PESTO FRIED RICE WITH VEGETABLES, Pesto Fried Rice is a vibrant summer vegetable dish topped with herby basil pesto. In less than 30 minutes, you can have a delicious, fuss-free meal! Gluten-free and vegan.
Say hello to Pesto Fried Rice, my new favorite summer food! It’s fragrant, herbaceous, and colorful, thanks to the brilliant summer veggies. The flavors are reminiscent of a great veggie fried rice with a faint resemblance to pesto risotto, but the texture is dry and crunchy rather than creamy. I guarantee you’ll love every grain of this pesto-coated toasted rice.
Fried rice is a popular dish in many Asian countries, although its origins may be traced back to China. This interesting variant is more of an Asian-Italian fusion meal, blending crispy, fragrant rice with buttery basil pesto and a rainbow of summer vegetables!
INGREDIENTS FOR PESTO FRIED RICE WITH VEGETABLES
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 4 cups (500 g) cooked day-old white or brown rice
- 1/2 cup (115 g) Vegan Nut-Free Pesto(Italian sauce) or use store-bought
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 ounces (280 g) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 10–12 kalamata olives chopped (optional)
- 1 small zucchini(ghea tori) sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup (145 g) frozen peas
- 2 ounces (55 g) of baby spinach
- Optional Toppings: pine nuts, fresh basil, and/or red chili flakes
- Toast the Rice: Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Cook for 8 to 9 minutes, stirring only every 2 to 3 minutes to make sure the rice gets nicely browned and toasty. Season with a pinch of salt, then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Cook the Veggies: Reduce the heat to medium-high, then warm the remaining teaspoon of oil in the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of pesto along with the garlic and sauté for 45 to 60 seconds, until the pesto turns bright green. Then, add the cherry tomatoes and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the zucchini, olives, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, then sauté for an additional 5 to 6 minutes, until most of the extra liquid cooks off.
- Add the Rice: return the rice to the pan, along with the peas and pesto. Stir well, then reduce the heat to low. Fold in the spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted and the rice is warm. Season with additional salt, if necessary.
- Serve: Transfer the rice to serving plates and top with fresh basil, pine nuts, and/or red chili flakes. Serve warm.