GREEK LEMON RICE PILAF–Rice and orzo pasta are toasted, then simmered in broth and lemon juice, before being tossed with fresh herbs in this refreshing and delicious side dish.
Rice is a side dish staple at my house–mainly because I know everyone will eat it–and this Greek Lemon Rice Pilaf is one of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy rice.
Orzo is pretty popular around here too. It’s my youngest son’s favorite pasta ever, so the fact that it’s included in this lemony pilaf makes it even better.
The fresh lemon juice and zest, along with the mixture of fresh herbs, make this rice pilaf a perfect side for almost any spring or summer meal.
But we love it so much, I make it year round. It’s especially great with grilled fish or chicken. Or for a complete one pot meal, add some protein and veggies right into the pilaf.
My favorite addition is a big handful of frozen peas, tossed it the pot just before the rice is finished cooking.
I like to use fresh dill and fresh parsley in this dish, but other herbs work well too. Honestly, you could toss just about any fresh herbs in this pilaf and it would be delicious.
I confess, I’m a lazy cook sometimes, and when a recipe says to soak my rice, I often just skip it. But I really shouldn’t! It’s so easy to do, and it definitely makes a difference in the end.
Soaking your rice helps ensure you get a pilaf with all of those perfectly individual little grains. And it just makes the cooked rice taste better!
You don’t want to skip toasting the orzo either. It adds a touch of color and a wonderful, nutty flavor to this recipe.
If you’re looking to serve something besides plain old rice as a side dish, look no further than this Greek Lemon Rice Pilaf. It’s easy, refreshing, and everyone loves it!
Be sure to save this Greek Lemon Rice Pilaf recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
Tips for Making Perfect Rice
How much water? You’ll often hear that you should use 2 cups of water per cup of rice. But I find my rice is fluffier when I use 1 3/4 cups water per cup of rice.
Different types of rice (brown, Basmati, short/long grain, etc.) may require different ratios of water. Don’t forget to add about a teaspoon of salt to the water before you add the rice.
Cooking time: Let your rice simmer on low for about 18 minutes, then remove from heat and allow the rice to steam in the pot for another 5 minutes. Do not uncover (or stir) your rice during cooking.
Serving: When your rice is done, fluff it with a fork to separate the grains, rather than stirring it with a spoon.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Greek Lemon Rice Pilaf
- Olive oil
- Produce: garlic, lemons, fresh herbs, such as parsley and dill
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper
Greek Lemon Rice Pilaf
Rice and orzo pasta are toasted, then simmered in broth and lemon juice, before being tossed with fresh herbs in this refreshing and delicious side dish.
- 2 cups basmati or long grain rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2-3 teaspoons lemon zest
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Rinse rice well then soak for 15-20 minutes in enough cold water to cover the rice by one inch. Drain well.
- Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan with a lid. Add garlic and orzo pasta. Cook and stir for a few minutes, until orzo is lightly browned. Stir in the rice.
- Add the lemon juice and broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
- Remove from heat and let rest, covered, for 5-10 minutes. Uncover and stir in parsley, dill, lemon zest, and salt and pepper, to taste, Serve immediately.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 204Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 373mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 9g
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