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Mediterranean Yellow Rice

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Made under 30 mins)

Written By: Byron | March 8, 2023
A large pot of Mediterranean yellow rice is being served to a small bowl with lemon and parsley

Seasoned with a few simple herbs and spices, this vibrant Mediterranean yellow rice is the perfect side dish for your favorite main meal. This recipe is loaded with color and flavor and the spices can be easily adjusted to suit different main meals. 

This light and fluffy yellow rice recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and super easy to make in just one pot in under 30 minutes. No special cooking equipment is required and you can make it with the most basic of pantry staples.

Gluten-Free | Soy-Free | Vegan | One-Pot | Easy Recipe | Side | Mediterranean Recipe | Made Under 30 Minutes | Rice Recipe | Low Calories Recipe

Serving:

Side for 4-6

Ready in:

30 minutes or less

Skill level:

Super Easy

Serve with:

Your favorite main

ingredients used to make Mediterranean yellow rice are laid out on a table.

Ingredients you’ll need 

(makes side dish serving for 4-6)

  • 2 cups of long-grain white rice rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon of dried thyme or rosemary
  • 1/4 cup of crushed nuts or seeds
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)
  • A small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment needed

  • Medium-sized pot with lid (around 8-10 inches/20-25cm)
  • Kitchen towel

 Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Easy to make
  • Healthy, tasty, and filling
  • One-pot recipe
  • Budget-friendly
  • Ideal side dish 
  • Vegan-friendly

How to make Mediterranean Yellow Rice (in under 30 minutes!)

Step 1 – Saute onions, garlic, and spices

  • In a medium-sized pot on high heat, add the olive oil, and once hot, add the diced onion. 
  • Saute the onions until golden. Add the garlic, herbs, and spices and mix well. Reduce heat to medium. 

Step 2 – Add Rice and nuts/seeds

  • Add the rice and mix well, continue to stir until the rice becomes covered in oil and spices and slightly translucent. Mix in the nuts or seeds. 
  • Add the water and bring it to a simmer. Once bubbling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and allow the rice to simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender (about 10-12 minutes). 

Step 3 – Steam rice, season, and serve

  • Remove the pot from the heat and remove the lid. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to steam for 5 minutes.
  • Right before serving, give the rice a good squeeze of lemon juice, add some freshly chopped parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meal prep and storage

Mediterranean yellow rice is a perfect recipe for meal prepping in big batches. The recipe is super easy to make and can be easily scaled up for big-batch cooking. One thing to note is to make sure you have a pot big enough. 

An 8-10 inch (20-25cm) diameter pot is ideal for cooking up to 6 cups of rice in one batch. If you are planning to make bigger batches, use a larger pot, say around 12-16 inches (30-40cm). 

Once you’ve made your yellow rice, it’ll keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. This recipe can also be frozen and will keep up to three months when frozen in an airtight container. 

To reheat yellow rice from frozen, simply add around ½ cup of water and reheat your rice in a microwave-safe bowl.

Storage tip:

Use reusable zip lock bags and freeze 1-2 portions of rice in one bag. It will thaw faster and be a convenient size for serving as an easy snack or side.

A bowl of Mediterranean yellow rice is served in a decorative bowl.

Mediterranean brown rice

Yep, that’s right, brown rice is an easy and healthy substitute for long-grain rice and can be adapted to this recipe will minimal fuss. The water/rice ratio is slightly different when using brown rice. 

For every cup of brown rice, use 2 cups of water. Cooking time will also be slightly longer so allow a few extra minutes for the rice to properly cook and steam. 

Brown Rice/Water ratio = 1 cup rice/2 cups water

Boost this recipe to become a healthy main meal

If you’re looking to add a few ingredients to boost this recipe to become a filling and healthy main meal, we got you! Here are a few suggestions on how to stretch your Mediterranean yellow rice with a few simple ingredients. 

Chickpeas – A classic ingredient from the Mediterranean. Chickpeas will add an earthy dense flavor to your yellow rice recipe. Simply add them once the rice is cooked, mix, and serve. Chickpeas are super healthy, loaded with plant-based protein, plus they’re super cheap keeping this recipe budget-friendly. 

Roasted pumpkin/squash – Roasted pumpkin and/or squash are a great way to add some color and flavor to your yellow rice recipe. Simply cube your pumpkin into 1-inch pieces, season with your choice of spices (sweet, hot, or smoky paprika work well), and roast for 35-45 minutes. 

