Make: Smoked Turkey Fried Rice

A heartier, healthier riff on a classic takeout dish

In high school my mom would take me to our local Chinese restaurant after softball games. I would get General Tso’s chicken, an egg roll and some amazing house fried rice. If you’re in high school, go drink a milkshake and thank your lucky stars that you have a rocking metabolism. If you’re older than 21, then you can lament the old days with me as we eat our plain Greek yogurt and raw almonds.

It sounds like I’m being a Negative Nancy, so I should explain that most days I love eating whole, “real” foods and that my physical, emotional and mental self is much happier for it. Sometimes, though, I miss the foods on the no-no list. You know, ranch dressing, chicken fingers, nacho cheese Doritos. Fried Rice used to reside on this list for me. But thankfully, I found a much healthier, low-cal version that’s just as delicious.

The trick for making fried rice is to start with old rice. If you have leftover brown rice from takeout or a previous dinner, you’re in great shape. If you don’t have leftovers, see the tip below for faking it. And why brown rice? Does it really make a difference? Brown rice has the outer coating, or bran, still intact. This makes it heartier because of the increased fiber. The calories are pretty much the same, but the fiber in brown rice may help you eat less as it fills you up quicker.

The dish itself is highly customizable; swap the smoked turkey for shrimp or chicken, or use a different green veggie (small broccoli florets, snap or snow peas, or asparagus). Each ingredient here is real food and it comes together in a seemingly indulgent, comforting and quite addictive way. Thank my lucky stars.

Smoked Turkey Fried Rice
Serves four

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large (or two medium) garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger (or ½ tsp. ground ginger)
½ cup sliced scallions
3½ to 4 cups cooked, cold brown rice *
¾ cup frozen peas
1 egg
7 ounces of smoked turkey breast (pre-cooked), chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
¼ teaspoon black pepper

*Boil 1¾ cup water and add 1 cup dry rice. Reduce heat to low and simmer rice (with the lid on) for about 35 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. If making the fried rice the next day, store in Tupperware in the fridge. If making it within an hour or two, spread rice on a greased cookie sheet and refrigerate until cool.

1. Heat oil in wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add garlic and ginger and sauté, stirring, for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Careful not to let it brown! Once it turns lightly golden move to the next step.
3. Add scallions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for several minutes or until softened.
4. Add rice and peas and stir to break up clumps. Cook until hot.
5. Make a well (push the contents of the pan to the sides, leaving a hole in the center) and crack the egg into the pan. Scramble the egg with the cooking spoon and when it’s almost all the way set, stir throughout the rice.
6. Add turkey and stir to combine; let cook several minutes until turkey is heated through.
7. Add soy sauce and pepper; stir to combine.
8. Divide rice among plates and serve hot.

Per serving: 372 calories, 10 fat grams, 1.2 grams saturated fat, 51 grams carbohydrates, 5.1 grams fiber, 18 grams protein.

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Becca Boyd is a wife and new mom who teaches culinary courses to students at Radnor High School. She creates healthy and delicious recipes in her West Chester kitchen and blogs about them on her website, Home Beccanomics.