Lemon Rice Pilaf Recipe

There are many different ways to fix up rice, but sometimes rice can make a meal super heavy. If you are looking for something that is a little more light and flavorful, then this rice pilaf with a spectacular lemon flavor is just the thing for you. This dish would be great as a side dish — it's a crowd-pleaser and would serve well at a family dinner or as part of a holiday meal. We just love this rice because the possibilities with it are endless.

Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn of YouCare-SelfCare is known for making some of the most flavorful dishes on the planet, and this one is no exception. "This rice screams LEMON, and that is my favorite thing about it. This is a rice that is good on its own vs. mixed in with a main dish," she raves. "Super flavorful from the lemon and fresh herbs. Dill and parsley are such a good combination together and make this taste so fresh. I always use Italian parsley because it is more delicate than the curly type."

Keep reading to find out how to make this yummy lemon rice pilaf.

Gather the ingredients

The first thing you will need to do is gather all of the ingredients for this flavorful rice. Start with a trip to the grocery store and pick up some red onions, a few cloves of garlic, and avocado oil. You also want to be sure to grab basmati rice and some lemons that you'll be juicing, zesting, and slicing.

Then, throw some vegetable broth in the cart for liquid, which you'll use instead of water. To add a bit of flavor to the rice, you will need a symphony of herbs and seasonings. These items include fresh dill, Italian parsley, and a few spices — cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Cook the rice and garlic

Grab your favorite medium-sized saucepan and put it on your stove. Throw the oil into the pan and then kick the heat up to medium-high. Once the oil is in and the flame is roaring, you can throw in your onion and the garlic. Remember that you should have chopped these both ahead of time.

Set your timer for 5 minutes and let the onions and the garlic cook in the oil. Be sure to stir frequently, so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan and burns. By now, your kitchen should be smelling pretty fragrant.

Add the rice and lemon zest

Once your timer goes off, add the rice into the saucepan. "I like to use basmati because it is long grain rice which works really well. You could also use a jasmine," Hahn says of her rice choice. "I like it with long grain over short as short grain can come out sticky, and you want this light and fluffy."

At this time, you can also throw in some lemon zest. "The lemon zest adds a real depth of lemon flavor when you pair it with the lemon juice," Hahn notes. "It is a more solid flavor for sure!"

Add the broth and spices

Your saucepan should be getting pretty full by now, but a few more things still need to go into this dish. Toss in the broth and some lemon juice for a little more liquid. The remaining herbs and spices you need to add include the dill and parsley (both chopped), cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper — you can throw those in now too.

Kick the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it starts to bubble, lower the heat to a simmer and set your timer for another 15 minutes, letting all of the ingredients cook together as the rice soaks up all those wonderful flavors.

Serve and enjoy

Once your timer dings, you can take the rice off the heat. Let it sit for 10 minutes before transferring it to a serving dish. You can garnish the rice with lemon slices and more fresh parsley. "This rice is a really nice side dish for anything off the grill (salmon is a great choice here), a veggie burger, a grilled panini, or even crab cakes," Hahn says. "Also [it's] really nice for a holiday meal!"

This stuff is excellent, so we don't think you'll have any leftovers, but here's the scoop if you do. "Leftovers are great; you can just warm [them] up in the oven or microwave," Hahn says. "If it needs a little moisture, you just add a tablespoon or 2 of water." Why not give this delicious side dish a try with your next dinner?

Lemon Rice Pilaf Recipe
5 from 39 ratings
If you are looking for something that is a little more light and flavorful, then this rice pilaf with a spectacular lemon flavor is just the thing for you.
Prep Time
Cook Time
rice in a bowl
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup basmati rice, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 ⅓ cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Optional Ingredients
  • lemon slices, for garnish
  1. Add the oil to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the rice and lemon zest and stir for 1 minute.
  4. Add the broth, lemon juice, dill, parsley, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  5. Bring it to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the saucepan from heat and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh parsley, if desired.
Calories per Serving 215
Total Fat 4.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 40.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 1.2 g
Sodium 307.2 mg
Protein 3.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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