Gluten Free Fried Rice, Free Style

fried rice in bowl revised

If you know me from my rants on this blog, you know my family is picky (as hell), but there happens to be ONE (okay, fine, two) meals that we ALL enjoy. Besides pizza, I mean. And this fried rice dish is one of them. Even Little Guy ate some, though to be honest he seemed to enjoy the carrots most of all. Note to self, cook the kid some carrots. Second note to self, consider covering entire kitchen floor with a plastic sheet before any meal with rice and two kids. Enough said.

This meal makes my people happy, but more importantly it makes ME happy to only cook one dinner. The other night I slaved over this delicious lemony pasta dish only to have Bunky turn her nose at it. I made her wait until I finished eating my bowl before making her dinner #2 which turned out to be a grilled cheese that I burned on one side because I was so annoyed and in a rush. Lucky for her she ate it cause I was not making another. That’s right, I run a tight ship around here. (Yeah, right.)

The great thing about this meal is that IF you can think ahead – and sometimes I actually can – cooking the rice earlier in the day makes it come together pretty quickly. Bonus, if you can cook the chicken or tofu ahead of time, or use leftover chicken, even faster. In my home, I consider it a raging success if I can make dinner within one 20 minute show on Netflix. (Recently, it’s been Horseland, which sounds more tolerable than it actually is. A bunch of Bratz-ish looking hot girls who ride horses and often act catty. Oh, I am nostalgic for the sweet days of Little Bear, sigh.)

Don’t have zucchini or don’t like it? Skip it. Do you find peas and carrots to be a rather banal veggie combo? No problem. Free style it, people. Use what you like and/or what you have. Frozen veggies are awesome because you don’t have to chop or thaw or anything. Just toss right into your hot skillet.

The less work for me, the better. Time is money, right? Or in my case, time is just time and the less of it I spend slaving over a hot stove while kids are screaming and crying in the background the better. Ah, domestic bliss! Well, sometimes, it is.

Thank goodness there are two kits.

Fortunately there are two kits.

Gluten Free Fried Rice, Free Style


  • 4 tsps canola or vegetable oil divided in half (plus more just in case)
  • 1/4 medium onion diced (not for us, alas, but you can!)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb chicken breasts or tofu, cubed (this is optional and totally your call)
  • 1 zucchini or summer squash diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, or any mixed veggie you like! free style it
  • 1/2 cup corn (or not – I opted out because of my picky husband)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger
  • approximately 3 cups of cooked brown rice cooled*
  • 3 tablespoons of gluten free tamari or soy sauce (we use San-J)
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • iceberg lettuce if you want to serve in lettuce cups/wraps


* Cook rice ahead of time and store in fridge to get it cold. I cooked 1.5 cups of long grain brown rice in my rice cooker with 3 cups of water + 1.5 tablespoons of water an hour or so before starting this meal. Fried rice is best prepared with rice that is nicely chilled, similar to white wine, which you should also totally have.

1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil on medium. [Skip to step 2 if you are not using chicken or tofu.] Add diced chicken or tofu and cook until it is cooked through, for chicken, or browned the way you like it, tofu. Remove meat or tofu and set aside in a large serving bowl.

Often, I dice up the chicken into small pieces after cooking. Easier that way.

fried rice prep

Food prep with our over the counter drug stash in the background.

2. Lower temperature to medium low and add onion (if using) and squash to the skillet. If necessary, add another teaspoon of oil. Saute until onions become translucent, then add garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.

If you’re NOT using onions, then saute the squash in oil for about 3 minutes BEFORE adding the garlic. Then add garlic for another minute or so until fragrant. You really don’t want to burn garlic, as it is a total buzz kill and smells awful.

3. Add frozen veggies – peas, carrots, corn, or your choice – to the squash and possible onion/garlic mixture. Continue sauteing until frozen veggies are completely thawed and hot.

fried rice in skillet upgraded

Once cooked, remove veggies and add them to the bowl with chicken or tofu.

