Greek Lemon Rice Recipe (2022)

You'll love this bright, flavor-packed Greek lemon rice made with onions, garlic, fresh lemon juice and herbs! This is an easy side dish and pairs beautifully with lots of Mediterranean favorites including Souvlaki, Shrimp, and Greek baked cod and many more! Be sure to check out my tips for foolproof results, and grab all the suggestions for what other dishes to serve along! Rice cooker instructions included.

Greek Lemon Rice Recipe (1)

If you think rice is just a dreaded, boring side dish, this Greek lemon rice will prove you wrong. Dare I say, once you give it a try, it might just become your favorite side of all time!

This lemon rice pilaf is a fairly popular side dish, you may have sampled a version of it at your local Greek restaurant.

You can serve it with many Mediterranean dishes like:

Greek Lamb (Definitely); Chicken Souvlaki;Beef Kabobs; all sorts of fish dishes like Salmon; and vegetarian dishes like Briam Roasted Vegetables. Heck, I'd turn this awesome lemon rice into a rice bowl; throw in these Keftedes or shrimp skewers and a little Greek Salad. Mmmm doesn't that sound wonderful!

You get the point, if you're into eating Mediterranean, this lemon rice recipe will come in handy.

Greek Lemon Rice Recipe (2)

(Video) Greek Lemon Rice

How to Make Greek Lemon Rice Pilaf

A few familiar flavor makers get the credit for how bright and tantalizing this rice is. They are: onions, garlic, fresh lemon juice, and herbs (I used fresh parsley and a dash of dill weed.)

But this lemon rice is very simple to make. It starts with a little bit of rich extra virgin olive oil in which our onions, garlic are sauteed. From there, we add a little orzo, rice, and our liquid (lots of fresh lemon juice and broth). As the rice cooks in the lemon juice, it absorbs all the tang and brightness. And at the end, we hit it up with the herbs and a little lemon zest to seal the deal.

That's all there is to it!

Greek Lemon Rice Recipe (3)

Two Important Tips for this Greek Rice

To ensure best results for texture and taste, I apply the same tips I've learned when making Lebanese rice and Hashweh rice. Here they are:

1.The recipe starts with a very important step most other recipes ignore: wash the rice well and soak it in plenty of water for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not skip this step, this is important to help get rid of excess starch whichcauses rice to be sticky (this rice is not meant to be sticky.) Soaking it also shortens the cooking time, making sure the interior of the grain actually cooks before the exterior looses its shape and becomes mush.

2.Once rice is finished, leave it covered and undisturbed in the pot for about 10 minutes before adding the finishing touches (the herbs etc.) Again, this helps maintain the texture and integrity of the rice.

(Video) Greek Lemon Rice | Easy and Tasty Recipe

Greek Lemon Rice Recipe (4)

Can I make this in my Rice Cooker?

I know many are fans of the convenient rice cooker. I totally get that, but this recipe is much better when you make it stovetop. That said, yes, you can use a rice cooker, if you need to, with some adjustments:

Still rinse the rice very well and soak it even for a bit to get rid of starch (not a requirement for rice cookers, but helpful.) Add the orzo, rice, and liquid to the rice cooker (adjust liquid amount according to your rice cooker.) Instead of chopped onions and fresh garlic, you will use about ¾ teaspoon onion powder and ½ teaspoon garlic powder (do not expect the same taste.) Set rice cooker to appropriate setting. Once rice is finished, stir in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil before adding the parsley, dill and lemon zest.

Greek Lemon Rice Recipe (5)

Recipe Variations:

  • You can use brown rice, if you need to. It does not yield the same taste and requires some adjustments (see recipe notes.)
  • For the gluten free option, simply omit the orzo and let liquid boil a while longer to reduce properly
  • Some people add carrots or peas in this rice pilaf (similar to this idea here), but I prefer to keep simple, unadulterated so to speak

Print

Print Recipe

Description

Best Greek lemon rice recipe! Loads of flavor from onions, garlic, lemon juice and fresh herbs. Be sure to check out the notes for tips and ideas for what to serve it with.

