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Forget Jollof! Go green with Lerato’s Green Fried Rice


I have always been bemused by people’s obsession with rice, especially with Nigerians and white rice. Some people cannot go a day without eating rice. I believe it is the single biggest culprit for the pot bellies of Nigeria.

This is not to say that there is no rice in my kitchen cupboard; the food lover that I am is well stocked with favourites such as, white and brown basmati rice, wild rice, long grain brown rice, local Nigerian rice of all kinds and my recent find, black rice. Although, these different types of rice complement different types of dishes, I will always encourage eating more brown rice because of the high fibre and lower carbohydrate content and because it does keep one fuller for longer, thus avoiding unnecessary snacking.

A wonderful range of rice is grown in Nigeria, despite the challenges faced in the agricultural sector, the rice can be cleaned with little or no milling and polishing leaving it a brown or off-white colour, which maintains its high fibre content. The only award you get for eating the cheaper and better looking South East Asian rice that has been sold cheaply to us years after harvesting, is a pot belly. Make no mistake as I am not referring to the fragrant basmati, which is rather pleasant, light, and more easily digestible, although with a hefty price tag to match.


Seeing my husband pick up a pot of freshly cooked white rice and happily scuffing down a spoon or two, I realised that this firm favourite is here to stay; in Nigeria, in the world, and in my house. Not one to back down, and still inspired by the super food that is moringa, as seen in my previous Roasted Plantain & Skinny Efo recipe, I created recipes like this fried rice with spinach, moringa and spring onions, filled with the goodness of these delicious and complementary greens.

For this dish, almost half of the quantity of rice is replaced with the greens which are just great for the gut. Nigeria is also blessed with an abundance of greens such as efo tete (spinach), ugwu leaves, water leaves, moringa and lots more. When I wrote this recipe, little did I know of the unforeseen tomato crisis in our precious land, Nigeria. Unfortunately the price of tomatoes have sky-rocketed and at this time there are reports of an exotic pest called ‘Tuta Absoluta’ responsible for ravaging the tomato crops across the country. And so my fellow cooks, reserve your much-loved jollof rice for ‘special occasions’, (such as wedding anniversaries and presidential inaugurations) and go green with this nutrition packed and delicious green fried rice.

Cooking time: 3 minutes                            

Feeds: As many hungry tummies as a medium pot can feed


1 medium pot cooked rice

2 tbs of olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp dry pepper

2 chicken / vegetable stock cubes

1 tablespoon ground crayfish

4 handfuls chopped efo tete / spinach

1 handful moringa leaves

1 handful chopped spring onions

Salt to taste


  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add the minced garlic. Cook for a minute under low heat to extract the oils from the garlic. Avoid burning by stirring. Turn up the heat to medium and add the washed and chopped greens – spinach, moringa and spring onions. Stir and leave to cook for a minute.
  1. Add the dry pepper, stock cubes, cray fish and stir again. Add salt if needed. I always say, make sure to taste as you cook to avoid using too much salt. Carefully scoop the cooked rice into the pot of greens, and stir until you have successfully mixed all the contents properly. Cover the pot to allow the rice and greens to continue to steam. Take the pot off the fire.
  1. Remember, our goal is to substantially reduce the quantity of rice by adding the greens, so try not to mix in too much white rice before it turns more white than green. Now enjoy the best rice of your life.

Make my recipe yours and share your photos with me and other food lovers on Instagram @lerato_tomato & twitter @LeratoTomato

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