Home Recipes Easy Lemon Rice (Greek-Inspired) – Minimalist Baker Recipes

Easy Lemon Rice (Greek-Inspired) – Minimalist Baker Recipes


Hands holding the sides of a bowl of Greek lemon rice

Introducing the perfect side for your next Mediterranean-inspired meal: lemon rice! Our EASY vegan take on this savory, lemony, Greek dish is equally fluffy, flavorful, and SO versatile. It’s amazing with falafel, hummus, grilled veggies, and beyond!

Just 1 pot, 5 ingredients, and 25 minutes required to level up your go-to grain. Let us show you how!

White basmati rice, olive oil, garlic cloves, lemon zest, salt, turmeric, lemon, and water

If you’ve eaten at a Greek restaurant and wondered what’s in that delicious rice accompanying your main dish, you’re not alone! This recipe is inspired by many such experiences and a desire to make a homemade, plant-based version.

Our search for the origin story of this dish came up empty-handed, but common ingredients seem to include white rice, chicken broth, lemon juice, butter, salt, and a handful of other ingredients depending on the recipe.

How to Make Lemon Rice

Our 1-pot vegan version begins with sautéing garlic in olive oil until just fragrant and still light in color. You don’t want your garlic to get too browned as it can result in a bitter flavor.

Sautéing minced garlic in olive oil

Next, we add lemon zest and sauté briefly. Then comes white rice, water, and a generous amount of FRESH lemon juice!

This is not the time or place for bottled lemon juice, friends. If you need more convincing, Ken’s Greek Table has some additional words of wisdom: “For the love of Pete, do NOT use that pre-bottled lemon juice s***!”

Pouring water into a saucepan of rice

Now that you’re on board with fresh lemons, there are just two more ingredients before we set it and forget it: 1) sea salt for overall flavor and 2) a little optional pinch of turmeric for a pretty yellow color!

After cooking in a saucepan for about 15-20 minutes, we turn off the heat, fluff with a fork, and let it rest until it becomes extra fluffy!

Using a fork to fluff rice

We hope you LOVE this lemon rice! It’s:

Quick & easy
& SO delicious!

What to Serve with Lemon Rice

It’s a versatile side that pairs well with our Classic Vegan Falafel (GF), Grilled Veggie Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce, Hummus From Scratch, and much more. It’s also so good with a new Mediterranean-inspired bowl coming soon (stay tuned)!

More Mediterranean-Inspired Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Fork resting in a bowl of our easy Greek lemon rice recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 25 minutes

Servings 4 (~3/4-cup servings)

Course Side

Cuisine Greek-Inspired, Mediterranean-Inspired

Freezer Friendly 1 month

Does it keep? 4-5 Days

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white basmati rice*
  • 2-3 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 pinch ground turmeric (optional for color)
  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil and minced garlic. Sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant but still light in color.

  • Stir in basmati rice and lemon zest. Sauté for 1 more minute.

  • Add the water, lemon juice, salt, and optional turmeric. Stir well, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid is fully absorbed.

  • Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for a minute or so before fluffing with a fork and serving. If the rice is slightly too toothsome, simply place the lid back on top of the pot and let it rest for 5-10 more minutes — the steam should fully cook it! It’s delicious served with Mediterranean-inspired dishes including falafel, hummus, grilled veggies, and more (new recipe coming soon!).
  • Store leftover rice in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a little oil or water until warm.

*Brown rice doesn’t work well in this recipe. We tested and strongly preferred the fluffy texture and neutral flavor of white rice. If you want to try brown rice, we’d recommend using long grain rice and adding slightly more water and cooking longer.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
*Loosely adapted from Damn Spicy’s Greek Lemon Rice.

Serving: 1 (~3/4-cup) serving Calories: 198 Carbohydrates: 38.3 g Protein: 3.3 g Fat: 3.9 g Saturated Fat: 0.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 293 mg Potassium: 30 mg Fiber: 0.3 g Sugar: 0.5 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 9 mg Calcium: 9 mg Iron: 0.4 mg