredded pork or chicken, bacon pieces)
  • Top with fresh herbs or chives
  • Top with chopped roasted peanuts or cashews for yummy crunch
  • Add a squirt of sriracha or other hot sauce if you like it hot!
  • Use cold cooked noodles instead of rice for Veggie Lo Mein


Pro tip: Prep all of your veggies and sauce before you start cooking. This recipe goes quickly!

Chop your veggies small so they cook quickly.

Add oil to a wok or a large skillet, and turn heat to high.

When oil begins to shimmer, add veggies and stir fry until softened but not mushy (about 3-5 mins).

Add rice and continue to stir fry for 2 more minutes, until heated through.

Add garlic, ginger, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil (and optional meat) and stir fry for a few more minutes, until rice and veggie bits look so delicious you must eat them.

Season with salt and pepper. Make sure it tastes AWESOME!


Kids Can:

  • Help “rescue” the ingredients from the fridge. A bag of wilted greens? Yes! A few weirdo carrots in the bottom of the drawer? Yes! Bits of leftover meat from another meal? Hah! We’re victorious!
  • Chop and tear veggies and greens
  • Measure and mix the sauce
  • Taste for final seasoning

Grown-ups Can:

  • Ask them questions like, “What do you think it needs?”
  • Help young chefs learn about food waste. Where does it go? How much does food cost? What resources are wasted along with wasted food?
    A photo of Cheryl.

    Cheryl Knecht Muñoz

    Cheryl is the Founder and Owner of Sugar Beet Schoolhouse, a cooking school for kids and their families in River Forest, IL. As a chef, instructor, and working mom, she is passionate about growing, cooking, and sharing good food together.



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