Cheesy Vegetable Rice Pilaf

Cheesy Vegetable Rice Pilaf

Meet my new favorite summer meal. I realize I throw the word “favorite” around a lot, but I really mean it each time I use it. This meal is healthy, quick and easy, customizable, and it tastes great. With all of those positives, is it any wonder I just named it a new favorite?

This dish is really a glorified rice pilaf. Take a normal rice pilaf, add some fresh summer vegetables, some leftover cooked chicken, and cheese (anything is better with cheese!), and you have a delicious summer dinner. I used zucchini and carrots from my CSA bag last week, but you could easily substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand. Mike loved this meal and the leftovers, heated up with some extra chicken broth, are wonderful as well. Add this to your menu plan this week and let me know what you think!

Cheesy Vegetable Rice Pilaf

Cheesy Vegetable Rice Pilaf

Yield: Serves 4


2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 carrot, cut into short matchsticks
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 Tbsp lemon zest, plus the juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2-3 handfuls of spinach, chopped
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped cooked chicken, optional


Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until nutty and deep golden-brown.

Add the olive oil, zucchini, carrot, shallots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Cover and cook to sweat the vegetables a bit, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, rice, lemon zest, rosemary and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer until the rice is just tender, 16-18 minutes. Fold in the spinach and chicken (if using), then stir in the lemon juice and cheese. Serve immediately.

adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

  Pin It


  1. This is the sort of melange that Peter puts together once a week to rid the fridge of many leftovers. We usually eat it room temp, or at most just warm. We're on the same page, babe.

  2. Looks great — I love simple summer dishes like this.

  3. Looks like the perfect dinner Megan! Love it.

  4. Loving the pilaf Megan, I would certainly add the chicken too 🙂

  5. This looks like such a nice summer meal!! I stink at making rice believe it or not so I'd have to leave this dish for hubs to make.

  6. so simple & flavorful, just the way i like it!

  7. Sounds delish! I'm adding this to our menu for next week!

  8. This sounds wonderful. Perfect light meal!!!

  9. That looks great! I use the word “favorite” a lot too. I usually now just try to say, “one of my favorite…”

  10. What a perfect summer dish. Hubby is not a fan of rosemary–would fresh basil work? Can't wait to make this.

  11. Cindy – I'm not positive about fresh basil – I'm actually really bad at figuring out which spices go well together! I'd say if you think it sounds good, go for it. 🙂 The original recipe actually called for fresh thyme, which I don't like, so I threw in rosemary instead. If you end up using basil, I'd toss it in at the end, with the lemon juice and cheese. Good luck, I hope you like it!

  12. I love this recipe and everything that goes into it is wonderful. And to top it all off everything goes right into the same pot – love it!

  13. Wow, this looks AWESOME!!

  14. Love this meatless meals!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *