Kitchn Love Letters

Veggie Rice Is the Ultimate Weeknight Dinner When I Haven’t Been to the Store and Need Something Quick and Easy

published Jun 30, 2022
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veggie fried rice with an egg on a green and orange plate
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling Duncan Fitzpatrick

When I went on my first fast in 2013, I didn’t know what to expect. Purposely denying myself all of the food I know and love? That’s the furthest thing from fetch in my book. While those who choose to fast have their reasons, my reason for kicking off what I now call “fasting season” was for religious purposes, and I haven’t looked back since.

The Daniel Fast — which is a partial food fast — is biblically rooted. It’s based on a fast found in the Book of Daniel. Although there are two options for this fast (10 days as noted in Daniel 1:12 or 21 days as noted in Daniel 10:2-3), I opted to go 10 days for my first round. While fasting, you are only permitted to eat whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, veggies, fruits, soy products, and unleavened bread. Oils can be used minimally and all herbs, spices, and seasonings — as long as they aren’t processed — are permitted, too. Water is the beverage of choice, with 100 percent, all-natural fruit juice being added in to the lineup sparingly.

So, imagine me — a 20-something then-food publicist who loves to eat — giving up all the foods (like grape-flavored Pop Tarts) and drinks that I love for an extended period of time. I shuddered at the thought. As I was looking to grow my relationship with God, however, I was up for the challenge.

During my initial fast, I had no idea what to eat. It was really tough for me and I went some days of the fast without eating as much as I should have because I couldn’t figure out what I could put into my body. It was not one of my proudest moments.

But things turned around the second year I went on my fast because I was determined to make something tasty that fell within the parameters of what I could eat. And that’s when I made my now favorite, go-to meal: veggie rice.

While I first began my love affair with veggie rice while I was fasting, I’ve now adopted it into my quick-and-easy weeknight dinner routine, too. Veggie rice is basically a “use whatever ya got at home” type of meal and it serves its purpose very well. Essentially it’s similar to fried rice, in that you really can throw whatever you want in to make it your own. And it’s a meal that can last a few days too, which always makes me happy.

How to Make Veggie Rice

For my (non-fasting) version of this dish, I use Jasmine rice (cooked in a rice cooker), yellow squash, zucchini, onion, broccoli, and red and green peppers. If I’m feeling frisky, I’ll add jalapeños. When the rice is almost finished, I throw my chopped-up veggies into a pan and begin to sauté them using whatever seasonings I’m in the mood for at the moment. After the veggies are cooked through, I set the pan to the side.

Next, I combine everything in a wok (or a pot, if cleaning a wok is not on my agenda for the day) on low heat and add in an egg to be scrambled. Note: You are free to fry your egg and top the meal at the end, if that’s your preference. The addition of the egg is totally optional (I leave it out if I’m fasting), but I do enjoy what it brings to the finished product. Afterwards, I toss all of the ingredients together with a homemade garlic butter and a bit of soy sauce. Then, right before sitting down to enjoy it, I drizzle a bit of Sriracha to add a little extra kick to it.

Again, this is not an inventive dish, but it is something that’s incredibly easy to make and can be thrown together with whatever you have on hand. And honestly, I’m proud of every batch I make, whether I’m fasting or not.