Paleo pineapple fried rice is a delicious, healthier version of Asian take-out. Make this cauliflower rice recipe in only 20 minutes!
Welcome to easy prep/easy recipe month! When recipes are easy to prep and have a short cook time, they usually become a staple in my weekly menu. It gets even better when those same meals are also budget friendly! I can hear the cheering now!
30-minute meals can save you SO much time, especially when you have a busy schedule. Please don’t fall into the trap of believing that quick and easy meals can’t be nourishing, though! Honestly, it’s all about choosing healthy ingredients.
The building blocks of a nourishing meal:
Use fresh produce, whole grains, sources of lean protein, and healthy starches.
One question I hear often is,
How can I make Asian take-out meals healthier?
I get it. Asian foods, especially those with sweet and spicy flavors, are a favorite of mine, too. But more often than not, those sweet sauces are full of refined white sugar.
This is especially true for store bought sauces like sweet and sour, teriyaki, and yum yum sauce.
Add unhealthy saturated fats and high glycemic starches to the mix, and your favorite carry-out foods are basically empty calories.
No worries; they can be nourishing… Let me show you how!
Cauliflower Pineapple Fried Rice
This is a healthier version of fried rice that you will want to make over and over again. Paleo pineapple fried rice is:
- Quick– From pan to plate, you’re looking at 15 minutes to make dinner!
- Easy meal prep– Save yourself time by doing some of the prep on a less busy day. Then, pull everything out of the freezer or fridge on a busy night.
- Budget friendly– No expensive specialty ingredients needed. Even better, you can save money by using frozen peas and carrots. Also, making cauliflower rice instead of buying it pre-made is a huge money saver!
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- cauliflower rice– If you prefer to make your own, you’ll need 1 small head of cauliflower. You can see instructions for making cauliflower rice in my riced veggies post.
- large eggs– Although they are a staple in pineapple fried rice, you can certainly omit the eggs if you need to.
- sesame oil– For the majority of my recipes, I say that any cooking oil works, but with Asian recipes, using sesame oil is really key to developing the correct flavor.
- fresh garlic cloves– You can use minced garlic from a jar if necessary.
- scallions– You’ll need to divide the white and green portions.
- fresh ginger– Using fresh ginger really enhances the flavor of the dish. If you can’t find any fresh ginger, use 1/4 teaspoon of ginger spice instead.
- frozen peas and carrots mix– I like to use a frozen veggie mix because the carrots are the perfect size for stir frying. If you want to use fresh, just partially cook them first.
- tamari sauce– this is our go-to gluten-free substitute for soy sauce. Otherwise, gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos can be used.
- crushed red pepper flakes- Feel free to use more or less to increase or decrease the spice level.
- diced pineapple– Feel free to use either fresh or canned pineapple chunks. Reserve the juice if you have any.
How to make fried rice with cauliflower
One of the keys to making perfect fried rice is chilling the rice overnight. So, we make this healthy fried rice the same way.
Whether you buy it ready to use or you make your own cauliflower rice is completely up to you.
Either way, you’ll want to bake it off in the oven first, then pop it in the fridge until it’s cold. It takes about 6 hours to chill, so I usually do this step the night before I make the pineapple fried rice.
CHILLING IS IMPORTANT!
If you try to make this recipe without chilling the cauliflower rice first, you may be disappointed. Your dish will be tasty, but the consistency will be nothing like authentic fried rice.
Easy Meal Prep!
This recipe really is perfect for easy meal prep! Not just because you can make portions of it ahead of time, but also because so many of the ingredients can be purchased ready to use.
It’s QUICK and EASY too! If you use prepared cauliflower rice, the dish comes together in only 20 minutes.
If you would rather use fresh carrots, you can do so. When you’re dicing, just be sure to keep the pieces as close in size as possible. Otherwise, you may end up over or undercooking some of them.
How to serve pineapple fried rice
This dish is pretty versatile! It’s great on its own for a meatless meal. I like to add chopped cashews for a bit of protein, then I serve it with yum yum sauce over the top. It’s delicious, nourishing and filling!
Another source of plant-based protein would be great too, like chickpea or cultured tempeh.
As written, the recipe makes enough to serve 3 to 4 people as a main dish. Serving size is 2 cups each.
Paleo pineapple fried rice is a delicious and healthier version of Chinese carry-out. Make this cauliflower rice recipe in under 15 minutes!
- 4 cups cauliflower rice (1 small head of cauliflower) *see notes
- 2 large eggs, beaten (plus oil for cooking)
- 2 tbsp sesame oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 5 small green onions (white and green portions divided)
- 3 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix, thawed
- 3 tbsp tamari sauce, gluten free soy sauce, or coconut aminos
- 1 pinch kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2/3 cup diced pineapple– reserve 1 tbsp pineapple juice if you have any
- 3 oz cooked chicken breast
- yum yum sauce
- 2 tbsp chopped cashews
- The day before you make this recipe, bake and chill the cauliflower rice. See notes for more info.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and set aside.
- Heat a large saute pan or wok over medium heat and add 1 tsp oil. Add and scramble eggs, stirring occasionally. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate. Wipe the pan clean.
- Next, add 1 tsp each sesame oil, garlic, and ginger, and 1/4 cup white portion of green onions to the pan. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and softened but not browned.
- Return pan to medium high heat and add thawed peas/carrots and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Mix in cauliflower rice, tamari sauce, salt, red pepper, pineapple (and juice),and additional 1 tsp sesame oil and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
- Add the scrambled egg and mix to combine.
- Remove from heat and stir in remaining green onions.
- If there is any sauce left in the skillet or wok, pour that on top of your bowl before serving.
- Top with optional crushed nuts and yum yum sauce. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
To make Cauliflower Rice: Chop cauliflower head in half and cut off stems. Place half in a food processor or blender and pulse until it’s “riced.” Then do the other half. See this post for how to rice veggies.
For best “fried rice”, bake cauliflower rice in the oven on a sheet pan for 18 minutes at 350°F. Let it cool, then store in a container in the fridge until ready to use. Best made the day before.
- Category: Dinners
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Asian
Keywords: pineapple fried rice, pineapple rice, healthy fried rice, cauliflower rice, Paleo, gluten free
Okay ya’ll. Let’s dig in already, mmm k? I think Friday movie night in with homemade Chinese takeout is gonna happen.
Have you made cauliflower fried rice before?
P.S. If you are wondering if cooked peas are paleo, that’s still a debate. I say yes.
Hint —> Lower phytate content and easier on digestion = WINNING!
This post was originally published on 6/3/2013. Recipe, images and content were updated and republished on 3/3/2021.