Since I serve Lebanese rice with nearly everything, it's only fitting to add a Lebanese rice recipe here. This is a simple vegan rice pilaf made of three ingredients: vermicelli pasta, rice and olive oil. Add a bit of toasted pine nuts, and you have the best side of rice! Check out the video and step-by-step tutorial.

Lebanese rice with vermicelli

Throughout the Mediterranean, you will find rice dishes like, PaellaMujadra (lentils and rice); or Hashweh (Beef and rice), that are certainly more of a meal. But this Lebanese rice with vermicelli is the every-day rice of the Middle East, and it's by far the most served side dish in that part of the world.

What is in this Lebanese Rice

Basic Lebanese rice typically consists of broken vermicelli pasta, rice (medium or long grain rice works), and extra virgin olive oil or butter (or a combination of both). I use only extra virgin olive oil here. There is but a pinch of salt to season this rice.

And to jazz things up, I like topping the rice with toasted pine nuts adds a nice nutty flavor and texture.

Lebanese Rice Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. The perfect rice pilaf with olive oil, vermicelli pasta and toasted pine nuts. Recipe with step-by-step photos at The Mediterranean Dish!

Tips for making the best Lebanese Rice

1- You must rinse the rice to get rid of excess starch which causes rice to be sticky (Lebanese rice is not meant to be sticky). Then soak the rice for 2o minutes or until you can break one grain of rice by pressing it between your index finger and your thumb. This way, you shorten the cooking time making sure the interior of the grain actually cooks before the exterior looses its shape. Remember that the rice to use here should not be partially cooked rice.

 

2- To give the Lebanese rice flavor right from the start, toast the vermicelli in olive oil until golden brown (as you'll see in the step-by-step  below), then add the rice and toast so that each rice grain is coated with the olive oil.

3- Once the rice is fully cooked, let it rest for 10-15 minutes or so, then fluff it with a fork. This again helps keep it from becoming sticky or gluey.

Here is the step-by-step for how to make Lebanese rice: 

- Rinse the rice well then place it in a medium bowl and cover with water. Soak for 20 minutes. Test to see if you can easily break a grain of rice by simply placing it between your thumb and index finger.  Drain well.

Rice, olive oil and vermicelli

- In a medium non-stick cooking pot, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the vermicelli and continuously stir to toast it evenly. Vermicelli should turn a nice golden brown, but watch carefully not to over-brown or burn it (If it burns, you must throw the vermicelli away and start over).

Lebanese Rice Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. The perfect rice pilaf with olive oil, vermicelli pasta and toasted pine nuts. Recipe with step-by-step photos at The Mediterranean Dish!

- Add the rice and salt and continue to stir so that the rice will be well-coated with the olive oil. Now add 3 ½ cups of water and bring it to a boil until the water significantly reduces and you're able to see the rice through (see the photo below). Turn the heat to low and cover.

rice boiling in water

- Cook for 15-20 minutes on low. Once fully cooked, turn the heat off and leave the rice undisturbed in it's cooking pot for another 10-15 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork.

Lebanese Rice Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. The perfect rice pilaf with olive oil, vermicelli pasta and toasted pine nuts. Recipe with step-by-step photos at The Mediterranean Dish!

Watch my video for this Lebanese Rice Recipe:

For all recipes, visit us here. And be sure to view our collection of Mediterranean diet recipes.

NEVER MISS A RECIPE! JOIN MY FREE E-MAIL LIST HERE.

SHOP OUR ONLINE STORE FOR QUALITY OLIVE OILS, ALL-NATURAL SPICES AND MORE.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Lebanese Rice with Vermicelli


Description

Vegan Lebanese rice with vermicelli and pine nuts. A great side dish next to many Mediterranean favorites.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups long grain or medium grain rice
  • Water
  • 1 cup broken vermicelli pasta
  • 2 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts, optional to finish

