Healthier Kimchi Fried Rice in a bowl

Last Sunday I took to Instagram Stories to poll my peeps on their thoughts about kimchi. The options were: heck yes or hell no, and the result? Majority “heck yes”.


What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is fermented vegetables, mostly cabbage, flavored with chiles, onions, ginger, and garlic. Its intimidating-looking, no doubt, but if you can get past its appearance, you’ll be won over by its flavor, which is like saurkraut with a spicy kick. Kimchi gives dishes like fried rice new life – that said, trust me when I tell you that Healthier Kimchi Fried Rice is a major upgrade from the original!

Jar of kimchi

This recipe concept came to me a few years ago by way of the New York Times. What can I say, if the NYT tells me to cook something, I usually do it. (You haven’t lived until you’ve tried their Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe!)

Their suggestion to toss chopped kimchi into a wok of fried rice with SPAM sounded just crazy enough to work. That said, over the past couple of years I’ve swapped in everything from chopped smoked ribs to cooked bacon, but have settled on diced kielbasa as my favorite. Its salty, smoky flavor is perfection when paired with the spicy, sour kimchi.

I also “healthified” the recipe a bit by cutting half the white rice with cauliflower rice. This is a trick I use ALL THE TIME on my family when serving fried rice or a rice-pilaf type dish, and they are none the wiser.

Close up photo of bowl of fried rice

How to Make This Recipe

Start by heating a large wok over high heat then melt 3 Tablespoons butter (or vegan butter) inside. Add 1 chopped shallot or 3 chopped green onions then saute until softened, 1-2 minutes. Butter may seem like an odd fat to stir fry with but it pairs SO well with the kimchi.

Next chop 1 packed cup kimchi then measure out 1 Tablespoon of the packing liquid. Kimchi is not the most photogenic ingredient, but don’t judge this book by its cover! We usually use Mother In Law’s Kimchi which I find at Whole Foods.

Add the chopped kimchi and liquid to the wok then stir fry to heat through. Next add 7oz diced kielbasa then stir fry until the mixture is mostly dry and the kielbasa is golden brown, 5 minutes or so.

Turn the heat down to medium then add 2 cups cauliflower rice to the wok. I use the grating blade attachment that came with my food processor to rice the cauliflower, but you could use store-bought fresh or frozen riced cauliflower too.

Also add 2 cups cooked white rice then drizzle in 1 teaspoon sesame oil and a few turns of the pan of gluten-free Tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using traditional soy sauce). Stir fry until the cauliflower rice is cooked through, 3-4 minutes.

Last step is to push the fried rice to the sides of the wok then drizzle in 2 eggs that have been whisked with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Scramble the eggs then toss with the rice to combine.

That’s all she wrote! Let the stir fry cool for 5-10 minutes (you can really taste everything so much better, including the butter – YUM – when it’s cooled off a touch,) then scoop into bowls and serve. I hope you LOVE this healthier, totally fun take on fried rice! Enjoy!

Overhead photo of kimchi fried rice with chopsticks

Similar Recipes

Healthier Kimchi Fried Rice

5/5 (3 REVIEWS)


Healthier Kimchi Fried Rice is undeniably delicious! Mix white rice and cauliflower rice to get this tasty dinner recipe on the table in minutes.


serves 3-4

  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice
  • 3 Tablespoons butter or vegan butter
  • 1 shallot or 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 packed cup kimchi, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon kimchi liquid
  • 7oz kielbasa, sliced into quarters then diced
  • 2 cups cauliflower rice (~1/4 large head cauliflower)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon gluten-free Tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using traditional soy sauce)


  1. Add rice to a small saucepan with a scant 1-1/3 cups water. Bring to a boil then place a lid on top, turn the heat down to medium-low, then simmer for 10 minutes (water should barely be bubbling). Remove pan from heat then let rice sit and steam for 3 minutes before scooping and spreading out onto a large plate to cool. Once cool, measure out 2 cups then use the remaining 1/2 cup or so for another dish (or just add to this dish and slightly increase amount of Tamari/kimchi, etc.)
  2. Add eggs and 1 teaspoon sesame oil to a small bowl then whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. Heat a large wok over high heat. Add butter then, once melted, add shallots or green onions and stir fry until slightly tender, 1-2 minutes. Add kimchi and kimchi liquid then stir and heat through, 30 seconds, before adding kielbasa. Stir fry until mixture is mostly dry and kielbasa is golden brown, 5 minutes.
  4. Turn heat down to medium then add rice and cauliflower rice. Mix to combine then add remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil and go around the wok a few times with Tamari - I usually add about 1 Tablespoon. Stir fry until cauliflower rice is tender, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Push fried rice to the sides of the wok to form a well in the center then pour the egg mixture inside. Scramble eggs then toss with the rice to combine.
  6. Let fried rice cool for 10 minutes or so before tasting and adding additional tamari if necessary. Scoop into bowls then serve.


  • You could use 2 cups leftover rice instead of cooking some fresh.
  • Swap in store-bought riced or crumbled cauliflower to make this dish come together even faster.
Slightly adapted from New York Times

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

photo collage of healthier kimchi fried rice