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Lebanese Rice

Throughout the Mediterranean, you will find rice dishes like paella, mujadra (lentils and rice), or hashweh (Beef and rice) that are certainly more of a meal. But this Lebanese rice with vermicelli is the every-day-rice of the Middle East, and it’s by far the most served side dish in that part of the world. Lebanese rice basically consists of broken vermicelli pasta, medium-grain rice, and olive oil. Topping the rice with toasted pine nuts adds a nice nutty flavor and texture.
Adapted from the blog “The Mediterranean Dish” (


  • 2 cups medium-grain rice

  • 1 cup broken vermicelli pasta

  • 2½ tablespoons olive oil

  • Salt

  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts


  1. Rinse the rice well, changing the water three times until water runs clear, then place it in a medium bowl and cover with water. Soak for 20 minutes. Test to see if you can easily break a grain of rice by simply placing it between your thumb and index finger. Drain well.

  2. In a medium non-stick cooking pot, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the vermicelli and continuously stir to toast it evenly. Vermicelli should turn a nice golden brown, but watch carefully not to over-brown or burn it (if it burns, you must throw the vermicelli away and start over).

  3. Add the rice and continue to stir so that the rice will be well-coated with the olive oil. Season with salt.

  4. Now add 4 cups of water, bring it to a boil, and cook until the water reduces to just about the top of the rice. Then turn the heat to low and cover.

  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes on low. Once fully cooked, turn the heat off and leave the rice undisturbed in its cooking pot for 10-15 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork.

  6. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the toasted pine nuts.

  • You must rinse the rice to get rid of excess starch which causes rice to be sticky (Lebanese rice is not meant to be sticky).

  • To give the Lebanese rice flavor right from the start, toast the vermicelli in olive oil or butter until golden brown, then add the rice (after you drain it) and toast so that each rice grain is coated with the olive oil.

  • Once the rice is fully cooked, let it rest for 10-15 minutes or so, then fluff it with a fork. This again helps keep the rice from becoming sticky or gluey

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