Lightly seasoned with garlic, cumin, and turmeric, Mediterranean Yellow Rice is an easy 30 minute vegan side dish. Garnished with pine nuts and fresh cilantro, it's delicious and has the perfect texture. This rice recipe is wonderful 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. It's a fantastic way to elevate the flavor of this simple grain.
And dishes like this Mediterranean Yellow Rice compliment all sorts of entrees from seasoned tofu tacos to vegan meatloaf muffins to chickpea and spinach stew. 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.
Ingredients and substitutions
As with many recipes, Mediterranean Yellow Rice 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 or your favorite fresh herbs as substitutions.
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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. Stir in the pine nuts and cilantro, and enjoy.
Storing and freezing
Leftover Yellow Mediterranean Rice can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 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 rice is used.
More vegan rice recipes
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
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 to 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.