  • 2 cups long grain rice (uncooked)
  • Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (just over 1 cup chopped onions)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup orzo pasta
  • 2 lemons, juice of (PLUS zest of 1 lemon)
  • 2 cups low sodium broth (chicken or vegetable broth will work)
  • Pinch salt
  • Large handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dill weed (dry dill)
  1. Wash rice well and then soak it for about 15 to 20 minutes in plenty of cold water (enough to cover the rice by 1 inch). You should be able to easily break a grain of rice by simply placing it between your thumb and index finger. Drain well.
  2. Heat about 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large sauce pan with a lid (like this one) until oil is shimmering but not smoking. Add onions and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and orzo pasta. Toss around for a bit until the orzo has gained some color then stir in the rice. Toss to coat.
  3. Now add lemon juice and broth. Bring liquid to a rolling boil (it should reduce a little), then turn heat to low. Cover and let cook for about 20 minutes or until rice is done (liquid should be fully absorbed and rice should be tender but not sticky.)
  4. Remove rice from heat. For best results, leave it covered and do not disturb rice for about 10 minutes or so.
  5. Uncover and stir in parsley, dill weed and lemon zest. If you like, add a few slices of lemon on top for garnish. Enjoy!
(Video) GREEK LEMON RICE (INSTANT POT RECIPE)

Notes

  • Cook's tip #1: Do not skip washing and soaking the rice well, this is important to help get rid of excess starch whichcauses rice to be sticky (this rice is not meant to be sticky). Soaking the rice here also shortens the cooking time, making sure the interior of the grain actually cooks before the exterior looses its shape.
  • Cook's Tip # 2: Once rice is finished, leave it covered and undisturbed in the pot for about 10 minutes before adding the herbs etc. Again, this helps maintain the texture and integrity of the rice.
  • What Dishes Go Well with this Greek Rice? Chicken Souvlaki, Beef Kabobs, Greek Baked Cod; All sorts of Salmon; Briam Roasted Vegetables. Heck, I'd throw it in a bowl with these Keftedes or shrimp skewers and a little Greek Salad. The possibilities are endless!
  • Gluten Free & Vegan Option: All you need to do to make this rice gluten free is to eliminate the orzo. For vegan, opt for a vegetable broth that is completely vegan instead of chicken broth.
  • Brown Rice Option: It is not my preference, but you can use brown rice in this recipe. Rememberthat brown rice will require more soaking time and more liquid to cook. Consult the brown rice package to adjust this recipe.
  • Rice Cooker Instructions: This rice is best cooked stovetop, but you can try a rice cooker. Still rinse the rice very well and soak it even for a little bit to get rid of starch (not a requirement for rice cookers, but helpful.) Add the orzo, rice, and liquid to the rice cooker (adjust liquid amount according to your rice cooker.) Instead of chopped onions and fresh garlic, you will use about ¾ teaspoon onion powder and ½ teaspoon garlic powder. Set rice cooker to appropriate setting. Once rice is finished, stir in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil before adding the parsley, dill and lemon zest.
  • Visit The Mediterranean Dish store to check out Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil and our Early Harvest Greek Extra virgin olive oil (both single estate oils from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives.) You will also find a big selection of all-natural and organic spices! Visit TMD Store
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Greek

Keywords: Lemon Rice, Greek Rice, Greek Lemon Rice, Rice Pilaf

(Video) Greek Lemon Rice Recipe

I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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(Video) AUTHENTIC GREEK LEMON RICE | Jasmine | Basmati | Long Grain | 30 Minute Meals | One Pot Recipe

FAQs

What kind of rice do they eat in Greece? ›

Nuhaki, pronounced neeh-HAH-kee, is what we all recognize as long-grain white rice. Known as νυχάκι in Greece, it's often used for plain rice and in pilafs.

What are the benefits of lemon rice? ›

Lemon, Lemon Juice : Lemon is a very good source of Vitamin C and thus helps in the production of white blood cells and antibodies in the blood which attacks invading microorganisms, prevents infection and builds immunity.
...
Brown Rice is good for:
Value per per serving% Daily Values
Potassium97.9 mg2%
Zinc0.6 mg6%
22 more rows
7 Jan 2021

What kind of rice is in the Mediterranean diet? ›

Eat a variety of whole grains (like whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, and brown rice). Limit refined grains (like white rice and white bread).

Do Greeks eat a lot of rice? ›

The Greeks eat bread, grains, potatoes, rice, and pasta nearly every day. Staples of the Greek diet include olives (and olive oil), eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, lentils, and other types of beans, lemons, nuts, honey, yogurt, feta cheese, eggs, fish, chicken, and lamb.

Is it good to eat lemon rice at night? ›

1) Never eat lemon rice at night as many people get heartburn due to its acidic nature. Traditional South Indian homes never cook lemon rice at night. 2) Always add lemon juice after switching off the gas, else the lemon rice will turn bitter in taste.

