Vegetarian Basmati Rice

My daughter loves rice. Probably inherited that from my side of the family, we definitely are rice eaters. A fact that is certainly due to growing up in a rice production country. Daily used, this grain is a king ingredient in any Lusitanian kitchen and no doubt that Portugal is the biggest consumer in the European Union.

Rice can be used as a side dish for almost any meal or subsist as a main dish by excellence. It is good added in soups, cooked together with vegetables, meat, fish, beans, nuts and dried fruits and even served sweet as a dessert. It is well known the traditional “arroz doce” – sweet rice. Meat eaters would devour a chicken or rooster rice stew and will never get tired of duck rice. The original wild duck rice from the North city of Braga is a good example of a famous Portuguese dish, not to mention the “Arroz de Cabidela” or even “Sarrabulho”, also typical from the Minho region.

And then, there are the salted cod rice and the tomato rice, like this one I did recently. Oh, but if we start talking about rice with fish or shellfish, there are amazing dishes, like rice with shrimp, lobster, crab and I can’t forget my mother’s octopus rice. By the way, my very first food post was featuring nothing less than rice.

Naturally gluten-free, this ancient grain is a great friend of people with gluten-intolerance or celiac disease. Plus, the use of herbs and spices create distinctive increased flavors depending on what is being cooked with the rice. In this particular vegetarian rice, I used turmeric, responsible for that strong yellow color that brings memories from the far East Portuguese colonies and the spice trade during the Portuguese Empire. So, yes we call rice a friend. Thank you Asia for being the place where rice began its delicious culinary journey.

Vegetarian Basmati Rice
Serves 4
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  3. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  5. 1 cup green peas
  6. 1 zucchini, chopped in longitudinal little stripes
  7. 2 cups basmati rice
  8. 2-3 cups water
  9. 1 Tbsp herbes de Provence
  10. handful fresh parsley, chopped
  11. 1 tsp turmeric
  12. 1 tsp sea salt
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over high heat and add the chopped onion and minced garlic.
  2. Reduce to medium-high heat and cook until the onion starts to golden, shaking the pan once in a while (this will take about 10 minutes).
  3. Add the tomato and cook more 5 minutes, to let release the juices, reducing to medium-low heat.
  4. Add the green peas and shake the pan to coat.
  5. Add the zucchini, washed and striped in half longitudinal length and then into small stripes and finally in small pieces horizontal (or chopped accordingly to your preference).
  6. Stir about 2 minutes and add the rice, previously washed.
  7. Add the water, 2 or 3 cups depending how much water the tomatoes had released.
  8. You can keep adding water during cook time if needed.
  9. Season with the herbes de Provence, fresh chopped parsley, turmeric and salt.
  10. Allow to cook over very low heat about 8 minutes, covered.
  11. Remove from heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes, covered.
  12. Serve right away.
Delicious Wordflux

, , , , , ,

12 Responses to Vegetarian Basmati Rice

  1. Elle at #

    I’ always looking for new ways to serve rice. I love this one! Definitely adding to my recipe bookmarks. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This looks wonderful. So pretty, so colorful. Love the reds and greens.

  3. Jeanette at #

    This rice is beautiful! Love the zucchini, herbs and turmeric in this dish.

  4. I love rice. This looks so pretty with all the colors!

  5. What an interesting post and wonderful looking recipe. We love rice at our house too!

  6. Hi Teresa,

    Looking very summery and refreshing for a rice dish. Must be the turmeric color against the perfect green bowl to make the rice stand out. Yummy!

    Would love to see more Portuguese dishes, and read more about Portuguese culture. Do you have any trouble finding the right ingredients to make Portuguese dishes in Florida?

    • Thank you Reese for your comment and interest in my recipes. Your question could be subject of a blog post! There are a lot of different ingredients here in Florida, but I miss very much some special ones from my country. Just to tell you some examples, I would include salted cod, olive oil, wine, olives, fresh bread, cheeses, butter, yogurts and a kind of Portuguese pear called “pera rocha”. There a few stores in the country that sell “Portuguese” products but most of them are not good quality. You might find weird that I included yogurts, but the truth is in Portugal there’s a tremendous selection of yogurts and even for the most known brands, there the list of ingredients don’t have the “bad” stuff of the same kind here, like HFCS and alike. I could go on and on talking about salted cod, like I did a little on this post:
      These are a few examples. Hope you don’t find this reply too big! Cheers!

  7. Great insights on Portuguese foods! Thanks Teresa. Salted cod looks and sounds delish. Can’t wait to see more…

  8. I just love how you packed all those vegetables into this dish. I don’t make enough rice. The kids love it, it’s healthy (especially if you use brown rice!) and cheap. Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. It doesn’t sound like there is enough time to cook the rice – is 8 minutes really enough? Looks delicious!

    • Well, it all depends in the type of rice you use. That basmati took me only that amount of time and usually takes around 10 minutes for mostly recipes. I normally let it rest, covered, for more 5 minutes, with the heat off, as it still cooking and turns out better in my experience. But you always should check your rice and if needed more time add some hot water, a bit of a time until ready. Only be careful to not allow it to get mushy, unless you like it of course. Best of luck!