Instructions

  1. Rinse the rice well (a few times) then place it in a medium bowl and cover with water. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Test to see if you can easily break a grain of rice by simply placing it between your thumb and index finger. Drain well.
  2. In a medium non-stick cooking pot, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the vermicelli and continuously stir to toast it evenly. Vermicelli should turn a nice golden brown, but watch carefully not to over-brown or burn it (If it burns, you must throw the vermicelli away and start over).
  3. Add the rice and continue to stir so that the rice will be well-coated with the olive oil. Season with salt.
  4. Now add 3 ½ cups of water and bring it to a boil until the water significantly reduces (see the photo below).Turn the heat to low and cover.
  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes on low. Once fully cooked, turn the heat off and leave the rice undisturbed in it's cooking pot for 10-15 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork.
  6. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the toasted pine nuts. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Pro Tips: 1. You must rinse the rice to get rid of excess starch which causes rice to be sticky (Lebanese rice is not meant to be sticky). Then soak the rice in plenty of water for 15-20 minutes or until you can break one grain of rice by pressing it between your index finger and your thumb. 2.toasting the vermicelli in EVOO as a first step is what gives this rice great flavor. Do not skip this step. 3. If you can at all help it, let the rice rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  • Recommended for this recipe: Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives).
  • SAVE! Try our Greek extra virgin olive oil bundle! 
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: Lebanese Rice, Middle Eastern Rice, Rice Pilaf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share it with the world

I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
Learn More

Get our best recipes and all Things Mediterranean delivered to your inbox.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. I want to use chicken broth instead of water. That should be ok, right? I feel like it would be much more flavorful with the broth instead of water

    1. Hi, Cindy. You can make this rice up to a day or two ahead of time and keep refrigerated in a tight-lid container. When you're ready, bring the rice to room temperature. Then simply heat it stove-top in a non-stick pot...be sure to add just a little bit of water and break up the rice using a wooden spoon. Cover and warm-up on medium or medium-low, tossing occasionally so it doesn't stick. Enjoy.

  2. I made this rice tonight; I knew rice was starchy but goodness, I kept rinsing. The rice turned out really good although it was still just a bit sticky. I'll continue to make it; maybe try a different brand of rice instead of the generic store brand.

    All in all, it was pretty good.

  3. This is DELISH!
    Not finding Vermicelli at any of my local stores, I used Capellini (broken into 1" or 1 1/2" bits), and it worked great.

    1. Hi, Jen. While traditionally, this recipe uses white rice, you can certainly try brown rice, if that’s your preference. I would still start by soaking the rice in water. Soak until a grain of rice is tender enough to break (it may take a bit longer than it would with white rice). Follow the recipe here with respect to browning the vermicelli, but I would say, check the brown rice bag for further instructions on cooking. Remember that brown rice will require more water and longer time to cook.

  4. I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count. My family has a Latin background so rice is a big part of many of our meals. Seriously, every time I make this the family and/or guests love it. 10 stars. TBH I’ve occasionally modified the recipe to accommodate the main dish, but this is such an and great recipe “as is” for people who try it for the first time. LOVE!!

  5. When doubling this recipe how much water should be used and is the cooking time need to be adjusted?

    1. Hi, Taryne. This is a recipe you can easily double by doubling the ingredients (including the water)... just be sure you a pot large enough. The cooking time might increase slightly. I would check the progress after 10-15 minutes and adjust from there.

  6. hi, just about to make your lebanese rice and pasta, there is only my husband and myself to. eat it, but i would like to make the full amount and then freeze the rest. Is that ok and if so what is the best way to reheat it. love your dishes, working myself through them all

    1. Hi, Angela. Yes, you can freeze the leftovers. When you are ready to use, just thaw in the fridge and then add a little water and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

  7. I plan to use orzo instead of the vermicelli pasta - could you suggest the quantities of orzo and water, please?

    1. Hi, Carol! I'm sure it will work fine, but I haven't tried this one with orzo myself, so I can't really advise on specifics. It really should not differ too much from using the vermicelli though.

    2. Hi Carol, I make this fantastic recipe with orzo all the time...sometimes even with whole wheat orzo when I can get to the Greek grocery story. You don't need to change any of the proportions; just use orzo where the recipe calls for vermicelli.

      Enjoy!
      Ellen