Lightly seasoned with garlic, cumin, and cilantro, vibrant turmeric yellow Mediterranean rice is an easy 30 minute vegan side dish. Not only is it delicious, it's the perfect for meal prep and will complement your favorite entrees.
It's common in a plant-based Mediterranean diet to find rice that is flavored with different herbs and spices. And dishes like this turmeric rice compliment all sorts of entrees from Mediterranean Tofu Tacos to Vegan Meatloaf Muffins. It may become your new favorite side dish.
Why you'll love this recipe
- The texture is perfectly fluffy.
- It's an easy alternative to plain rice.
- You can make it in half an hour on your stove without any special equipment.
As with many recipes, this one starts with staples like olive oil, onion, and garlic. Then you'll only need a few other ingredients which you may already have in your kitchen:
- Ground cumin: This spice provides a warm, earthy flavor.
- Turmeric powder: A little goes a long way, providing flavor and color. It's what gives curry powder it's golden hue.
- Long-grain white rice: Look for rice labeled "long-grain" or Jasmine. (Long-grain brown rice can also be used but will require more water and extra cooking time.)
- Pine nuts and fresh cilantro: These are optional, but are wonderful complements to the flavors of this recipe. If you don't want to add them, simply leave them out, or try hemp seeds and parsley as substitutions.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Saute onions in olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the spices and rice.
- Stir for a couple of minutes until the rice starts to turn translucent.
- Stir in the water and bring to a simmer.
- Lower the heat, cover the pot, and allow the rice to cook and absorb the liquid.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Place a clean dish towel under the lid. Allow the rice to steam for a few minutes, then fluff it with a fork.
More unique rice recipes
Looking for more alternatives to plain rice? Try some of these favorites:
- Chickpea Rice Pilaf
- Brown Rice Salad
- Basmati Rice Pilaf with Chickpeas and Dried Fruit
- Coconut Jasmine Rice
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
Storing and freezing
Leftover Mediterranean rice can be covered and refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. I like to use a resealable bag for freezing room-temperature rice.
To reheat from frozen, defrosting the rice isn't necessary. Add a few tablespoons of water before reheating it in a pot on the stove or in a microwave-safe bowl.
Refer to the FDA Food Storage Guidelines for more information.
While I admit I often forget this step, rinsing the rice before cooking will result in fluffier rice that won't stick together.
Yes, you can make this recipe with long-grain brown rice instead of white. You will need to add an extra half cup of water, and the rice will take a little longer to cook.
Typically long-grain white rice is used.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Mediterranean Yellow Rice
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the onions and saute until softened and slightly translucent.
- Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper, and rice to the pot. Stir frequently for a couple of minutes until the rice starts to look translucent.
- Stir in the water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and allow the rice to gently simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Lift up the lid and lay a clean dish towel over the top. Replace the lid on top of the towel and allow the rice to steam for 5-10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and fold in the pine nuts and cilantro. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, as needed. Serve.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.