This 30-minute flavorful Mediterranean rice recipe is a delicious side dish that pairs beautifully with any protein or vegetable meal. The combination of aromatic spices, fluffy rice, and roasted pine nuts creates a healthy one-pot meal that everyone will love!
🌟 Why this recipe works
If you want a taste of Mediterranean food that is easy to make and super flavorful that will pair with most main meals, this amazing rice recipe is exactly what you need! Mediterranean yellow rice is such a fragrant recipe that combines pantry spices, like paprika, garlic, cumin, and turmeric, with fresh herbs and pine nuts.
The aromatic aroma of the ingredients - while they are cooking will fill your home with a heavenly scent. The combination of sweet onion and garlic creates a savory base that pairs perfectly with the earthy spices, giving this rice an amazing flavor.
A dose of turmeric gives it a vibrant yellow color which is why it’s also known as Greek yellow rice, and the toasted pine nuts give it a wonderfully crunchy texture and nutty flavor. It's the perfect dish that can be enjoyed on its own or with other veg, meat, or fish dishes.
This Mediterranean rice recipe cooks quickly and easily on the stovetop with minimal effort, making it the perfect recipe to whip up during busy evenings. It can also be made even easier with leftover rice to save time on prep and made in advance to enjoy throughout the week.
🍽 Key Ingredients
With a few pantry spices and herbs, you can make the best Mediterranean rice recipe. Here's what you'll need:
Oil - You'll need a few spoons of olive oil to sauté the garlic and onion and toast the aromatic spices.
Sweet onion and garlic - Both of these ingredients form the base and add a wonderful sweetness to the rice.
Spices - To give the white rice a fragrant kick and its unique yellow hue, turmeric powder, ground cumin, and paprika are added.
Seasoning - Without salt and pepper, your meal would be bland.
Rice - Basmati rice is the best choice to use for this recipe, as it creates a fluffy and light texture.
Water - You'll need a few cups of water to cook the rice.
Herbs - To add a fresh zing to the dish, fresh cilantro and parsley are added.
Pine nuts toasted - The final touch is toasted pine nuts that add a delicious crunchy texture and nutty flavor.
If you're out of any of the ingredients, there are a few substitutions that you can make in this recipe.
If you don't have extra virgin olive oil, use avocado oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil as a substitute.
A red onion will work in place of sweet onion if needed.
Although fresh garlic will shine through the rice much better than garlic powder, you can use ½ a teaspoon of garlic powder if you don't have fresh on hand.
Any type of long-grain rice will work for this recipe. Jasmine rice is a great option or if you don't want long-grain white rice, opt for brown instead.
To give the rice dish added flavor, cook the plain rice in vegetable or chicken broth.
🔪 How to make Mediterranean rice
This Mediterranean rice recipe is so easy to make! With just a few simple ingredients and instructions, you can have a delicious and healthy one-pot meal ready in about 30 minutes.
- Finely dice the sweet onion and garlic.
- Chop the fresh parsley and cilantro.
Heat a skillet or medium-sized pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Sauté the minced garlic and chopped onions for 2 to 3 minutes until softened.
Stir in the spices and seasoning, and cook for 1 minute until fragrant and slightly toasted.
Pour in the water and mix soften onion and spices together with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any bits stuck on the bottom.
Add in the rice and continue to cook on medium heat until boiling, then reduce to a simmer and place the lid over the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes until the water has absorbed into the rice and it becomes fluffy.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the chopped cilantro, parsley, and toasted pine nuts to the cooked rice.
Finish the fragrant yellow rice recipe with a squeeze of lemon juice and serve with your favorite protein or fish dish for a complete meal.
💭 Cooking tips
Keep your eye on the rice
Be careful not to overcook the rice or else it will become mushy. Check it at 15 minutes to see if it’s done, and adjust the cooking time as needed.
Fluff the rice
Once the rice is cooked, use a fork to fluff it and separate the grains before serving.
Measure the water and rice
For perfect fluffy rice, you'll want to measure the amount of water to rice ratio, as adding too much water will cause the rice to become mushy.
📖 Recipe Variations
You can easily customize this Mediterranean rice recipe to suit your taste. Here are a few ideas:
For a cheesy upgrade, add 1 cup of feta cheese or mini mozzarella balls at the end.
