Thursday, April 08, 2010

Recipe for Lemon Rice with Scallions, Red Bell Pepper, Cilantro, and Pine Nuts

Lemon Rice with Scallions, Red Bell Pepper, Cilantro, and Pine NutsAnyone who's familiar with my cooking can tell from the list of ingredients that this is a recipe that would appeal to me. This mixture of lemony rice, scallions, red bell peppers, cilantro, and pine nuts can be served cold as a salad, but I actually served it lukewarm as a side dish. The recipe came from Cooking New American, a very old cookbook by the editors of Fine Cooking magazine, a place where I always find great recipes. Despite having quite a few ingredients, this was a simple side dish, and when I tried it out on my friend Bonnie, she liked the combination.

Saute the green onions for a few minutes, then add the rice and saute 2-3 minutes more. (I used Uncle Ben's Converted Rice, which is the lowest-glycemic type of white rice.)

Then add the stock and let the rice cook for 16 minutes.

While the rice cooks, zest the lemon and squeeze the juice, finely chop the red bell pepper, and chop the cilantro. (I think this would be good with parsley if you're not a fan of cilantro.)

After 16 minutes, check to see that the liquid is mostly absorbed, then turn off heat and let the rice sit covered for 5 minutes.

Then fluff the rice with a fork and let it cool 20 minutes (for a lukewarm side dish) or 40 minutes (to serve as a rice salad.)
When you're ready to assembly the dish, lightly toast pine nuts for about one minute in a dry frying pan.

Stir the lemon juice, lemon zest, diced red bell pepper, and chopped cilantro plus the second T of olive oil together in a small bowl, then stir in to the rice and mix to combine, then toss in the pine nuts and gently mix in. (You might want to save a few pine nuts to garnish the top of the serving dish.)

Lemon Rice with Scallions, Red Bell Pepper, Cilantro, and Pine Nuts
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe adapted slightly from Cooking New American.)

1/4 cup sliced scallions (green onions)
1 T + 1 T olive oil
1 cup Uncle Ben's Converted Rice
2 cups chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but can also use canned chicken broth)
zest from one lemon (about 2 tsp. lemon zest)
juice from one lemon (about 2 1/2 T lemon juice, or more to taste)
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (I think this would be good with parsley if you're not a fan of cilantro.)
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper (about 1/2 pepper)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (could probably use slivered almonds if you don't have pine nuts)

Heat 1 T oil in a large heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the scallions and saute 2-3 minutes, or until they are starting to soften. Then add the rice and saute 2-3 minutes more. Add the stock (being careful because it will sputter from the hot pan.) Bring rice to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, cover pan, and cook 16 minutes. (Use a timer if you have one.)

While rice cooks, zest the lemon (grate off the yellow part of the peel), then squeeze lemon juice. (I would measure to be sure you have at least 2 1/2 T lemon juice, and squeeze another lemon if needed.) Finely dice 1/2 cup red bell pepper, and chop the cilantro.

After 16 minutes, check rice to be sure the stock is mostly absorbed, then turn off heat and let the rice sit covered for 5 minutes. Then uncover rice, fluff with a fork and let it cool for 20 minutes (to serve as a lukewarm side dish) or 40 minutes (to serve as a rice salad.)

When rice has cooled to your preference, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped red bell pepper, chopped cilantro, and second tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl, then stir into the rice. Taste to see if you want a bit more lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Toast pine nuts in a dry pan for about 1 minute (until they barely start to brown, be careful not to burn!) Toss pine nuts into the rice and stir again, saving a few pine nuts to garnish the top of the serving bowl if desired. Serve immediately.

This would probably keep in the refrigerator for a day, but let come to room temperature again before serving.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Made with Uncle Ben's Converted Rice, this recipe would be suitable for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. You can also use basmati rice for South Beach, but it's not as low-glycemic as Uncle Ben's Rice.

More Tasty Ideas with Rice:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Lake Powell Spicy Rice from Kalyn's Kitchen
Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen
Basil and Parmesan Rice with Pine Nuts from Kalyn's Kitchen
Perfect Stovetop Brown Rice from A Veggie Venture
Spanish Rice Bake from Gluten-Free Goddess
Wild Fried Rice from 101 Cookbooks
Brown Rice with Vegetables from For the Love of Cooking
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. Looks good - I have never had pine nuts!

  2. It looks beautifully colorful and fresh - I like the idea of serving the rice as a side salad.

  3. Val, Me too! I would probably add more lemon next time!

    Elle, pine nuts are delicious. They're expensive but most recipes only use a small amount.

  4. TW, we're cross commenting! I agree, this would make a lovely salad.

  5. I love all of the flavors in this dish. I bet the pine nuts add a nice crunch too.

  6. Oh, Kalyn - I love that cookbook, have made so many dishes from it. Of course, I'm also a huge fan of Fine Cooking magazine

    This past weekend I made this exact recipe, but used whole wheat couscous instead of rice - and slivered almonds instead of pine nuts, worked quite well too (unfortunately my photos are no good, therefore: no blog! :-(

  7. Yummy - this looks so colorful and flavorful!

  8. Oh yes, these flavors have your name on them! I'd go for parsley instead of cilantro, of course, but I know it wouldn't be the same. this would be a great picnic dish.

  9. I love the colors. I would eat it cold. It reminds me of summer. Summer is on it's way. Yeah.

  10. It's funny you say that...I'm pretty sure after reading your blog for the past two years...I could assess any recipe as to whether or not you would like it. :P

    This looks delicious. Lemon and cilantro and serious addictions of mine.

  11. Is that a cast iron pot? If so, what brand and do you like it?

  12. Yes, I cooked this in an enamel-coated cast iron post. I love this kind of pan. If I had lots of money I might be LeCreuset or Staub, but the two I have are this one made by Chantal and a slightly smaller blue one made by Cuisinart. Both of them work great. I got both my pans at TJ Maxx I think about $30 for the small one and $40 for the bigger one, so I'd check that kind of store if you're looking for a bargain.

  13. looks delicious. how would this be done in a rice cooker?

  14. I don't think I'd use a rice cooker for this, because browning the onions and then cooking the rice in that same oil develops a lot of the flavor. If you do decide to try it, I'd love to hear how it turns out.

  15. Mmmmm...sounds good. I think I'll try it with brown rice. Thanks for another wonderful idea!

  16. Lemon rice sounds so delicious for Spring. I love rice- in every variation. Your recipe sounds perfect for this lighter time of year.

  17. This looks absolutely delicious!

  18. We do enjoy lemon rice and this one looks good. I find it very light yet filling.
    We make a traditional version with peanuts.

  19. I substituted limes, coriander and slivered almonds because that's what I had on hand. I also added cherry tomatoes. My hubby and I both agreed it is the best rice I've ever made and we are both major rice lovers. We had it warm tonight but I'll use the leftovers as a cold rice salad tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe.

  20. Colleen, your substitutions sound very good to me. (And I'm a major rice lover too!)


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