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Pesto Rice

Pesto Rice is a bright and easy side dish that is full of flavor and ready in less than 20 minutes. The perfect partner to so many dinners.

bowl of rice

Pesto Rice Recipe

I’m always looking for new and inventive side dishes that aren’t the same old starch and vegetables. Getting stuck in a rut seems to happen about every 2-3 months so I am always keeping my eye out for new ideas.

This pesto rice recipe came to me while I was grocery shopping and browsing the pasta sauce aisle. The little jars of pesto caught my eye!

Armed with my new purchase and a few fresh lemons, I whipped up this quick and delicious side dish which is now a new family favorite. I know your family will love it too!

If you love rice, check out this fool proof oven baked rice recipe and this wild rice stuffing!

labeled picture of pesto rice ingredients

Pesto Rice Ingredients

Rice – I used Texmati Rice (Basmati rice) for this recipe but feel free to use white rice, Basmati, jasmine, or even brown rice.

Butter – Unsalted butter is best for this recipe so you can control the salt levels but if you only have salted butter, leave out the additional salt at the end. You can also use olive oil instead of butter if you prefer

Chicken Broth – Again, I prefer low sodium chicken broth or chicken stock. In a pinch you can also use water.

Pesto – I used a basil pesto that contains parmesan cheese. If you have a favorite pesto recipe feel free to use that one.

Lemon – Lemon juice and lemon zest were both used and fresh is always best.

Pantry Staples – Garlic, salt, and black pepper.

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How to make Pesto Rice

First: On the stove top, in a pot with a tight fitting lid, add the rice, butter, and garlic. Over medium heat, melt the butter and toast the rice, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until fragrant.

Second: Add the chicken broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover tightly and cook for 12-15 minutes.

Third: Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and pesto to the cooked rice. Stir to combine and fluff. Serve warm!

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

bowl of rice with a fork and red napkin

Can I make Pesto Rice in a rice cooker?

You can make this in the rice cooker. Toast the rice first and then add the chicken broth to the rice cooker. Adjust the cooking time to 12 minutes. Once finished, stir in the pesto, lemon juice, and zest.

Is it gluten free?

Rice is typically gluten free but check the package to be sure that it is. Some manufacturers package the rice in facilities with other products that have gluten.

Also, if you are using a store bought pesto, check that label as well.

How to store Leftover Rice

Leftover rice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container.

To reheat, microwave in 30 second intervals or on the stove top. You might need to add 1/4 cup of broth to the rice to fluff it back up.

fork of rice with a bowl

Tips for No Leftovers

  • Toasting the rice before add the chicken broth gives the final dish so much more flavor.
  • You can use water to make the rice but chicken broth is best.
  • Use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest if at all possible. It really enhances the flavor.
  • Always add the pesto last as it can turn brown with the heat after a little time.
  • Garnish the finished pesto rice with toasted pine nuts, fresh basil, or more lemon zest.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

bowl of rice with text "pesto rice"

This delicious and easy pesto rice is a great addition to any table. You can even double or triple the recipe to serve a crowd.

bowl of rice

Pesto Rice with Lemon

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes

Pesto Rice is a bright and easy side dish that is full of flavor and ready in less than 20 minutes. The perfect partner to so many dinners.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 cup Texmati rice (or basmati)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Instructions

    1. On the stove top, in a pot with a tight fitting lid, add the rice, butter, and garlic.
    2. Over medium heat, melt the butter and toast the rice, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until fragrant.
    3. Add the chicken broth and stir to combine.
    4. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer.
    5. Cover tightly and cook for 12-15 minutes.
    6. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and pesto to the cooked rice.
    7. Stir to combine and fluff.
    8. Serve warm!

Notes

  • Toasting the rice before add the chicken broth gives the final dish so much more flavor.
  • You can use water to make the rice but chicken broth is best.
  • Use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest if at all possible. It really enhances the flavor.
  • Always add the pesto last as it can turn brown with the heat after a little time.
  • Garnish the finished pesto rice with toasted pine nuts, fresh basil, or more lemon zest.
  • Recommended Products

    This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 155Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 505mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g

    More Easy Side Dishes

    Whole grain are nutritious and are great to make delicious food from appetizers, salad, breads, main courses, and desserts.

    We are sharing over 30 different recipes using whole grains so join us in the celebration!

    Wednesday Wholegrain Recipes

    LeftoversThenBreakfast.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encourages and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

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    Radha

    Thursday 23rd of September 2021

    Yum! Rightaway falling in love with this amazing rice! We love pesto and this is an amazing side. Never thought of adding to rice. Creative!

    Hezzi-D

    Thursday 23rd of September 2021

    What a great way to flavor rice! Sounds yummy!

    Wendy Klik

    Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

    I'm sure this would be a wonderful side dish for chicken or fish. Great idea.

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