Vegan nasi goreng is an Indonesian recipe that only takes 15 minutes to make! We’ve been working hard to learn all we can about Balinese food while living in Bali.
Nasi goreng means ‘fried rice’ in Indonesian, and it’s a dish that is traditionally served with a fried egg and sambal. Of course, it usually has meat in too, but this is our authentic vegan take on it. You could even try Vegan Mi Goreng, which is another classic Indonesian dish.
You might not be surprised to learn that we’re spending time at cooking classes, trying to learn as much as we can. And then creating the best vegan Indonesian recipes for you!
🤔 What is Nasi Goreng?
Nasi goreng is a fragrant Indonesian fried rice dish, traditionally made with leftover rice from the previous day. It contains veggies and is often served with a fried egg and sambal.
It’s different to other types of fried rice because it’s made with kecap manis, which is a sweet soy sauce that gives the rice a lovely golden glow. Kecap manis is pronounced 'Keh-chap man-iss', in case you were wondering!
Our nasi goreng is a vegan recipe; we use delicious tempeh instead of meat, and we’ve added a vegan fried egg too! Purely for effect, well, because anything you can have, we can have vegan!
👨🍳 Expert Tips
Kecap manis (pronounced ‘keh-chap man-iss’ as we learned when we pronounced it wrong at a Balinese cooking school!) is an Indonesian soy sauce, and it’s what gives this vegetable nasi goreng its unique flavour.
You can usually find kecap manis in the supermarket in the Asian or world foods section. If you can’t get it you can recreate the syruppy consistency and sweet flavour by mixing 1 tablespoon of soy sauce with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.
Wait, is that a vegan fried egg?!
It is - anything you can make, we can make vegan! Traditionally, nasi goreng is served with a fried egg, prawn crackers, satay sticks and salad. If you want something truly special, we’d recommend going all out and having the whole shabang!
If you’d like to serve your vegan nasi goreng with a vegan fried egg we’ve linked to an awesome recipe below.
Vegan nasi goreng is a great way to use up your leftover rice from the day before. In fact, the recipe actually works much better with day old rice that’s been cooked and then stored in the fridge.
The fact that the rice has gone slightly hard means that it will absorb the sauce better. If you tried this recipe with fresh rice, you’d end up with a plate full of mushy rice. It would still taste good, but not as good!
To present vegetable nasi goreng in the traditional Indonesian style, press the finished nasi goreng into a small bowl or a tea cup. Then turn it out onto a plate (as shown in the photos) and serve with salad, vegan fried egg and satay skewers arranged around the edge of the plate next to it.
To make vegan nasi goreng you will need:
- 150g tempeh - chopped into chunks.
- 4tbsp of kecap manis.
- 200g carrots (roughly 2 carrots) - chopped into small cubes, about 1cm.
- 250g green beans - chopped into small 1cm chunks.
- 1 red pepper - chopped into small 1cm cubes.
- 1 onion - chopped into small pieces.
- 4 cloves of garlic - peeled and crushed.
- 2 cups/370g of rice (dry weight) - ideally cooked the day before and kept in the fridge overnight.
- 3 tbsp soy sauce.
- 1 tsp chilli paste (or an Indonesian sambal is even better, if you can find it)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil.
- Spring onions.
- Rice crackers (or vegan prawn/shrimp crackers).
- Vegan fried egg.
- Sesame seeds.
For equipment recommendations and details on where you can get hold of the things you might not be able to spot in a supermarket, keep reading until the end of the article.
- First take your tempeh, and fry it in a splash of oil until it starts to brown.
- Add 1 tbsp of kecap manis to the pan and fry for another couple of minutes. Remove the tempeh from the pan and set aside.
- Fry your onion over a medium heat until translucent, and then add the garlic. Keep them moving, and be careful not to burn them.
- Add the carrot, peppers and green beans to the pan and stir fry for a few minutes.
- Take the tempeh that you set aside earlier and add it back to the pan. Give everything a good mix.
- Now it’s time to make the sauce that gives vegan nasi goreng its signature flavour. It’s really simple… just mix together the remaining kecap manis, soy sauce and chili paste in a small pot.
- Add your rice to the pan and give it a good stir.
- Finally, add the sauce to the pan, mix well, and serve with salad, vegan fried egg, extra sambal and rice crackers.
🍛 What to serve with it
Nasi goreng is traditionally served with a fried egg, so if you want a traditional experience we’d really recommend serving your vegan nasi goreng with a vegan fried egg!
Satay (or ‘sate’) is a staple in Bali and Indonesia, and it’s absolutely delicious with nasi goreng. Serving it up alongside this is a no-brainer.
