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.

Yields 4-6

Brown Rice Pilaf

Brown Rice Pilaf

5 minPrep Time

35 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 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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More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a meditation encourager, mama, and Pittsburgh enthusiast. She recently launched a podcast called Nourish + Flourish and is a co-pilot at Propelle.


  1. Reply This looks great! I happen to have an affinity for the "pilaf" myself. Yum, yum!
  2. Reply 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.
  3. Reply Do you know how far in advance I can make this? I would like to make it 48 hours ahead. Would it be ok to reheat in a slow cooker?
    1. Reply I don't see why you couldn't. You may need to adjust the liquid. Let me know how it goes!
  4. Reply 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?? thanks!
    1. Reply Lisa: Hmm. This recipe was created so long ago that I'd have to revisit it. I will take a look and report back. Thanks for letting me know.
    2. Reply 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.
  5. Reply 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.
  6. Reply 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. Reply 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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