In many Mediterranean recipes, seeds are added to pasta and rice dishes for extra crunch and goodness. 2 to 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or even flaxseed are all good options.
Add roasted vegetables
Add 1 cup of roasted vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, or mushrooms to the dish for extra flavor and nutrition.
Make a rice bowl
For a heartier meal, serve the rice with grilled or roasted chicken, beef, shrimp, or fish. You can also add your favorite salad ingredients, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives for a tasty Mediterranean rice bowl.
🥗 What to serve with
Mediterranean rice is the perfect side dish for most meat and fish dishes. Here are some of our favorites that are light, flavorful, and easy to make like my stuffed portobello mushroom recipe.
Meatballs are a great topping for many rice dishes, and these IKEA Swedish meatballs are a perfect choice. They taste just like the famous IKEA ones and are super easy to prepare. Or if you want a tasty sauce to go with them, try these slow cooker Salisbury steak meatballs.
For classic Mediterranean flavors, serve your Greek rice with Greek gyros and Tzatziki sauce. Or make some easy homemade pita bread and lentil hummus to go with your rice. For dessert try my easy Greek baklava recipe.
A refreshing side dish for your Mediterranean rice is a simple Greek salad. Just mix together some tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta cheese and dress it with olive oil and lemon juice.
🙋 Frequently asked questions
Can yellow rice be made with brown rice?
Yes, you can make yellow rice with brown rice. Just follow the same instructions in this recipe, but use a bit more water and cook it for a bit longer. If you're unsure how to cook brown rice, take a look at our foolproof guide.
Do I need to wash the rice before cooking?
Yes, it's important to wash the rice before cooking. This will help remove any dirt or debris and make sure that your rice is free of any impurities. To do this, just place the rice in a sieve and rinse it with cold water until the water runs clear.
Why is my rice sticky and mushy?
You may have added too much water or cooked the rice for too long. To prevent this, make sure to measure the right amount of water and check your rice after 15-18 minutes.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ reheating
If you have any leftover Mediterranean rice, it will store perfectly in the fridge or freezer for meal prep and can be eaten cold or reheated.
Fridge - Transfer the cooled leftovers to an airtight container and place it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezer - The best way to freeze Mediterranean yellow rice is to use freezer bags. It will keep for up to 6 months.
Reheating - Although it tastes amazingly cold, if you want to reheat it, the best way is to pour the leftover rice into a microwaveable bowl and heat it in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Alternatively, you can reheat it in a skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon of oil for 6 to 8 minutes.
🍳 Related recipes
Rice is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes, from casseroles to Mexican recipes and beyond.
👪 Serving size
For the Mediterranean rice recipe, you can expect to get 8 to 10 servings. It can be easily scaled up or down to suit your need.
Mediterranean Rice is a delicious, flavorful side dish that is perfect for any meal. With the right ingredients and some simple instructions, you can easily make this classic dish. It's perfect cold or warm and will be a huge hit with your family and friends. Give it a try, and let me know what you think of this Greek recipe in the comments.
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Try one of my comfort dinner recipes for your next family meal! And if you have any questions, I'm here to help!
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil or avocado
- ½ Sweet onion - finely diced
- 3 cloves Garlic - crushed
- ¾ teaspoon Turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Paprika
- 1¼ teaspoons Salt to taste
- 1½ cups Basmati rice - rinsed and drained
- 2¼ cups Water
- 2 tablespoons Cilantro - finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Parsley flat-leaf - finely chopped
- ¼ cup Pine nuts - toasted
- Finely dice the sweet onion and garlic.
- Chop the fresh parsley and cilantro.
- Heat a skillet or medium-sized pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Sauté the minced garlic and chopped onions for 2 to 3 minutes until softened.
- Stir in the spices and seasoning, and cook for 1 minute until fragrant and slightly toasted.
- Pour in the water and mix soften onion and spices together with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any bits stuck on the bottom.
- Add in the rice and continue to cook on medium heat until boiling, then reduce to a simmer and place the lid over the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes until the water has absorbed into the rice and it becomes fluffy.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the chopped cilantro, parsley, and toasted pine nuts to the cooked rice.
- Finish the fragrant yellow rice recipe with a squeeze of lemon juice and serve with your favorite protein or fish dish for a complete meal.