Can diabetic eat lemon rice? ›

Foods like rice are high in GI are not suitable for weight loss, heart patients, diabetics as they affect the blood sugar control levels.

Why do people squeeze lemon on food? ›

The upshot is that a squeeze of lemon is as good as a dash of salt in bringing out the flavor of just about any food. Besides making your mouth water, acidity cuts greasiness and heaviness and gives food a fresh, clean taste.

Where did lemon rice originate? ›

What is the History of Lemon Rice? This luscious and zesty rice is also known as Chitana. This rice-based dish has originated from South India. South Indians used to make this food from a unique seasoning known as Gojju or Oggarane.

How much rice do you need per person? ›

As a general guide we recommend 50-75g of uncooked rice per person.

Why do we squeeze lemon juice on to rice and dal? ›

Answer: Squeezing lemon juice on rice and dal to add taste and flavour to the food.

What do you not eat on a Mediterranean diet? ›

The Mediterranean diet is high in plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Foods not allowed include processed red meats, heavily processed foods, refined grains, alcohol, butter, and refined/processed/hydrogenated oils.

Are potatoes OK on Mediterranean diet? ›

What kinds of foods are included in the Mediterranean diet? You will eat mostly plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, potatoes, whole-grains, beans, nuts, seeds and extra virgin olive oil. Meals are planned around these foods.

What kind of cheese is allowed on the Mediterranean diet? ›

Cheese & Yogurt

Dairy products common to the traditional Mediterranean Diet include: brie, chevre, corvo, feta, haloumi, manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, ricotta, yogurt (including Greek yogurt).

Why do Greeks eat dinner so late? ›

Traditionally, local people in Greece would eat a very light breakfast and a late dinner because the largest meal of the day was often lunch.

What time is dinner in Greece? ›

What time is dinner in Greece? In a country that never sleeps, no time is "too late" for dinner. You will find most eateries open until past 12 at midnight. Regardless, traditionally, dinner in Greek homes is served at around 8-9 pm.

What do Greeks eat for breakfast? ›

A typical Greek breakfast usually consists of a wide variety of bread, pastry, fruits, and Greek yogurt. These foods are high in nutritional value and a great source of energy — an excellent way to begin your Greek food adventures!

What is the most famous Greek food? ›

1. Moussaka. Probably the most famous of Greek dishes, moussaka consists of layers of fried aubergine, minced meat and potatoes, topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and then baked until golden brown. Some Greek restaurants will also serve an equally delectable vegetarian version.

What is the most famous dessert in Greece? ›

Galaktoboureko. This is one of the most renowned and oldest desserts of Greece. The word “galaktoboureko” means “milk wrap” or “milk pie” or “milk burek”. It is a phyllo pie with semolina-based custard milk filling, baked in a pan and doused in syrup.

What is the most common Greek dessert? ›

Pasteli is considered as one of the most popular and traditional Greek dessert-snacks. It's made with very simple ingredients: sesame seeds, honey, lemon zest, and, sometimes, nuts. On some Greek islands, instead of cooking the sesame mixture inside, they lay it in the sun to dry.

What happens when we drink lemon juice before bed? ›

Hot lemon water may induce relaxation before bed, which could help with sleep. It can also help with general hydration. Lemon contains vitamin C, which is important for several bodily functions. Hot lemon water may provide other benefits, but there is a lack of evidence behind most health claims.

Is eating whole lemons good for you? ›

One medium-sized, whole lemon contains just 24 calories and no fat. In addition to healthy doses of iron and potassium, lemons also supply significant amounts of fiber and vitamin C.

Is boiling lemon peels good for you? ›

Boiled lemon water is a beverage made by boiling lemons or lemon peels in water. In addition to keeping you hydrated, it may help promote weight loss and prevent kidney stones.

Does lemon water spike blood sugar? ›

Lemon water may not directly impact your blood sugar levels and cause it to come down, but it can surely help prevent untimely spikes. The easy to make beverage is very low in carbohydrates and calories, and keeps you hydrated, which is very essential for diabetics to ensure.

Do lemons spike insulin? ›

Lemons also have a low glycemic index (GI), and a meal with a low GI promotes lower blood sugar and insulin levels after eating. Citrus fruits like lemons also contain flavonoids, naringin, and naringenin - all of which can have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effects, according to a 2014 study in Advances in Nutrition.

