Lemon Pesto Pasta made with homemade pesto is guaranteed to be a family favorite. With a hearty pesto flavor and a delicious hint of lemon, it makes one amazing side dish!
I mostly enjoy my rice steamed plain in a rice cooker with nothing added but water but sometimes, I do crave for something more robust and full flavored.
Lemon Pesto Rice is a quick and easy way to take your next batch of rice up a notch. With a hearty pesto flavor and a delicious hint of citrus, it makes for an amazing side dish to any of your favorite meals.
The secret to this delicious pesto rice is to first brown the raw rice in oil with garlic and onions for a nutty flavor and then cook on low in chicken broth and homemade pesto for another layer of flavor.
Here are a few tips on how to get this amazing rice dish on the table in no time:
- For vegan, swap the chicken broth for water or vegetable broth.
- You can easily double the recipe for future meals. Just spread out the leftover rice, breaking any large clumps, on a baking sheet to cool and then place the cooled rice in resealable bags to freeze until needed. You can warm it up in the microwave if you’re rushed for time or better yet, steam in a steamer basket lined with a coffee filter for about 4 to 5 minutes or until heated through. Your rice will taste fluffy and freshly made!
- Not all rice is made equal. Depending on the type or brand you use, you might need a different proportion of liquid to rice from the 1 1/2 cup broth and 1 cup rice called for in the recipe so please refer to the package and adjust amounts accordingly. I prefer Jasmine rice for making pilafs, it’s a Thai long grain rice that cooks up very white and fragrant.
- The oil from the pesto will rise to the top as it stands. You can use this perfumed oil instead to brown the rice for an extra dose of flavor.
- Please do not skip browning the raw rice in oil! Toasting in fat not only adds a toasty flavor but also allows the grains to absorb the liquid slowly and thus maintaining their shape as they cook.
- When almost all the liquid is absorbed, remove the rice from the heat and let stand for about 5 minutes before fluffing. This will allow the starch to firm up and keep the grains separate instead of sticking together when you stir.
- The amount of pesto sauce in the recipe will yield more than the 1/4 cup you need. Don’t fret, pesto sauce is a quick and delicious way to jazz up pasta, grilled meats or seafood!
Lemon Pesto Rice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1/4 cup prepared pesto sauce
- salt to taste
For the Homemade Pesto Sauce
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 bunch basil leaves
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil.
- Add onions and cook until softened.
- Add rice and cook, stirring regularly, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until coated with oil and lightly browned.
- Add broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, and pesto sauce. Stir to combine. Season with salt to taste.
- Bring to a boil and then lower heat. Cover pan with a tight-fitting lid and simmer on for about 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is fluffy and tender and liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes. With a fork, fluff rice and serve hot.
For the Homemade Pesto Sauce
- In a food processor, combine pine nuts, basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and pepper until smooth.