Brown Rice Pilaf

Long before going down the road to vegetarianism, I had a love affair for rice pilaf. And not just any kind of rice pilaf. The Near East variety. Towards the end, the brown rice pilaf become our favorite. And we had it at least one to two times a week.

When we switched to eating a plant-based diet, we didn’t really have such a need for side dishes. The only time we really needed them was on lentil burger night. Or paired with a loverly lentil loaf.

My food intolerances certainly complicated the matter even more. Near East boxed rice was on the list of no-can-do’s. And most other pre-packaged foods. Which, in reality, is a good thing.

So when the mood struck for a rice pilaf, I wasn’t sure what to do. I mean, what do we eat it with? Can it be a dish all on it’s own? Or is it just a side dish? And how can I make it at home to taste like the pilaf-y awesomeness that we had grown accustomed to?

This recipe brought me back to the days of old and felt like a little slice of comfort.


Brown Rice Pilaf

Brown Rice Pilaf
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Emily Levenson |


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 carrot diced into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 1 cup brown rice rinsed
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 2 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper


  1. Heat oil in a medium pan. Add carrots and onion and saute, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and heat for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add rice. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  5. Cook about 25-30 minutes, until most liquid has been absorbed.
  6. Add in orzo and cook for another 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Let sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  9. Fluff with a fork and serve warm!

Allergen Information

Nightshade free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, corn free.
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Written by

Emily Levenson is learning to trust her gut all over again. She is committed to listening to AND following the nuggets of wisdom her gut has been dishing out for decades. You can follow Emily's journey here on the blog, through the Nourish + Flourish podcast, and through her posts on Instagram.

11 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I am 88 years old and have now made this recipe for the fourth time. It is delicious!!!
    I added 1/2 teaspoon of bell seasoning or powdered sage and it enhanced the flavor.
    I just love and share it with my wife of 66 years of heaven.

  2. Hi…This recipe is great! However, both times I have made it, it takes over an hour for my rice to cook and I have to add more stock. Am I doing something wrong??

    1. Alright. I revisited this one and realized that the pilaf is going in too early, which is likely screwing up the cooking time.

      Instead of adding the rice AND orzo in together, simply add the rice first. Let cook for the 25-30 minutes, and THEN add in the orzo. Cook for another 10 minutes and it should be done. (I’ve updated the recipe itself to reflect this!)

      Let me know if you’re still having problems and I can try to trouble shoot it with you. Another alternative is to cook the rice in a rice-cooker and add it into the orzo and veggies when it’s done.

  3. I like to toast both the rice and the orzo before adding the liquid. I add the rice at teh end when I am sauteing the vegetables, and then toast the orzo separately in a skillet before adding it near the end of cooking time. The cooking time will vary a bit depending on how tightly your lid fits.

  4. A vegetable broth that does not have nightshade vegetables
    Please email me some simple recipes without nightshade vegetables
    Thanks for taking the time to respond to me. I am trying to start eating by eliminating nightshade vegetables to help with arthristis, diabetes and fibro. Please help me. Thanks again

    1. If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, Giant Eagle Market District Vegetable Stock and their Vegetarian Vegetable Broth are both nightshade free. If you’re not, Whole Foods 365 Brand and Wolfgang Puck’s Vegetable Stock are also nightshade free.

      Hope that helps!

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