This exquisite dish blends nutty orzo, aromatic vegetables, and fragrant basmati rice into a culinary masterpiece. The aromatics are sauteed to perfection, creating a flavorful base, while the orzo and basmati rice add layers of flavor and texture. Infused with Soulful Classic broth, this vegan rice pilaf is packed with flavor, easy to make, and involves less cleaning, making it perfect for a quick weeknight meal.
What is rice pilaf made of?
The Best Vegan Rice Pilaf is a lofty claim, but I guarantee it is true. This recipe is super simple to make, uses humble ingredients, and tastes like the rice pilaf from a box that we all loved as kids. While it tastes the same, there are some major differences. Mine is dairy-free and chicken stock free and lower in sodium than most box mixes.
Orzo: Just like boxed rice pilaf, mine has orzo. It is important to toast the orzo to get that slightly golden color and toasty flavor. Orzo is really what gives the pilaf a super appealing texture. I love how it is slightly tender and chewy and gives some textural variation to this Best Vegan Rice Pilaf Recipe.
Aromatics: I always start cooking with aromatics like garlic and onions. Sautéing them in a little olive oil works so well to bring out the flavors. Adding some chopped celery also gives that old-home flavor that we all love. Taking the extra time to brown everything gives this rice pilaf a major flavor.
Broth: For my best Vegan Rice Pilaf recipe, I do use some of my favorite broth, Mala Girl broths. This recipe was developed in partnership with them. Their Soulful Classic broth, which is a vegan chicken style powdered soup base, works perfectly in this recipe. You can buy their broth here. Of course, if you have another brand of bouillon, you may substitute it in the recipe. However, I recommend Mala Girl broths because they are lower sodium and taste great.
Rice: When choosing rice for this recipe, choose organic basmati rice. Rice is one of the food items that I always choose organic. I have read and heard things about non-organic rice containing higher levels of arsenic and microplastics, so I try to avoid them. Jasmine rice will also work for this recipe, as well as brown rice. However, if using brown rice, you will need to adjust the liquid as brown requires more liquid and a longer cooking time.
I developed this recipe to show you that vegan side dishes are delicious and easy to make. This one is perfect for your holiday table.
How to Make Vegan Rice Pilaf
Toast the Aromatics
Heat a sauté or fry pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Fry garlic, onions, and celery for 5-8 minutes, stirring often until toasty and fragrant.
Transfer orzo to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often until slightly golden.
Add the rice and fry for an additional 2 minutes until distributed and beginning to get toasty.
Stir in water and broth
Add the water, the Soulful Classic or bouillon of your choice, and salt and give a stir.
Simmer to Perfection
Bring the pan to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Allow it to cook until all liquid evaporates, approximately 15 minutes. At the ten-minute mark, check the rice. If the flame is too high, the water will evaporate quicker than you want, and you can add ¼ cup more water to the pan. Do not stir!
Fluff and Serve
Only fluff the vegan rice pilaf with a fork when it is ready so as not to break the grains and make mushy rice.
Recipe Tips for Vegan Rice Pilaf
Storage Tip: Store any remaining Vegan Rice Pilaf in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, add a splash of water and gently fluff with a fork as you warm it on the stovetop.
Add an Extra Layer of Flavor: Consider adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a handful of fresh herbs like parsley or dill for a burst of freshness.
Make ahead Tip: Prepare the Vegan Rice Pilaf ahead of time and reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave. Add a splash of water to maintain its fluffy texture.
More Vegan Recipes You’ll Love
Best Vegan Rice Pilaf
- saute pan or soup pot
- ½ cup orzo
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- ½ onion chopped small
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp celery minced
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp Soulful Classic broth heaping
- 1 cup basmati
- Heat a sauté or fry pan over medium and heat the oil. Then fry the garlic, onions, and celery for 5-8 minutes, stirring often until toasty and fragrant.
- Add the orzo and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often until slightly golden.
- Add the rice and fry for 2 minutes until distributed and beginning to get toasty.
- Add the water, the Soulful Classic or bouillon of your choice, and salt, and give a stir.
- Bring the pan to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cover. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. At the ten-minute mark, check the rice. If the flame is too high, the water will evaporate quicker than you want, and you can add ¼ cup more water to the pan. Do not stir! Only fluff the rice with a fork when it is ready so as not to break the grains and make mushy rice.