Lebanese Rice With Vermicelli

8 servings
25 min

Lebanese vermicelli rice (riz b sha’riyeh) is a simple three-ingredient Middle Eastern staple made with rice and vermicelli pasta. This recipe is easy to make and is so versatile that you can enjoy it as the perfect Mediterranean rice pilaf side dish.

A place filled with rice.

Traditional Lebanese rice is buttery and flavorsome, making it a favorite Middle Eastern side dish. Once you learn how to cook vermicelli rice, you will prefer this to traditional rice. The best part: Lebanese rice recipe is vegan-friendly.


What Is Vermicelli Rice?

Wondering what vermicelli rice pilaf is? You are in the right place. Lebanese vermicelli rice uses long-grain white rice, vermicelli noodles, and olive oil.


This Lebanese rice pilaf is a standard (and the most popular) side dish in the Middle East. You can serve it as a base for stews or several meat dishes. It is fluffy, nutty, and versatile. Learning how to cook vermicelli rice is a Middle Eastern staple.


To jazz things up, you can top the Lebanese rice with pine nuts, blanched almonds, or just about any toasted nuts. Garnishing with parsley is an excellent idea for another layer of flavor and a pop of color.

Essential Middle Eastern Spice Guide

Rice with grape leaves and a dish of olives.

What to Serve with Arab Rice

Serving suggestions are varied. However, the typical dishes include the following:


  • Lebanese kidney bean stew (fasolia) is super easy to make and filling, making this an ideal combination with Lebanese rice.
  • Lebanese Okra Stew (bamia) that is cooked in tomato sauce
  • Lebanese Spinach Stew (sabanekh wa riz) – This lovely, light spinach stew pairs well with vermicelli rice.
  • Lebanese carrots and peas stew (bazella w riz)
  • Other options Middle Eastern options include chicken shawarma, Middle Eastern green beans, lamb kofta balls, and Molokhia.
  • For an Indian flair serve arab rice with chicken tikka masala, Cajun shrimp, lentil dahl, kidney bean curry, coconut chicken curry, and butter chicken.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is VermicelliVermicelli is a thin noodle, which is similar to spaghetti. However, the diameter is much lighter. Given the thinness, vermicelli can be easily mixed in rice. An alternative is angel hair pasta; the two are very similar.


What is the Difference Between Rice and Rice Pilaf? The main difference between rice and rice pilaf is the cooking method and the flavor. Regular rice is typically cooked, baked, or steamed with plain water; however, rice pilaf is browned in butter. By definition, a pilaf is sautéed with aromatics before being cooked in broth. Pilaf generally has a nutty flavor and is known as seasoned rice when additional spices are added.


How do I reheat the Lebanese rice without drying it out? For each cup of cooked rice, scatter a tablespoon of water over the vermicelli rice and put it in an oven or microwave until warm.

Can I use brown rice for the Lebanese rice recipe? Yes, you can. Fry the vermicelli, and add the brown rice/water amount based on package instructions.


How Do I Store Vermicelli Rice? Storing Lebanese vermicelli rice is easy. You must ensure the rice cools before storing it in an airtight container. An airtight container will ensure that the rice does not dry out. Any leftovers can stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also freeze it for two months in the freezer.

Up close picture of rice.

Recipe

Lebanese Rice With Vermicelli
Recipe details
  • 8  servings
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 25 min
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Ingredients

  • ▢ 2 cups long-grain white rice*
  • ▢ 4 cups of water
  • ▢ 1/2 cup vermicelli broken into 1-inch pieces
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ▢ 1 pinch salt
  • ▢ Garnish suggestions - Toasted pine nuts. Toasted almonds. Parsley.
  • * The amount of water needed can vary depending on the rice selected. The ratio is typically 2:1. Two parts water to one part rice (4 cups water to 2 cups of rice). It is always best to refer to the package, as rice ratios can vary.
Instructions

Step One - Prep: Let the rice soak in cold water for five minutes. Rinse and set aside.
Step Two - Vermicelli: Heat olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the vermicelli rice and frequently stir (almost continuously) till the vermicelli is a dark golden color.
Step Three - Rice: After the vermicelli reaches the desired color, add the rice to the saucepan. Add the water. Let it comes to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, salt and fluff with a fork. Garnish as desired.
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Comments
  • Donna Buckmeier Donna Buckmeier on Jan 11, 2023

    How much water?

  • Cso51108026 Cso51108026 on Jan 11, 2023

    This is nearly EXACTLY Suzy Karadesh's Lebanese Rice with Vermicelli from her blog, themediterraneandish - even some of your verbiage is the same (i.e, "jazz things up..."). I'd never accuse anyone of anything, but I would *ask* that if you are borrowing or adapting a recipe, you give credit to the original...


    From LONG experience, using 2 cups of rice and 1 cup of broken vermicelli, a less-vague cooking method involves sauteing both rice and pasta in the olive oil until browned/toasted, then adding 5 cups of water (or chicken stock). Bring to boil, reduce to simmer; stir part-way through. If it looks like too much water is being absorbed, add another 1/2 cup of liquid. I use a 4-quart nonstick saucepan, typically add a small diced onion, and cook in chicken broth (or bouillon/water) - for 2 cups of rice and 1 cup of vermicelli, 5 cups of liquid does the trick nicely, without having to soak rice, and the vague water amounts. L'Chaim, ~Chrissie

    • Sinful Kitchen Sinful Kitchen on Jan 12, 2023

      Ok, so you did accuse me. I am familiar with her blog, but I had not seen her post on this before. My post in her post is actually very different. But if I as copying her, I would not have missed the areas where I was vague.


      We both wrote a recipe for a traditional Middle Eastern side dish. It's rice with a bit of pasta in it. It's five ingredients, two of which are water and salt. It's served in Arabic homes and Middle Eastern restaurants worldwide. It's as common as french fries to the Lebanese.


      I am not sure about your second paragraph. Congratulations on making this recipe different? That's a lot of pasta to rice ratio for Lebanese rice. But hey, if it works for you, good on you. If you don't clean your rice before cooking, that's ok too. You say tomato; I say tomato.


      But interesting about the water vs. broth. I don't eat chicken anything, so I make this with water, rice, and pasta. I have never seen rice made without even a little salt for flavor. Oil to help the rice from sticking? Then I dump diced onion in. Don't I saute the onion or anything? Is it just boiled? Your instructions are quite vague, with the exception of your extremely specific cookware 4-quart nonstick saucepan. Unfortanly my pot is a 5-quart stainless steel. I guess I can't make it. Lishaym, Ruth




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