Took me three tries but I finally nailed a restaurant style Lebanese rice pilaf. Nothing I tried online came close to this and I guess the secret is the right kind of rice, the right rice/water ratio and of course, plenty of butter and oil! Find yourself a good Lebanese yogurt marinade, grill some meats, and get a hold of some hummus. If you're from Southeast Michigan or anywhere else with a large Middle Eastern population, you will feel like you're eating at your favorite place! Trust me.

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Recipe Summary

prep:
10 mins
cook:
35 mins
additional:
10 mins
total:
55 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
6 cups
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Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Soak rice in a bowl of water for 10 minutes; drain and rinse until the water runs clear.

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  • Heat 1/4 cup butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil together in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir orzo until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add drained rice and increase heat to medium-high. Cook and stir orzo-rice mixture until rice is coated in butter-oil mixture and starts to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.

  • Pour water over rice mixture and season with salt; stir and bring to a boil. Cover skillet, reduce heat to low, and simmer until rice is fluffy and tender yet firm, about 20 minutes.

  • Heat remaining olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat; cook and stir almonds until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add remaining butter and stir in tahini until almonds are evenly coated. Mix almond mixture into rice mixture.

Cook's Notes:

Squeeze a little lemon over the top of the rice at the end for some added tartness.

Use other roasted nuts like pistachios or cashews or even add some golden raisins for variety.

Some restaurants also use little pieces of vermicelli or angel hair pasta instead of orzo so you can substitute those, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

203 calories; protein 2.8g 6% DV; carbohydrates 18g 6% DV; fat 13.4g 21% DV; cholesterol 20.3mg 7% DV; sodium 641.1mg 26% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (4)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
04/15/2015
This is not too similar to what Lebanese rice I've had but it is tasty nonetheless. I added a lot more nuts--2 or 3 times the stated amount--and a bit of golden raisins. Thanks for a good versatile recipe. Read More
(1)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
08/30/2019
I like rice. And, I really like Lebanese food. But, I was hoping for more with this one. I guess the photos led me to believe this rice dish was going to be much more flavourful than it is. It’s a good rice dish, but not great. It’s just kind of “meh”. The rice cooked as is, for sure, is fluffy and moist, but it’s just rice. I’m not sure if it’s worth the extra effort compared to just a nice pot of rice cooked in stock with a few add-ins thrown in at the end. Read More
4 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
04/14/2015
This is not too similar to what Lebanese rice I've had but it is tasty nonetheless. I added a lot more nuts--2 or 3 times the stated amount--and a bit of golden raisins. Thanks for a good versatile recipe. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
08/07/2017
I made this rice to pair with shish tawook for a Lebanese dinner with friends. The rice turned out delicious but looked nothing like the picture. It was nowhere near that yellow. I added about three times as many almonds as the recipe called for and I still think it could have used more. Next time I will probably add more salt too. It was a little bland for my taste (but I'm a salt-aholic). My husband and guests were very complimentary. I will definitely make this again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
02/07/2018
My family and the groups I have made it for loved this recipe. Our local Lebanese restaurant puts carrots in theirs so I dice up some carrots and put them in about halfway through with the rice cooking. Love the addition of some color and if I don't overcook the carrots just the slightest crunch people seem to like as well! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! A keeper for sure!:) Read More
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Rating: 3 stars
08/30/2019
I like rice. And, I really like Lebanese food. But, I was hoping for more with this one. I guess the photos led me to believe this rice dish was going to be much more flavourful than it is. It’s a good rice dish, but not great. It’s just kind of “meh”. The rice cooked as is, for sure, is fluffy and moist, but it’s just rice. I’m not sure if it’s worth the extra effort compared to just a nice pot of rice cooked in stock with a few add-ins thrown in at the end. Read More