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Mediterranean Rice Recipe

This Mediterranean Rice recipe is bursting with bold flavors. It’s vibrant and aromatic, and it’s a one-pot rice dish that will transport your taste buds to the Mediterranean with its lemony herb flavor.

Mediterranean Rice in a black serving bowl.

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There’s something about Mediterranean flavors that makes everything taste amazing. This vegetarian rice recipe is filled with garlic and fresh herbs like thyme and parsley. Freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest add a nice acidity and zesty flavor. 

This rice pilaf recipe is a breeze to make, and it’s an oh-so-satisfying side dish that will impress your family and friends. It requires very little prep and comes together in a short time. I even give directions on how to use a rice cooker.

I prefer to use basmati rice in this recipe, but you can use any rice you have in your pantry. Basmati rice makes this dish perfectly light and fluffy.

A top down shot of Mediterranean Rice on a counter with tomatoes.

WHAT YOU’LL LOVE ABOUT This Mediterranean Rice Recipe


  • It’s an easy 1-pot rice dish loaded with flavor!
  • Pair it with so many different dishes for a flavor-packed meal.
  • This vegetarian rice dish is so good, you’ll never miss the meat!

INGREDIENTS

  • Basmati rice – Preferred, but you can use any rice.
  • Olive oil – Use good-quality olive oil.
  • Yellow onion – Finely diced.
  • Garlic cloves – Fresh garlic cloves, finely minced.
  • Red bell pepper – Finely diced.
  • Green bell – Finely diced.
  • Lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice.
  • Dried oregano
  • Salt – Kosher salt preferred.
  • Parsley – Fresh parsley, chopped finely.
  • Thyme – Fresh thyme.
  • Green onion – Slice the green parts, and use it as a garnish.
  • Lemon zest
Labeled ingredients to make Mediterranean Rice.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST MEDITERRANEAN RICE

For a full list of ingredients and instructions, please scroll down to the recipe near the bottom of this page.

  1. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water until the water runs clear. Set it aside to drain.
  2. Add olive oil to a medium-sized pot with a tight-fitting lid. 
  3. Sauté the onion over medium heat for 6-8 minutes until translucent. 
  4. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Turn off the heat.
  5. Add the rice to a saucepan along with 1 ¾ cup water, ½ tsp kosher salt, diced red and green bell peppers, lemon juice, and dried oregano. 
  6. Bring the rice to a simmer and place the lid on, and cook for 10 minutes or until the water is mostly absorbed. 
  7. Turn off the heat and leave the rice over the hot element (with the heat turned off) to finish steaming the rice.
  8. Remove the woody thyme stems and discard them.
  9. Fluff the rice with a fork, and garnish with green onion and lemon zest. Serve and enjoy!
Finished Mediterranean Rice recipe in a black serving bowl.

CHEF JENN’S TIPS

  • Basmati rice is preferred, but any kind of rice will work. Cook the rice according to the package instructions if you use a different kind of rice.
  • You can turn this into a rice cooker dish by sautéing the onion and garlic first and then transferring the ingredients to a rice cooker. Next, add the rice and additional ingredients and cook as per the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Fresh is best in this recipe. Fresh lemon, fresh garlic cloves, and fresh herbs will put it over the top!

MAKE IT A MEAL

This Mediterranean Rice recipe is a flavorful vegetarian meal all on its own, but you can turn it into a side dish and pair it with just about anything. It complements grilled or smoked meats, but I suggest not pairing it with anything too saucy, like ribs or anything with competing flavors. It would go great with meaty mains like Grilled Ribeye Steak or Smoked Turkey. Also, try lighter dishes like Smoked Cod or Smoked Shrimp. Yum!

STORAGE

Any leftover Mediterranean Rice can be kept in an airtight container for about 5 days. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Unthaw the rice dish at room temperature and then reheat it in the microwave.

Step By Step Process

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Mediterranean Rice in a black serving bowl.
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4.70 from 50 votes

Mediterranean Rice

This Mediterranean Rice recipe is bursting with bold flavors. It’s vibrant and aromatic, and it’s a one-pot vegetarian rice dish that will transport your taste buds to the Mediterranean with its lemony herb flavor.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Keyword basmati, mediterranean rice, pilaf, rice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 221kcal
Author Chef Jenn

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup diced green bell
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onion
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

Instructions

  • Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water until the water runs clear. Set it aside to drain.
  • Add the olive oil to a medium-sized pot with a tight-fitting lid and saute the onion over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until translucent.
  • Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the rinsed and drained rice to a saucepan along with 1 ¾ cup water, ½ tsp kosher salt, diced red and green bell peppers, lemon juice, and dried oregano.
  • Bring it to a simmer and place the lid on, and cook for 10 minutes or until the water is mostly absorbed.
  • Turn off the heat and leave the rice over the hot element (with the heat turned off) to finish steaming the rice.
  • Remove the woody thyme stems and discard them. Fluff the rice with a fork, and garnish with green onion and lemon zest.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

CHEF JENN’S TIPS

    • Basmati rice is preferred but any kind of rice will work. Cook the rice according to the package instructions if you use a different kind of rice.
    • You can turn this into a rice cooker dish by sautéing the onion and garlic first and then transferring the ingredients to a rice cooker. Next, add the rice and additional ingredients and cook as per the manufacturer’s directions.
    • Fresh is best in this recipe. Fresh lemon, fresh garlic cloves, and fresh herbs will put it over the top!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cups | Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 297mg | Potassium: 174mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 667IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

A Note on Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.

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5 thoughts on “Mediterranean Rice Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    I really love how this Mediterranean rice recipe turned out. It burst with so many flavors, plus it was so delicious that it made me want even more! I would absolutely be making this again!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    I made this using some wild rice I’ve had sitting in my cupboard for a while and it was so tasty. I love lemon so I squeezed in a little extra. I made a some bunless burgers and together they made an awesome lunch.

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    Loveeedddd this rice! I love the flavor of those herbs and lemon. I had some fresh dill too from my farmers market and I added that in. Saved this recipe to make again

    Reply
4.70 from 50 votes (45 ratings without comment)

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