Tinned Tuna – For a non-vegan option, add a tin of tuna (or other tinned fish) to your yellow rice and you’ve got yourself a meal. Always try to purchase tuna with extra virgin olive oil for the healthiest option.

a decorative bowl of Mediterranean yellow rice

Nutrition facts

Serving size: 80g

Servings: 6

Amount per serving

 

Calories

109

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 5g

6%

Saturated Fat 0.7g

4%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 5mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 14.8g

5%

Dietary Fiber 0.6g

2%

Total Sugars 0.5g

 

Protein 1.5g

 

Vitamin D 0mcg

0%

Calcium 13mg

1%

Iron 3mg

19%

Potassium 53mg

1%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

A bowl of Mediterranean yellow rice sits beside a spoon

Mediterranean Yellow Rice (Vegan, G/F, made under 30 mins)

Byron
Mediterranean yellow rice is a quick and easy-to-make yellow rice recipe that’s loaded with Mediterranean flavors. Tasty, filling, vegan, and gluten-free and made in under 30 min!
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Steam time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course appertizer, Side Dish, tapas, vegan
Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain, vegan, vegetarian
Servings 6 side servings
Calories 109 kcal

Equipment

  • Medium-sized pot with lid (around 8-10 inches/20-25cm)
  • Kitchen towel

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of long-grain white rice rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon of dried thyme or rosemary
  • 1/4 cup of crushed nuts or seeds
  • Pinch of saffron optional
  • A small handful of fresh parsley chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Lemon

Instructions
 

Step 1 - Saute onions, garlic, and spices

  • In a medium-sized pot on high heat, add the olive oil, and once hot, add the diced onion.
    1/2 cup of onion, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    Diced onion in a pot with some olive oil
  • Saute the onions until golden. Add the garlic, herbs, and spices and mix well. Reduce heat to medium.
    2 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon of dried thyme or rosemary, Pinch of saffron

Step 2 - Add Rice and nuts/seeds

  • Add the rice and mix well, continue to stir until the rice becomes covered in oil and spices and slightly translucent. Mix in the nuts or seeds.
    2 cups of long-grain white rice rinsed and drained, 1/4 cup of crushed nuts or seeds
  • Add the water and bring it to a simmer. Once bubbling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and allow the rice to simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender (about 10-12 minutes).
    3 cups of water

Step 3 - Steam rice, season, and serve

  • Remove the pot from the heat and remove the lid. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to steam for 5 minutes.
    A pot of rice is covered with a kitchen towel.
  • Right before serving, give the rice a good squeeze of lemon juice, add some freshly chopped parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
    A small handful of fresh parsley, Salt and pepper to taste, 1 Lemon
    A bowl of Mediterranean yellow rice sits beside a spoon

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 80gCalories: 109kcalCarbohydrates: 14.8gProtein: 1.5gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0.7gSodium: 5mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 0.6gSugar: 0.5gCalcium: 13mgIron: 3mg
Keyword 30 minute recipe, budget-friendly recipe, easy recipe, gluten-free, one-pot, rice, side dish

Cooking Tips and FAQs

Can I cook rice in the microwave? 

Yes. Use a microwave-safe bowl and add around ¾ an inch of water above the level of the rice. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, add spices, stir, and microwave again for another 5 minutes. Add the cooked onion and garlic and mix well. Microwave on high for another 2-3 minutes. 

What is Mediterranean rice made of?

Long-grain rice, onion, garlic, olive oil, and a few herbs and spices: turmeric, ground cumin, rosemary and/or thyme. 

What kind of rice is eaten in the Mediterranean?

This depends on where you are in the Mediterranean. Long-grain rice is plentiful and available in all areas of the Mediterranean. In Spain, Valencian Bomba rice is common and found in many rice dishes. 

Is yellow rice the same as saffron rice?

Saffron is used to give Saffron rice its coloring and subtle flavor. Mediterranean yellow rice uses turmeric or a combination of turmeric and saffron. 

What makes yellow rice different from white rice?

Spices such as turmeric or saffron are used for coloring the rice to a distinctive yellow color. White rice is plain with no spices added. 

Can you use brown rice for this recipe?

Yep, you sure can! Using the same ratio of rice (1.5 cups), you will need to add an extra half a cup of water and allow a few extra minutes for the rice to be cooked. 

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