Stem and Core Fried Rice

end bits fried rice v1.jpg

Continuing on the theme of #quarantinecooking, it’s the perfect opportunity to share a recipe for the James Beard Foundation’s #WasteNotWednesday.  I’m passionate about reducing food waste, which has impacts not only on our food supply, but on climate change and sustainability.  In fact, tonight was supposed to be a new class in the Thrive Kitchen, which is of course cancelled due to Covid-19.  Rather than feeling sad about cancelling my favorite day of the month, I decided to share one of the recipes I created for the class.  I made a cruciferous vegetable-based fried rice that uses only the parts of the vegetables we normally discard.


This recipe is adapted from one that my kids brought home from their elementary school, years ago. I was what could be considered a “super volunteer” in those years.  I worked part-time then, and gave up my role as a voluntary faculty member at the local medical school to volunteer with my kids and their classmates instead.  I chaperoned at least 3 dozen field trips, and also spent time helping out in the classroom.  My kids were both lucky to have a few teachers who enjoyed cooking and seamlessly worked in cooking with lessons in math, science, and more.  This was one of the recipes, for “Brassica Fried Rice,” from the former Education Outside, a nonprofit that provided experiential science and environmental education with school gardens in San Francisco public schools.  At the time, I didn’t even know what “brassica” meant! I’ve adapted the recipe to use hearty short-grain brown rice for added nutrition and toothsomeness, and used the normally discarded stems and cores of brassica vegetables, which are too strong-tasting to use in stock, but perfectly crunchy and sweet here.  Especially now, be versatile with the vegetables you use– any greens will work, and of course you can supplement with not just the stems and cores, but the leaves as well.

Stem and Core Fried Rice                                          

Serves: 8


3T low sodium soy sauce

2 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

3 T canola oil, divided

4 eggs, beaten (for vegan version: substitute 2 cups crumbled extra-firm tofu or chopped yuba)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced

4 cups of stems or cores of Brassica vegetables, such as kale, cauliflower, collards or cabbage, chopped or sliced into 1 inch dice or pieces (if using tough skinned stems from broccoli or cauliflower, peel before dicing)

4 cups cold, leftover short-grain brown rice (preferably not jasmine or basmati)

4 green onions, thinly sliced into rings

salt to taste

Garnishes: cilantro, Chinese chives, or other herbs


  1. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat.Add 2 T of oil.
  3. Add eggs and scramble until medium firm. Break into small pieces with a wooden spoon. (If using tofu, crumble and then fry until slightly brown. If using yuba, skip this step.) Remove and set aside.
  4. Take the pan off heat and wipe it out with a paper towel. Heat again over high heat.Add remaining 1 T of oil.
  5. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 5 seconds.
  6. Add diced vegetables and stir-fry until al dente, about a minute or two.
  7. Add rice. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up clumps. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes until grains are separate and interspersed with the vegetables.
  8. Lower heat to medium, add prepared sauce, and stir-fry until the rice is coated, another 1-2 minutes.
  9. Add eggs (or tofu or yuba) and green onions. Adjust salt to taste.
  10. Remove from pot and garnish with herbs. Serve with Sriracha or your favorite chili sauce.


Thanks for coming by! I hope you found this helpful.  Please stay in touch for more healthy home cooking tips and recipes.  ICYMI and are looking for more ways to cook from your pantry, please take a look at my resource guide and share with anyone who you think might find it helpful! And please stay in touch!

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I hope Thrive Kitchen can start up again soon, and that you’ll join me to cook together!

Cookbook coming soon! Spicebox Kitchen, Da Capo Press, 2021


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