This Vegetarian Hainanese Rice is a delicious and fragrant side dish made with ginger, scallions, sesame oil and lime leaves. This recipe is gluten-free and vegan, with a grain-free option! 

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What is Hainanese Rice?

Hainanese rice is a Chinese dish found throughout Southeast Asia. It’s often served with poached chicken. However, the rice is so tasty and satisfying all on its own. It’s made by infusing white rice with aromatics like ginger, lime, scallions, and garlic. And it makes a great side dish to any protein.

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Ingredients for Vegetarian Hainanese Rice

Here’s what you need to make this fragrant Asian rice dish:

  • Green onion. Also known as scallions.
  • Sesame oil. I love the nuttier flavor of toasted sesame oil, which is easy to find at most grocery stores.
  • Garlic. I recommend using fresh garlic over garlic powder.
  • Ginger. It’s easy to mince ginger by grating on a Microplane!
  • Rice. Use long-grain jasmine rice.
  • Lime leaves. You can find these at specialty Asian markets, they add a ton of bright, citrusy flavor to the rice.
  • Veggie bullion. You may also find vegan “chicken” bullion.
  • Pandan leaf strips. Look for these at the Asian market. They’re slightly sweet and herby.
  • Lemongrass. This is optional, but adds a nice zing.

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Serving Hainanese Rice

You can serve this aromatic rice on its own with toppings. I like to serve the rice with chili crisp, freshly sliced cucumbers (a Hainainese classic), and thinly sliced scallion greens.

To add some protein to the dish, try Taiwanese Tofu “Pork Chops”Tofu Satay, Tempeh, or vegan chicken.

Vegetarian Hainan Rice Veggiekins Blog

Grain-Free Hainanese Rice

You can easily make this recipe grain-free, with all the same flavors. Simply swap the rice for quinoa. With rice, it’s already a naturally gluten-free side dish.

More Rice Recipes

If you make this Vegetarian Hainanese Rice, be sure to let me know what you think with a comment below!

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Vegetarian Hainan Rice Veggiekins Blog

Vegetarian Hainanese Rice (Grain Free Option)

  • Author: Remy Park
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 5-6 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 5 green onion stalks, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 cups jasmine rice, washed and drained*
  • 23 lime leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp veggie bouillon (or use vegan “chicken” bouillon”)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 pandan leaf strips
  • 1 tbsp finely minced lemongrass stalk (optional)

To serve

  • protein of choice, like vegan chicken or tofu
  • fresh cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • green onion, diagonally sliced
  • chili crisp


  1. Start by preparing your green onion stalks. Remove the roots and then thinly slice the white stems. Using a mortar and pestle, smash your green onion stalks with salt until a paste forms.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, add neutral oil and sesame oil. Once hot, add your smashed green onion paste and sauté for a minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Next add garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute. If using lemongrass, you’ll want to add it at this stage as well.
  4. Add your rice and lime leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring so that the rice is nicely coated.
  5. Next add your bouillon and stir to incorporate before adding water to the pan. Toss in pandan leaves and bring the entire mixture to a simmer.
  6. You can finish your rice in the pan by simmering on low heat with a lid partly on, but I like to transfer everything into a rice cooker to finish my rice.
  7. Once cooked, remove all of the leaves and fluff the rice. To serve, I like to pack it in a bowl, flip it upside down on a plate and garnish with cucumbers and green onion.


  • This dish is traditionally enjoyed with Hainanese chicken, which you can substitute for tofu, or vegan chicken of choice. Alternatively, enjoy as is, or as a side with whatever meal you’re eating! It’s an amazing, much more flavourful substitute for regular rice.
  • To make this dish grain free, you can substitute the rice with quinoa.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes

Filed under: Eat, Gluten Free, Main Dishes

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BY Remy Park • June 15, 2022

Vegetarian Hainanese Rice (Grain Free Option)

Vegetarian Hainan Rice Veggiekins Blog

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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.

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