Lebanese Vermicelli Rice: Easy Side Dish

Lebanese vermicelli rice, or riz b sha’riyeh, is a simple, versatile side dish that is perfect for any occasion. It has three ingredients: rice, vermicelli pasta, and butter or olive oil. This dish is easy to make and can be customized by adding different herbs and spices.

A place filled with rice.

Traditional Lebanese rice is buttery and flavorsome, making it a favorite Middle Eastern side dish. You will prefer it to traditional rice once you learn how to cook vermicelli rice with its delicate vermicelli noodles and aromatic spices. The best part is that this Lebanese rice recipe is vegan-friendly and easy to make!

What Is Vermicelli Rice?

Lebanese vermicelli rice pilaf, or riz b sha’riyeh, is a simple and versatile side dish popular in the Middle East. It has three ingredients: rice, vermicelli pasta, and butter or olive oil.

The texture is fluffy, and the flavor is slightly nutty. Lebanese rice is often topped with pine nuts, blanched almonds, or just about any toasted nuts. I like to garnish it with parsley for a pop of color!

Ingredients

  • Long-grain white rice: Long-grain white rice is the best type of rice for this recipe because it cooks evenly and has a fluffy texture.
  • Vermicelli Vermicelli noodles add a unique texture and flavor to the rice. They also help to absorb the excess water, preventing the rice from becoming mushy.
  • Olive oil – Olive oil helps to toast the rice and vermicelli noodles, giving them a nutty flavor. It also helps to prevent the rice from sticking to the pot.
  • Salt: Brings out the flavor.
  • Garnish Options –  (toasted pine nuts, toasted almonds, parsley): Garnishes are optional, but they add a touch of elegance to the dish. They also provide additional flavor and nutrition.
Up close picture of rice.

Substitutions

Some popular alternates for vermicelli include:

  1. Angel hair pasta (capelli d’angelo): This is a good substitute for vermicelli because it cooks quickly and has a similar texture.
  2. Rice vermicelli: This is a gluten-free alternative to vermicelli that is made with rice flour and water.
  3. Spaghettini: This is a thicker pasta than vermicelli, but it can still be used in this recipe.

Tips for Making Perfect Rice with Pasta

Follow these tips to make perfect Lebanese rice every time:

  • Use long-grain rice. Short-grain rice tends to get clumpy, which is not ideal for this dish.
  • Toast the vermicelli carefully. Vermicelli can burn quickly, so keep an eye on it while it’s toasting. If it does burn, discard the batch and start over.
  • Stir the vermicelli often while toasting. This will help it to toast evenly and prevent it from burning.
  • Cook the rice with the vermicelli for a minute before adding water. This will help to reduce the risk of clumping and give the rice a toasted flavor.
  • Let the rice rest for 10-15 minutes after cooking. This will help the rice to fluff up and absorb any excess water.
Rice with grape leaves and a dish of olives.

What to Serve with Vermicelli Rice

Serving suggestions are varied. However, the typical dishes include the following:

  • Lebanese kidney bean stew (fasolia) is super easy to make and filling, making this an ideal combination with Lebanese rice.
  • Lebanese Okra Stew (bamia) that is cooked in tomato sauce
  • Lebanese Spinach Stew (sabanekh wa riz) – This lovely, light spinach stew pairs well with vermicelli rice.
  • For a Nigerian twist, serve Lebanese rice with Nigerian jollof, a one-pot, tomato, and pepper-infused rice with a crispy layer at the bottom. It takes only 30 minutes to make!
A place filled with rice.

Lebanese Vermicelli Rice (Riz B Sha’riyeh): An Easy Side Dish

Lebanese vermicelli rice, also known as riz b sha'riyeh, is an easy side dish that is popular in the Middle East. It is made with just three ingredients: rice, vermicelli pasta, and butter or olive oil!
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: All Day
Cuisine: Lebanese
Servings: 8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vermicelli broken into one inch pieces
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 4 cups water*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Garnish suggestions – Toasted pine nuts. Toasted almonds. Parsley.

Instructions

  • Rice Preparation: Soak the rice in cold water for five minutes. After soaking, rinse the rice thoroughly and set it aside.
  • Prepare the Vermicelli: Break the vermicelli into 1-inch pieces. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the vermicelli and stir frequently until it is a dark golden brown color.
  • Cook the Rice: Add the rice to the saucepan and stir to coat with the olive oil. Add the water, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Fluff and Serve: Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes, covered. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve. Garnish with toasted pine nuts, toasted almonds, and parsley, if desired.

Notes

  • Use long-grain rice. Short-grain rice tends to get clumpy, which is not ideal for this dish.
  • Toast the vermicelli carefully. Vermicelli can burn quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on it while it’s toasting. If it does burn, discard the batch and start over.
  • Stir the vermicelli often while toasting. This will help it to toast evenly and prevent it from burning.
  • Cook the rice with the vermicelli for a minute before adding water. This will help to reduce the risk of clumping and give the rice a toasted flavor.
  • Let the rice rest for 10-15 minutes after cooking. This will help the rice to fluff up and absorb any excess water.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork before serving. This will help to separate the grains and give the rice a light and airy texture.
Optional ingredients and substitutions:
  • Butter or olive oil: You can use either butter or olive oil to cook the vermicelli and rice. Olive oil is a more traditional choice, but butter will give the rice a richer flavor.
  • Spices: You can add different herbs and spices to this recipe to customize it to your liking. Some popular options include ground cinnamon, cardamom pods, and cumin.
  • Garnishes: Toasted pine nuts, almonds, and parsley are all popular garnishes for Lebanese vermicelli rice. You can also use other garnishes of your choice, such as chopped green onions or sesame seeds.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Lebanese Vermicelli Rice (Riz B Sha'riyeh): An Easy Side Dish
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
254
Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
4
g
6
%
Sodium
 
34
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
49
g
16
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
0.1
g
0
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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