Easy golden rice pilaf is a vibrant, flavorful, Mediterranean side dish made with turmeric and toasted pine nuts. It will make any meal just a little bit tastier, and it’s so easy to make!
I’ve been making this easy golden rice pilaf for as long as I’ve been married…maybe longer. The secret to the “golden” part of the rice, is turmeric.
While saffron is traditionally used in pilaf, turmeric is often used as a saffron substitute, as they both give rice a beautiful golden color.
Using turmeric in place of saffron gives the pilaf a nice golden color at a fraction of the price. Turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory and has quite a few additional health benefits. See more health benefits of turmeric here.
Rice Pilaf Substitutions
You can easily substitute brown rice in place of the white rice; just make sure you adjust the cooking time. I use chicken broth for the liquid, but you can substitute vegetable broth for a vegetarian or vegan side dish.
Pine nuts add a bit of texture and protein, but you can also use slivered almonds. Sometimes I add a handful of grated parmesan cheese…just because. I often serve this with a Mediterranean Burger, Rosemary Shrimp or Lamb Sliders.
Sauté onions for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.
Add turmeric, rice and garlic, and stir for another 2 minutes.
Stir the rice until it is well mixed with onions, turmeric and garlic.
Add broth and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and reduce heat to lowest temperature. Cook an additional 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.
I like to use a saucepan with a glass lid so I can check on rice without lifting the lid. Here’s the one I have. Let sit covered for 5 minutes then add toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley if desired. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Here is the easy golden rice pilaf recipe. Enjoy!
Some of the items used in this post are available at my Amazon store.
This simple Mediterranean Rice Pilaf is the prefect side dish for American, Greek or Middle Eastern dishes. Makes 3 cups cooked rice.
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper more to taste
- 2-3 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley for garnish.
Heat oil and butter in a sauce pan over a medium heat. Add onions, and sauté 2-3 minutes, add rice, turmeric and garlic, and continue stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Don't let garlic burn
Add broth and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low, cover and cook rice until tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15-18 minutes.
- Stir in toasted pine nuts or almonds and adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.