Other recipes to try
If you like our vegetable nasi goreng, then you’ll love these recipes too!
- Vegan Mi Goreng
- Balinese Vegetable Curry
- Pineapple fried rice
- Vegan egg fried rice
- Kimchi fried rice
- Tofu satay curry
- Vegan Gado Gado
We don’t advise that you use freshly cooked rice to make vegan nasi goreng, as it will go mushy and won’t absorb the sauce as well.
It’s best to use leftover rice from the previous day that’s been kept in the fridge overnight, but if you can’t do this then cook some rice and pop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours before adding it to the wok. This is to give it the time to dry out properly, so that it absorbs the sauce well when cooked.
If you can’t get hold of any kecap manis then you can replace it with a mixture of soy sauce and maple syrup. For this recipe, increase the amount of soy sauce by 1 tablespoon and add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.
If you don’t fancy using tempeh you can use either tofu or a vegan chicken replacement instead.
Tempeh is a common ingredient in Indonesia and it’s really tasty. However, sometimes the tempeh in the UK can taste a little too fermented (or funky!) in our opinion. Definitely try tempeh at least once though!
It does! This keeps well in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating in the microwave. It's hard to heat up cold rice on the hob without it all breaking up and going mushy.
🍽 Equipment and suggested products
Kecap manis is the syrupy, sweet, Indonesian soy sauce that gives this dish its unique flavour. It’s possible to use a mixture of soy sauce and maple syrup, but we’d recommend trying the real thing if you want an authentic vegan nasi goreng.
Tempeh is a staple ingredient in Indonesian cooking. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans which makes it a great source of protein. The difference is that the soybeans used for tempeh have been fermented, which gives it a nutty, chewy texture and umami flavour.
Woks are an essential if you want to make any kind of fried rice or stir fry because they are the only type of pan that gets hot enough all over to cook the ingredients in the right way.
Of course, it’s possible to cook rice in a saucepan but we really love using a rice cooker because it guarantees perfect results every time. Not only that but you can set it on a timer, so you can leave your rice cooking while you’re out and about.
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Nasi Goreng is a classic Indonesian fried rice, it’s wonderfully simple and takes just 15 minutes to make! Perfect for a midweek dinner, or when you’re in a rush.
- 1 tbsp sesame oil.
- 150g tempeh - chopped into chunks.
- 200g carrots (roughly 2 carrots) - chopped into small cubes, about 1cm
- 250g green beans - chopped into small 1cm chunks
- 1 red pepper - chopped into small 1cm cubes
- 1 onion - chopped into small 0.5cm pieces
- 4 cloves of garlic - peeled and crushed
- 2 cups/370g of cooked rice (dry weight) - cooked the day before and kept in the fridge overnight
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp kecap manis
- 1 tsp chilli paste (or an Indonesian sambal is even better, if you have it)
- Finely sliced spring onions.
- Cucumber slices
- Tomato slices
- Rice crackers (or vegan prawn/shrimp crackers)
- Sesame seeds
- Sambal (or chilli sauce)
- Heat up the wok and add the sesame oil, once hot add the tempeh.
- Pour in 1 tbsp of kecap manis and fry for another couple of minutes, until the tempeh becomes sticky and then golden. Remove the tempeh from the wok and set aside.
- Next, fry the onion over a medium heat. Once translucent add the garlic. Remember to keep them moving in the wok, in order not to burn them, as garlic burns quickly.
- Pop in the green beans, peppers and carrot and continue to stir fry for a few minutes.
- Now add the tempeh from earlier back to the wok. Give it all a good stir.
- In a separate ramekin or small bowl, mix together the remaining kecap manis, soy sauce and chili paste.
- Add your rice to the wok and stir gently until well mixed with the vegetables and tempeh.
- Pour the sauce in, mix well, and top with sesame seeds and spring onions, then garnish with slices of cucumber and tomato and rice crackers.
If you don’t have kecap manis, increase the soy sauce by 1 tablespoon and add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.
It’s important to use pre-cooked rice. Cook it the day before and leave in the fridge. This is so that it dries out and absorbs the sauce well, without becoming mushy and soft.
To serve this nasi goreng in the traditional way, spoon the rice into a small bowl or tea cup until level with the brim. Place a serving plate on top of the bowl or cup, then flip upside down. Tap the cup gently to make sure all the rice comes out. Gently remove the cup to reveal a perfect mound of fried rice!
You can switch the tempeh out for tofu or vegan chicken pieces.
This dish can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just be sure to defrost thoroughly and then reheat until piping hot.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Wok
- Cuisine: Indonesian
Keywords: vegan nasi goreng, vegetable nasi goreng, nasi goreng vegan recipe