Get Cozy And Comfortable With This Warm Tomato Fried Rice Salad

With this tomato fried rice salad, you can adjust most of the ingredients to your whim. Got leftovers hanging around? Lay them right on top of a bed of warm, savory rice!

Video Transcript

JUNE XIE: Hi, guys. Today I'm bringing you a dish inspired by the leftovers that I have in my fridge, in my pantry, and whatever else you got going on.

Because, you know, they're leftovers. But they're still food, and we're going to make them as delicious as they possibly can.

In my case, I have some leftover brown rice that I cooked a couple of days ago, and I also found this open jar of tomato paste. And I thought, tomato rice.

But also, it can't just be tomato rice. I mean, you can just mix them together. But I thought, what if you fried the rice and flavored it with a tomato paste, and then added stuff to that to make it a full meal?

A balanced one with vegetables, preferably, and maybe a little bit of cheese. So in addition to that tomato fried rice, we're also going to be using some massaged kale to make a little warm green salad of sorts.

And then I'm going to top it with other stuff that I found in my fridge, that you can substitute in and out for anything that you have on hand.

I love recipes that give you options. And this recipe is intended to give you lots of options. If you don't have feta cheese, or olives, or raw onions, or if you just don't like any of those, you can top this recipe with anything you can find and you love.

So it could be canned beans, it could be leftover roasted butternut squash, it can be-- I don't know. Potato chips? You do you.

For my version of the recipe today, I'll be using some kale, because I have it on hand. But you can also substitute any other salad greens, you just won't have to massage them like we're doing with the kale.

Because kale is quite tough and fibrous, massaging them will tenderize the leaves and make them much more palatable to eat raw without cooking.

If you're using greens that are more tender and way softer and way more fragile, like arugula or baby spinach, go ahead and just dress them very lightly in our olive oil and seasonings and give them a little light toss.

No need to really work it in, you'll end up bruising the lease way too much that way. So if you're ready to make some tomato fried rice kale salad, come along with me.

First thing I'm going to do is, I'm going to wash my kale very carefully so that there's no grit remaining. I'm going to shake it dry completely, and then pat it dry for extra, extra insurance.

We don't want any wetness to this, because that will prevent the oils from really soaking into the leaves. So pat them dry with paper towels completely.

Here's a pro tip for you. These paper towels are wet, but they are still relatively clean. So I like to set them aside, let them dry off, and they're perfect for wiping up messes on the counter. Give them a second life.

And then we're going to be stripping the leaves from the stems. You want to make sure that you're getting all the fiber stem out, because we don't want the leaves to be tough at all.

If you see vein stems like this, do your best to try to rip it out now. That way, we don't have to chew until our job breaks off.

Now the stems are interesting. They're fibrous, but if you cut them thin enough, they're actually quite crunchy and nice, and you don't even have to cook them.

So if you're into texture, go ahead and chop those stems up into tiny little bites, and then you can throw them in with your kale leaves as well.

But leaves themselves are a little bit nutty, a little bit bitter, and almost a little bit spicy. But the stems are actually quite sweet. They taste a bit like a combination between a parsnip and an apple.

We're going to be tearing the kale leaves into bit-sized pieces. And then we're going to be drizzling that whole mixture with some olive oil, salt, and spices.

You can use whatever seasonings you want or have on hand. I'm going to go with some Italian seasoning today. A little bit of our herbaceous-ness in here.

Once all of your ingredients are in that bowl, just go in with clean hands and start massaging it in. I want you to use your fingers to really get into the leaves.

We're trying to work in the salt, work in the seasoning, and work in the oils. The leaves are going to start turning a little bit translucent, and you'll see that they start to soften and get less tough over time.

After about five minutes of massaging, you can see that the volume of the leaves has decreased, and the leaves themselves are starting to turn a little bit more translucent. That means you've bruised it enough, and all of the flavors are getting absorbed into that leaf. Perfect.

Meanwhile, we're going to move on to our rice. In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, we're going to drop in some olive oil, and then we're going to go in with hunks of garlic.

I love hunks of garlic because they don't burn easily and they add a very nice garlicky essence, and you get a little bit of like a chewy garlic snack.

We're going to go in with some tomato paste as well. We're going to go in with some sugar and gochugaru, which is a Korean chili pepper powder.

If you don't have it, you can use some red chili pepper flakes or just skip it altogether.

I'm also going to add in a little bit of onion powder, just to give it that extra umami savoriness. In addition, add in a little bit of salt and pepper to taste.

And then we're going to stir that all together until the tomato paste gets a little bit nice and caramelized. You don't want it burnt, you just wanted to develop a little bit deeper of a flavor.

Once that's all nice and toasty, I'm going to add in my rice. Today I'm using some brown glutinous rice. I find that it's the perfect texture for me.

But, if you have white rice, go ahead and use that. If you have farro, go ahead and use that. You can use whatever grains you want.

We're going to stir that mixture until the tomato paste is coating all the rice grains evenly. Once that happens, we're going to stir occasionally, making sure nothing is sticking or burning, and letting that rice toast up and warm through all over.

We wait until that rice is getting slightly nice and crispy, and then we remove it from the heat and we plate.

To plate, I just take a bunch of my massaged kale, top it with my desired amount of fried rice. And then go crazy with our toppings.

Again, take your liberties here. Do what you want to do, eat what you want to eat, garnish it however you want. And there you have it. Tomato fried rice with kale. And it's the perfect, perfect meal to clean out your fridge with.

The brininess of the olives. The creaminess against that rice that's slightly chewy, umami, tomatoey, with the salty, creamy burst from the feta and the crunchy, crunchy kale. And the onions.

The rice is still warm. What can I say? Garlic. Perfection. Delicious.

If you've made this recipe, and you loved it, or you hated it, let us know down below. And also let us know what substitutions you made, because I want to know all the different combos that you've tried and loved.

Thanks for tuning in. Thanks for cooking with us. And I'll see you guys next time.