Lebanese rice with vermicelli is a delicious Middle Eastern side dish. It's made with only three ingredients and makes the perfect side for any main dish.
We love having different types of rice as side dishes. Delicious rice recipes such as Persian one pot tomato rice, dill rice with peas and Persian herb rice are some of our most popular rice side dishes. Today I'm showing you a popular Middle Eastern staple that is made with only three ingredients!
What is Lebanese rice pilaf with vermicelli?
Lebanese rice, also known as Arabic rice or Middle Eastern rice is a staple side dish of the region which is very simple to make and has a nutty flavor that pairs well with almost any main dish. This Middle Eastern rice is made with only three ingredients: rice, vermicelli and olive oil, butter or ghee. Sometimes, vermicelli rice is topped with pine nuts and almond slivers. Like mujadara, this rice with vermicelli is simple yet packed with so much flavor.
What goes into Lebanese rice?
As I mentioned, this is a simple rice recipe that calls for only three ingredients:
- Rice: I advise using long grain rice such as basmati. Short grain rice won't work for this recipe.
- Vermicelli: thin broken pasta made of flour. To make Lebanese rice, we nicely toast the vermicelli.
- Olive oil, butter or ghee: I used ghee in this recipe but you can definitely use only olive oil.
Middle Eastern rice with vermicelli is so flavorful on its own and the only seasoning used for this rice recipe is a pinch of salt. This is a simple rice recipe that comes together in a short time and pairs well with so many dishes.
How to make rice pilaf with vermicelli at home
Start by soaking the rice in water for about 20-30 minutes to get rid of the excess starch in the rice. This will speed up the cooking process and will also prevent the rice from becoming sticky.
You need to brown the vermicelli for this Lebanese rice recipe: Melt the ghee in a pot over medium heat and toast the vermicelli in ghee until brown but not burnt. This will take about 5 minutes. Add in the rice and salt and cook for two minutes. Pour in water and bring it to simmer. Simmer on medium low until the water is almost gone.
Place a lid on the pot and let it cook on low for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the rice and vermicelli sit for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice using a fork and top with toasted pine nuts and parsley.
What to serve with vermicelli rice?
Notes and tips to make homemade Lebanese rice with vermicelli
- Basmati rice or any long grain rice works best in this recipe. Short grain rice is not a good option for Lebanese rice.
- Make sure you soak the rice in water for 20 to 30 minutes. This is an important step since we want the rice not to be sticky and we want to get rid of the extra starch.
- Be patient with the vermicelli and saute it over medium heat, stirring continuously to make sure it's coated with ghee.
- You can use olive oil instead of ghee in this recipe. I prefer ghee because I love the smell of it combined with toasted vermicelli.
- If pine nuts are not available, you can use toasted slivered almonds or serve the rice without any nuts.
More of our favorite side dishes:
- Mediterranean roasted vegetables
- Oven roasted garlic green beans
- Greek potatoes oven roasted
- Skillet roasted asparagus with lemon & garlic
Easy Lebanese Rice and Vermicelli
- 1 ½ cup basmati rice
- 2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
- ½ cup vemicelli
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups water
- toasted pine nuts
- chopped fresh parsley
- Rinse the rice a few times and soak it for 30 minutes.
- Heat the ghee in a pot and toast the vermicelli until it's brown, stirring occasionally.
- Discard the water and add the rice to the vermicelli. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add salt and 3 cups of water. Bring the rice to simmer.
- Let it simmer over medium heat until most of the water is gone.
- Cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and let it sit covered for another 10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice and serve with your favorite main dish.