Lebanese rice is a staple food. To make vermicelli rice, pasta pieces are sautéed in butter and cooked with white rice. This Arabic rice with vermicelli noodles can be served by itself as a side dish or with Lebanese beef and green beans and other stews. It is absolutely delicious!
This is uniquely a Lebanese/Middle Eastern way of making rice. The sautéed vermicelli is very reminiscent of “fideos” in Mexican cooking, however this totally different than that! Lebanese rice with vermicelli is a satisfying side dish and a complement to almost any meal. It is also referred to as Lebanese rice pilaf or Middle Eastern rice pilaf.
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Vermicelli rice pairs well with many different dishes. In Lebanese cooking, this Middle Eastern rice dish can be served alone or as a base for stews like Lebanese stewed green beans. Many dishes call to add toasted pine nuts as well, which gives it a deeper flavor. I highly recommend buying QUALITY pine nuts in bulk, toasting them and storing them in a jar in the freezer. For more on that see How to toast pine nuts.
I highly recommend these pine nuts from nuts.com. The quality and price is worth it!
It is imperative to use a very thin pasta like vermicelli, otherwise the texture and flavor will not be right.
Did you know that after we sauté the vermicelli, we love to reserve some and eat it as a snack? Just put it on a paper towel and sprinkle some salt on it, and it is a super tasty snack!
If you are not familiar with Lebanese food or Middle Easter cuisine check out this article on my ultimate guide to Lebanese food!
How to sauté the vermicelli noodles for Arabic Rice
Ok first, start off with a package of vermicelli noodles. Break some of the noodles apart into about 1-2 inch pieces. You will need 1/2 cup of the broken pasta noodles for this recipe for Arabic rice.
Add 3 tablespoons of butter to a saucepan and turn to medium heat. Add the noodle pieces and sauté them stirring them constantly. they are going to brown up very nicely, but make sure you are stirring it and don’t have the heat set to high. It browns quickly.
The browned vermicelli is so lovely because it has that wonderful flavor of brown butter! As soon as it is browned, put a little on a paper towel and lightly salt and use for snacking… EVERY. SINGLE. TIME! Love this stuff!
Now with the rest of your browned verrmicelli noodles, add the rice, water and salt (add 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts if desired). Bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat and cook for 20 minutes until the rice is tender.
Serve with Lebanese Beef and Green Beans, or as a side dish for shish kabob, or any shawarma dish.
You are going to LOVE this rice recipe!
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Lebanese Vermicelli Rice
- ½ cup vermicelli broken into 1-2 inch pieces
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 cup white rice
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 teas salt
- Break the vermicelli noodles into 1-2 inch pieces
- in a saucepan add 3 tablespoons of butter and turn it to medium heat
- Add the vermicelli noodle pieces and sauté them stirring constantly
- As soon as they are brown add the rice, water and salt
- Bring it to a boil then reduce to medium heat and cook until rice is tender
- Serve with your favorite Middle Eastern dish and enjoy!