Is lemon good for high blood pressure? ›

Citrus fruits, including grapefruit, oranges, and lemons, may have powerful blood-pressure-lowering effects. They're loaded with vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that may help keep your heart healthy by reducing heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure ( 4 ).

What happens when you drink lemon juice for 7 days? ›

Lemon consumption has been found to reduce stress levels and improve moods. If you drink lemon water for a week, your improved energy levels will combine with the natural stress relief properties of lemon juice and result in optimum and controlled mood levels.

What enhances lemon flavor? ›

2: Lemon Zest

When you want whatever you're making to sparkle with bright lemony flavor, zest is the answer. It's less tart than juice as the essential oils in the skin are much more powerful for imparting flavor. It's a particularly handy ingredient for times when you don't want to add more liquid.

Does boiling lemon juice change the flavor? ›

When lemon juice is boiled, it reduces, which means that water evaporates. This concentrates the flavor. This concentration and cooking also changes the flavor. The now cooked juice, while still clearly identifiable as lemon, will be much less bright.

Which country makes best rice? ›

For the third straight year, the World Rice Conference has voted Cambodian rice as the world's best. This year Cambodia shares the award with Thailand.

Why is it called Chitranna? ›

The word chitranna translates to “mixed rice” in Kannada, and there are numerous variations, all relying on different souring agents such as lime, green mango, tamarind, or, in the case of the one I grew up eating most often, lemon.

Is 1 cup of rice enough for 1 person? ›

How much does 1 cup of rice serve? A typical single serving of rice is 1/2 cup for a side dish or 1 cup for a main dish per person. So one cup of cooked rice will serve 1-2 people. One cup of uncooked rice amounts to about 3 cups of cooked rice, so it will serve 3-6 people.

Is 1 cup rice enough for 2? ›

One cup of dry rice will make enough cooked rice for two to three adult servings. (Or two adults and two small children.) The cool thing about this recipe is it is proportional. Always use one part rice to two parts water.

How much rice should you eat to lose weight? ›

So just how much rice can you eat and still lose weight? You should consume no more than 1 cup of rice per day if you're looking to lose weight. Typically, carb intake should be kept to 50-150g per day during weight loss, and one cup of rice contains between 45-52 grams of carbohydrates.

Is it OK to drink lemon water all day? ›

According to Bengaluru-based nutritionist Dr Anju Sood and consultant nutritionist Dr Rupali Datta, having the juice of 2 lemons per day is enough to keep you hydrated in the summers, and it is perfectly healthy to drink lemon water every day.

Is lemon good for woman? ›

Lemons contain a high amount of vitamin C, soluble fiber, and plant compounds that give them a number of health benefits. Lemons may aid weight loss and reduce your risk of heart disease, anemia, kidney stones, digestive issues, and cancer.

How much lemon is too much? ›

There also have been cases of vomiting following excess intake of lemon water (more than 2 lemons or 3 cups of diluted lemon juice). Theories suggest that the body would flush out the excess vitamin C, triggering the symptoms.

What kind of bread can you eat on Mediterranean diet? ›

You can still enjoy bread as part of the Mediterranean Diet, just swap your white bread for whole grains. Whole grain breads and pastas contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals. Whole wheat pitas are a healthier option as they are usually lower in calories.

What do Mediterraneans eat for breakfast? ›

Spain and Italy: toasted bread + soft cheese + fresh fruit or freshly squeezed fruit juice. Greece: paximadia (bread made from whole wheat, chickpea, and barley flour) + olives + cheese. Syria: tahini yogurt with chickpeas + pickles + sliced radishes. Morocco: fried egg in olive oil + soft cheese + olives + flatbread.

Can you eat bananas on Mediterranean diet? ›

Ideally, you should base your diet on these healthy Mediterranean foods: Vegetables: tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips. Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches.

Is peanut butter OK on Mediterranean diet? ›

And as plant-based protein sources that are high in good and unsaturated fats, peanuts and peanut butter are a natural fit within Mediterranean and Flexitarian ways of eating.

How many eggs can you eat on the Mediterranean diet? ›

The advisory stated that following a heart-healthy eating pattern, such as the Mediterranean Diet, is more important than adhering to a specific cholesterol number. The advisory also noted that healthy individuals can include one whole egg per day in their heart healthy eating patterns.

Is oatmeal allowed on the Mediterranean diet? ›

Oatmeal is a safe option that can be dressed up for breakfast to make it better. Try adding a variety of nuts and fruit to improve the taste of plain oatmeal. Consider making it with honey, diced apples and chopped walnuts. Strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are also good options.

