Raid the Fridge for This Low-Waste Fried Rice Recipe

Last Update: March 22, 2024

Tossing those broccoli stems and kale ribs into the compost bin is the second-best thing you can do with your vegetable scraps. The first? Eating them. Really!

This adaptable fried rice recipe helps you clean out the fridge and cut back on waste. Do it your way with whatever vegetable odds and ends you have in the crisper drawer and your choice of cooked protein, and top it all off with a simple, savory stir-fry sauce you’ll want to use again and again. 

For more low-waste recipes to try this Earth Month (or any time), raid the fridge to make veggie burgers or chicken tacos.

Low-Waste Fried Rice Recipe

Yield: 2-3 servings
Total time: 40 minutes


2 cups leftover cooked, cooled rice (at least one day old; jasmine or basmati work well, but use what you have)
2 whole eggs, whisked
2 cups hardy vegetable scraps, sliced (broccoli stalks, chard/kale stems, limp carrots, hardy outer green cabbage leaves, etc.)
1/4 cup yellow or white onion, minced (pro tip: you can grate the root ends that are hard to chop instead of throwing them out)
4-5 oz cooked protein of choice (leftover chicken, shrimp, etc.), chopped or shredded into bite-sized pieces
2-4 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 green onions (greens and/or whites) separated and chopped
1/3 cup frozen small vegetables of choice (peas, corn, carrots, etc., or a mix)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems 
2-3 tablespoons Thrive Market Avocado Oil
1 ½ tablespoons Thrive Market Organic Coconut Aminos
1 tablespoon Thrive Market Rice Vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil 
Optional: 1-2 tablespoons minced ginger or lemongrass (can also be used in place of garlic)
Optional: Soft greens, such as spinach, arugula, or fresh herbs 


Bring a medium-sized pot of lightly salted water to a boil. 

While the water is boiling, gather all the hardy vegetables and prepare: peel outer skin and slice up broccoli stems, slice carrots and chard stems, tear the rough outer cabbage leaves into pieces, etc. Once water is boiling, quickly blanch the vegetable scraps until just cooked through and bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the vegetable scraps well and set aside. 

Mix the vinegar, coconut aminos, and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a wok or large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add a splash of avocado oil. Add whisked eggs and scramble until almost set, then remove from pan and set aside. Wipe out the pan with paper towel.

Add another splash of avocado oil, then add the blanched vegetable scraps and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until slightly charred on edges and warmed through. Transfer to a container and set aside.

Add another splash of avocado oil, then add diced/shredded protein of choice and saute for 2 to 3 minutes till slightly golden on edges and warmed through. Transfer to a container and set aside. 

Add a tablespoon of avocado oil to the pan, then add the aromatics (garlic, onion, whites of green onion, and ginger/lemongrass if using). Saute until slightly soft and browned, but not too dark, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the rice, stir once, then let it sit for 30 seconds to allow the rice to get slightly golden. Mix again, then let it sit for another 30 seconds. Do this a few more times, for 2 to 3 minutes total.

Once the rice is fully heated through, add the frozen peas, scrambled egg, protein, and vegetables. Stir to fully mix and warm everything through. Add cilantro, green parts of green onions, and any other soft greens you have on hand, such as spinach or herbs.

Add the vinegar, coconut amino, and sesame oil mixture and stir until thoroughly coated.

Recipe credit: Aubrey Devin

Photo credit: Elisha Knight

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Kirby Stirland

Kirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.

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