4. Add remaining oil, or another 2 teaspoons if you used it all, and then turn heat to medium high. Add the brown rice to the skillet and stir frequently until all the rice is heated through.

5. Return meat/tofu and veggies back to the skillet as well as the 3 tablespoons of tamari. Stir everything until it is well combined. Remove from heat and sprinkle with cilantro. Or not if you forgot to buy cilantro and your kid has an aversion to pieces of added green stuff.

An aerial shot of fried rice on a finger painted paper plate. Fancy, right?

Aerial shot of fried rice on a finger painted paper plate. Fancy, I know.

Serve in bowls or use iceberg lettuce cups/wraps.

Taken by phone while both children screaming.

Taken by phone while both children screaming.

I’m happy to have shared this post at the Gluten-Free Friday’s link up party hosted by Vegetarian Mamma. Click the link to find more great GF recipes!

gf friday badge

24 thoughts on “Gluten Free Fried Rice, Free Style

    • Ha, you were right! We also all eat baked ziti, but as the summer hits I feel less inclined to make that kind of comfort meal. Thanks for the kind words about my words 🙂 I wasn’t sure it would be all that witty as I wrote half of the post standing up and sneaking glances at the baby monitor. Fortunately my little guy took a killer 3 hour nap! He’s one of those babies I didn’t have the first time around and always wondered if the moms were lying about the long naps. Now if only he’d sleep for longer stretches at night…

  1. “consider covering entire kitchen floor with a plastic sheet before any meal” HA! You know, there are professional kitchens with floor that just get spray-washed….

    • Hi Kathleen! Thanks for your comment. It’s very tasty but on the mild side (for my sensitive family) so feel free to up the spice (more ginger, red pepper flakes maybe). Hope you all enjoy it! -Dana

      Sent from my iPhone.

  2. I would LOVE a bowl of this right now! I am hungry!! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Cindy from

  3. Fried rice is the best! For picky eaters and broader palates. But…I made fried buckwheat recently (with my Bob’s Red Mill groats!), and I have to say I might like it even better. We threw in edamame and GF teriyaki sauce and it was awesome. Dunno if you can get your family to eat stir-fried groats, though?

  4. I bought minute brown rice the other day but we haven’t tried it yet. It says gluten free, have you ever used it? Also, what’s your feeling on big companies that say GF on their packaging even though its not necessarily a dedicated facility? I was buying Glutino tortilla chips for the last 5 months but recently our store changed up their (small) GF section and aren’t carrying them now (hate for celiacs to have too many options, grrrrr). I bought some Tostitos and Santitas tortilla chips that say GF but I haven’t tried them yet. Do you have any suggestions for tortilla chips?

    • Hi Hannah,

      I haven’t used Minute brown rice recently, but I think I have in the past. We happen to be using a lot of Lundberg rice products now. We DO buy some products that are made in NON dedicated GF facilities, but I know from talking to people and reading other blogs, that this is a VERY controversial area and it really comes down to each family making the decision that works for them. I know our doctors at the Columbia Celiac Center actually tell us it’s okay to do so, but other celiac doctors do not. Sigh. It’s confusing, isn’t it? There really isn’t a straight answer. Some people say they are so sensitive they can feel the effects of cross contamination from shared facilities and others cannot. Either way, if there IS cross contamination, it’s obviously effecting ALL celiacs internally, which is not good. We have our daughter’s annual celiac appointment coming up and honestly if her blood levels aren’t as awesome as they should be, we will most likely consider opting out of those products with shared facilities.

      We do eat Tostitos chips, and as far as I know they are okay, but like I said, everyone feels differently about stuff.

      When in doubt you can call or email companies and find out about their equipment and facilities – because legally, they are NOT obligated to share that info on packaging (though some do).

      Good luck and I hope you find some decent chips near you! A person should not be without good tortilla chips, in my opinion 🙂


  5. Hey Dana, just thought I’d let you know I’m currently in the process of making this for dinner and it smells amazing! I had some rice I needed to use up and this was the perfect excuse 🙂 Will let you know how it works out – and ps, thanks for the recipe 🙂 🙂 Niki x

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