How do you drink coffee on a Mediterranean diet? ›

Can I Drink Coffee On The Mediterranean Diet? - YouTube

What sweets can I eat on Mediterranean diet? ›

10 Easy Desserts You Can Enjoy on the Mediterranean Diet
  • Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake. ...
  • Balsamic Berries with Honey Yogurt. ...
  • Sticky Gluten-Free Lemon Cake. ...
  • Honeyed Phyllo Stacks with Pistachios, Spiced Fruit, and Yogurt. ...
  • Brûléed Ricotta. ...
  • Yogurt and Honey Olive Oil Cake. ...
  • Domenica Marchetti's Carrot Polenta Cake with Marsala.
18 Nov 2019

Can I have popcorn on the Mediterranean diet? ›

Is popcorn allowed on the Mediterranean diet? Yes, popcorn is a wonderful snack since it's a whole grain. But top it with a drizzle of olive oil instead of butter. And try seasoning it with herbs and spices instead of too much salt.

Is Arborio rice a rice? ›

Arborio rice is best-known as the rice used to make risotto. A type of short-grain rice to medium-grain rice, it is named after an area in Italy where it was originally cultivated – the town of Arborio in the Po Valley.

What do Greek people eat every day? ›

Greek diet mostly relies on its produce of the country: fresh, seasonal fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, legumes, goats, sheep, fresh fish, and, of course, the ever present olive oil. Cheeses and yogurts are also fundamental. Eating is focal in Greek culture. It is around the dining table everything is shared.

What do Greeks eat for breakfast? ›

A typical Greek breakfast usually consists of a wide variety of bread, pastry, fruits, and Greek yogurt. These foods are high in nutritional value and a great source of energy — an excellent way to begin your Greek food adventures!

Should I rinse arborio rice? ›

Arborio is a short grain rice treasured for its high starch content (and its toothy, or chalking core). When made into risotto or rice pudding, the starches slough off the exterior and add thick creaminess to the dishes. Don't rinse those starches off!

Do you need to wash arborio rice before cooking? ›

How to prepare risotto rice. Keep the rice in a cool, dry, dark place until ready for use. Ensure it is covered with a lid or kept in a sealed box. The rice does not need washing before use.

Is arborio rice healthier than white rice? ›

Its carb content is very similar to long-grain white rice, which has 37 grams of carbs in a 1/4-cup serving. Arborio rice is a better source of fiber, however, with 2 grams per serving compared with 0.6 grams in long-grain rice.

What is Greece's most famous dish? ›

1. Delicious baked moussaka. Probably the most famous of Greek dishes, moussaka consists of layers of fried aubergine, minced meat and potatoes, topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and then baked until golden brown.

What do you serve at a Greek dinner? ›

Start with a Meze Platter
  • Olives.
  • Feta cheese chunks.
  • Hummus dip.
  • Greek eggplant dip.
  • Pita bread wedges.
  • Stuffed grape leaves.
  • Spanakopita.
17 Sept 2020

Why do Greeks eat dinner so late? ›

Traditionally, local people in Greece would eat a very light breakfast and a late dinner because the largest meal of the day was often lunch.

What time is dinner in Greece? ›

What time is dinner in Greece? In a country that never sleeps, no time is "too late" for dinner. You will find most eateries open until past 12 at midnight. Regardless, traditionally, dinner in Greek homes is served at around 8-9 pm.

What time do they eat breakfast in Greece? ›

Since most Greeks don't really eat a huge breakfast they usually get hungry around 11 am, their preferred snack is again a savory pie such cheese pie “tyropita” or spinach pie “spanakopita”or a ham and cheese grilled sandwich.

What time do people eat lunch in Greece? ›

Greek meal times

Lunch: Often eaten later than in northern Europe, perhaps around 14:00. Lunch is often a light meal. Many Greeks, especially those working in the private sector, skip lunch altogether. Evening meal: This is the main meal of the day, eaten around 21:00 or later when the air temperature has cooled.

Do you flush toilet paper in Greece? ›

Can you flush toilet paper in Greece? Don't. Greek plumbing often consists of dated, narrow pipes which will easily clog if you flush toilet paper down them (and definitely clog if you flush anything else like tampons or baby wipes).

Do Greeks eat a lot of eggs? ›

The Greeks have been eating eggs for breakfast since ancient times, so it comes as no surprise that they would still be a popular choice today! What is this?

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