This Pesto Fried Rice is a delicious twist on a classic dish, with rice, scrambled eggs, fresh pesto, and garden-fresh veggies. While it’s not a traditional recipe, it’s inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of fried rice.
Let me be the first to say that this is obviously not an authentic fried rice recipe.
Fried rice is an delicious cultural dish, and this pesto fried rice is simply a dish inspired by its amazingness. This untraditional twist swaps in pesto and uses garden-fresh vegetables that pair well with the flavors of pesto.
It’s actually a great end-of-summer dish, using all summer produce and herbs.
Why this Pesto Fried Rice Recipe is SO Good!
- It’s an inspired take on traditional fried rice.
- Pesto packs a lot of herby flavor that tastes delicious with the eggs, rice, and vegetables.
- If you garden, it’s a great dish to use a bunch of end-of-summer harvests, like bell peppers, zucchini, and basil.
- It’s a low-cost entree.
- It’s a low-ingredient, low-time recipe – perfect for simple weeknight dinners.
- Versatile – swap in veggies you prefer/ have on hand.
- It’s delicious!
For a full ingredient list with quantities, please check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Butter: you can use another oil, but butter gives this a delicious fried rice taste and feel.
- Eggs: scramble and adds some protein, fats, and micronutrients to bring more balance to this entree.
- Vegetables: I used chopped zucchini, red bell pepper, onion, and frozen peas. All work great is the rice stir fry, and pair beautifully with pesto.
- Chilled rice: long or short grain, just make sure you’re using chilled (not even lukewarm) for the best fried rice texture.
- Pesto: packs in so much flavor and gives this fried rice its big untraditional twist.
For complete instructions, please check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Scramble the eggs in half the butter, then remove and set aside.
- Add remaining butter and sauté vegetables and garlic.
- Once tender, add rice and pesto.
- Turn off the heat and add the eggs back in.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Use a HOT pan to get a good, quick, fried cook on your vegetables and rice.
- The added fat in the pesto will help the rice fry, but if your pesto is lower fat, consider adding a drizzle of olive oil or a pat more butter when you add the pesto and rice.
- You want to stir the rice to let it incorporate, but give it a a couple minutes to just sit on the heat without stirring. This will help you create some crispy fried rice bits that are super delicious.
- Using chilled rice is also essential to let your rice get more fried and crispy.
Substitutions & Variations
- Feel free to swap in your preferred vegetables, or whatever you have on hand. That’s one of the many perks of fried rice – you can easily use what you have!
- Want a higher protein entree? Scramble more eggs, or a mix of eggs and egg whites. Alternatively, you can stir in an additional protein, like chicken or pork. Or, serve this pesto fried rice as a side, like to my pesto-crusted salmon.
- You can use your favorite store bought pesto or homemade, like my lemon pesto (so good here!).
Storage, Freezing, & Reheating
Just like with regular rice, you need to be very careful to quickly cool any leftover pesto fried rice. Spread leftover pesto fried rice onto a baking sheet and pop in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to quickly chill.
Fried rice can then be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated up to 3 days, or it can be frozen up to 3 months.
Let thaw, then reheat in a microwave on high at 30 second intervals. (Microwaves vary, but it’ll likely take 1-3 minutes, depending on the microwave and amount being reheated.) They can also be reheated in a skillet – you may need to add a splash or two of water or broth to add back a little more moisture.
Supplies You’ll Need
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More Pesto Recipes You’ll Love
- Nut-Free Pesto
- Pesto Chicken Wrap
- Pasta al Pesto with Blistered Tomatoes
- Pesto Crusted Salmon
- Lemon Pesto
- Pesto Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
- Nectarine Caprese Salad
- Chick Pesto Sliders
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Pesto Fried Rice
- 2 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 large eggs whisked
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 zucchini chopped
- ½ white onion chopped
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 cups rice cooked, chilled
- ⅓ cup pesto
- Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over high heat. Scramble the eggs, then remove from pan and set aside.2 tablespoons butter, 2 large eggs
- Add the other tablespoon of butter in the skillet, then add the bell pepper, zucchini, onion, peas, and garlic. Sauté 4-5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.2 tablespoons butter, 1 red bell pepper, 1 zucchini, 1/2 white onion, 1/2 cup frozen peas, 1 clove garlic
- Add chilled rice and pesto, toss to combine, then let sit for a couple minutes to let the rice fry and get some crispy bits. Pesto is normally high fat, but if yours is low fat, consider adding a drizzle of olive oil or pat more butter to help fry the rice.4 cups rice, 1/3 cup pesto
- Turn the heat off, add the scrambled eggs back to the pan, and toss to combine. Serve warm and enjoy!