20 minutes for the most flavorful side dish. Lemon rice pilaf is cooked with orzo and toasted pine nuts, pistachios and loads of fresh herbs.
I have been all about the easy weeknight meals these days. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like the flavor of a red wine braised short rib that has been cooking for hours. But on a busy weeknight, I want something fast and of course, incredibly flavorful.
What is Rice Pilaf?
A simple rice dish, different then Persian rice dishes I usually make. This lemon rice is flavored with herbs, toasted in olive oil and simmered in a savory broth instead of just water.
Ingredients for Lemon Dill Rice
I still had a good bunch of fresh herbs leftover after making my herb and citrus roasted salmon (which would make a fabulous accompaniment to the rice pilaf). And after a quick scan of the pantry, a few staples produced the most delicious, buttery and nutty rice dish.
Ghee and olive oil are both used to create a lovely depth of flavor. If you are keeping the side dish dairy free, by all means, use just olive oil, though I do love the richness that ghee offers.
Toasted pine nuts and pistachios give texture and nuttiness. Both gently toasted in the olive oil and ghee mixture. A lovely substitute would be slivered almonds as well.
And for another texture variation and to really make it a “pilaf”, orzo is added to the basmati rice mixture, giving the lemon rice pilaf a bit more chew.
And of course, you know how I love loads of fresh herbs. Fresh dill and parsley are the stars here. Brightening up the buttery lemon rice dish and giving it some beautiful color too.
What to serve along with Greek Lemon Rice
Because the rice pilaf has bold Greek flavors of garlic, dill and pine nuts, it will pair with anything Mediterranean. Serve along side preserved lemon and yogurt marinated chicken or olive oil braised chicken with citrus and fennel.
Lemon Rice Pilaf with Dill and Pistachios
- In a medium sized pot, melt the ghee and olive oil together and add chopped shallots. Saute for 2-3 minutes until the shallots begin to soften.
- Add the pine nuts and pistachios and saute for another 2 minutes, tossing the nuts around the olive oil so they toast evenly.
- Add in the garlic and cook for another minute, tossing everything together.
- Add in the basmati rice and orzo and saute everything together so the rice and orzo get coated with all of the other flavors. Add in the lemon zest and lemon juice and give it another stir.
- Pour in 2 cups of stock, give everything a good stir once more and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer. Place a lid on the pot and cook for 15 minutes or until all the liquid as absorbed and the rice and orzo is tender.
- Once done, turn off heat and let cool for a few minutes. Then add chopped herbs and fluff with a fork, gently stiring the herbs in the rice and serve.