This homemade Mediterranean rice is bursting with aromatic herbs, fresh vegetables, and perfectly cooked grains. This dish offers a delicious experience that will transport you straight to the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean. Serve as an easy dinner recipe, filling side dish, or meal prep recipe. Everyone loves the bold flavors of this rice!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Mediterranean rice has earned its rightful place in the hearts of food enthusiasts worldwide for several reasons.
Firstly, it embodies the essence of the Mediterranean diet, known for its health benefits and delicious flavors.
Secondly, this recipe is incredibly versatile, allowing you to experiment with a wide range of ingredients to suit your taste preferences.
Whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or a healthy food lover, Mediterranean rice can be customized to cater to all dietary choices.
Lastly, this dish is a true crowd-pleaser, making it perfect for gatherings or simply indulging in a satisfying meal at home.
What is Mediterranean Rice?
Mediterranean rice is a savory one-pot dish that combines fluffy rice with a medley of vegetables, aromatic herbs, and sometimes a protein.
This rice is usually made with chicken, shrimp, or lamb, but this version is vegan and vegetarian.
The dish takes inspiration from the culinary traditions of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and Morocco.
The vibrant colors, robust flavors, and wholesome ingredients used in Mediterranean rice reflect the region's bountiful produce.
Mediterranean rice can be made with various types of rice, each offering a unique taste and texture. Some popular rice varieties used in this recipe include:
- Arborio Rice: Known for its creamy texture, Arborio rice is commonly used in Mediterranean risotto-style rice dishes, where it absorbs flavors beautifully.
- Basmati Rice: Fragrant and long-grain, Basmati rice adds an aromatic touch to Mediterranean rice, complementing the herbs and spices.
- Jasmine Rice: With its delicate fragrance, Jasmine rice imparts a subtly sweet aroma to the dish and pairs well with Mediterranean flavors.
- Bomba Rice: Hailing from Spain, Bomba Rice is a short-grain rice ideal for making paella, a Mediterranean rice dish renowned for its rich flavors.
Taste & Texture
The taste and texture of Mediterranean rice are a delightful combination of earthy, savory, and aromatic notes.
The rice grains, cooked to perfection, are tender and slightly chewy.
The vegetables add a refreshing crunch, while the herbs and spices infuse the dish with a burst of flavor.
The overall profile is a harmonious blend of herbs, spices, and the natural sweetness of the ingredients.
Ingredients You'll Need
Get all the details on these simple ingredients in the recipe card at the post's bottom.
Basmati rice is a great option for this Mediterranean rice recipe. If needed, use brown rice, white rice, or jasmine rice.
Use olive oil, avocado oil, or vegan butter. This helps cook the veggies and minced garlic.
Finely dice the onion. Use yellow onion or white onion.
Minced garlic adds a classic garlicky flavor.
Both bell pepper and zucchini add nutrients and substance.
Use canned or fresh diced tomatoes. Both work well!
Seasonings and spices include oregano, basil, thyme, paprika, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and pepper. Feel free to adjust the amounts to suit your taste.
Use vegetable broth to cook the rice.
Garnish the rice with fresh parsley and lemon wedges if desired.
How to Make
First, rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain and then set aside.
In a large skillet or pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.
Add in the diced bell pepper and zucchini to the pan. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the veggies start to soften.
Stir in the diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the rinsed rice to the pan. Stir until incorporated with the vegetables.
Pour in the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid.
Once the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Let it sit covered for 5 minutes.
Finally, fluff the rice with a fork. Top with chopped fresh parsley and lemon.
To elevate your Mediterranean rice, here are some expert tips and tricks to keep in mind.
Sauté the rice before cooking. Lightly toasting the rice grains in olive oil or butter before adding the liquid enhances their nutty flavor and helps them hold their shape.
Use homemade vegetable stock or broth. Homemade stock adds depth and richness to the dish, intensifying the flavors.
Opt for fresh herbs and spices. Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, and thyme, along with spices such as cumin, paprika, and saffron, create an authentic Mediterranean taste.
Do not overcook the Mediterranean rice. Overcooking can lead to mushy rice, so be mindful of the recommended cooking time and check the rice periodically.
Taste and adjust the flavors as you go. I love this recipe exactly as written and make it this way every time. Sometimes, family and friends like a more mild flavor. In that case, omit the red pepper flakes.
Flavor Variations & Add-Ins
One of the beauties of Mediterranean rice is its adaptability. You can experiment with different flavors and add-ins to create unique variations of the dish. Here are some flavorful options to consider.
- Enhance the vegetable profile of your rice by adding bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, artichoke hearts, or sun-dried tomatoes. Sauté them with the rice for a burst of color and extra nutrients.
- Experiment with various herbs to infuse your rice with distinct flavors. Try adding fresh dill, oregano, mint, or rosemary to give your dish an herbal twist.
- Elevate the dish with a touch of spice. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or smoked paprika to give your rice a subtle kick.
- Nutty and Fruity: For a delightful contrast in texture and flavor, consider incorporating toasted pine nuts, slivered almonds, or dried fruits like raisins or apricots. These additions add a touch of sweetness and crunch to the dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Mediterranean diet consists of whole grains. These include farro, brown rice, and couscous.
Yes! This Mediterranean rice is made with healthy and nutritious ingredients.
Greek rice is typically made with lemon, garlic, shallots, parsley, and oregano.
Sure! Feel free to white rice, brown rice, or jasmine rice.
Yes, this recipe is gluten-free as written. Rice is naturally gluten-free, but rice seasonings and flavorings sometimes contain gluten. Be sure to double-check ingredient labels.
Yes, this recipe is vegan as written.
Basmati rice is long grain rice, whereas white rice is now. It is more flavorful. White rice is typically used in Asian recipes and has a more neutral flavor.
Serving & Storage
Mediterranean rice is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a satisfying main course or as a flavorful side dish. Here are a few suggestions for serving and storing your rice.
Serve as a main course. Mediterranean rice can be enjoyed as a standalone meal.
Simply plate a generous portion and garnish it with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro.
For added protein, consider topping it with chickpeas or lentils
Serve a scoop of Mediterranean rice alongside your protein of choice for a complete and satisfying meal. Grilled kabobs are a great idea.
Store properly. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
To maintain the texture and flavor, reheat the rice gently on the stovetop with a splash of water or broth.
Avoid microwaving, as it can make the rice mushy.
You Will Also Love
- Vegan Fried Rice
- Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich (Panera Copycat)
- Vegan Mexican Rice
- Bean and Rice Burritos
- Vegan Tacos
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 small zucchini diced
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- pinch sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- lemon to garnish
- First, rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet or pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add the diced bell pepper and zucchini to the pan. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the rinsed rice to the pan. Stir until incorporated with the veggies.
- Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid.
- Once the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Let it sit covered for 5 minutes. This makes the rice steam and become fluffy.
- Finally, fluff the rice with a fork. Top with chopped fresh parsley and lemon.
(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs and other helpful information for this recipe)
- Basmati is a great option for this Mediterranean rice.
- Feel free to use white rice, brown rice, or jasmine rice.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings and flavors as you cook.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- To reheat, add leftovers to a saucepan with a lid. Add in some broth. Cover the pan and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
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