A staple with every Lebanese family, vermicelli rice (aka Lebanese rice or riz bi sharieh) uses only 3 ingredients and is easy to make. It’s the perfect side to accompany so many foods such as stews, curries, braised vegetables, and more. Vegan friendly.
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🍚What is vermicelli rice?
Vermicelli rice is commonly referred to as Lebanese rice but is also known as Middle Eastern rice, Arabic rice or rice pilaf with vermicelli.
Why is it called vermicelli rice? This is due to the feature of pan-fried golden brown vermicelli pasta, which is thin pasta (made into small bales) resembling tiny spaghetti.
Also, it is known as in Arabic as Riz Bi Sha'rieh. Riz meaning "rice", bi meaning "in" and Sha'rieh" meaning angel hair pasta (vermicelli pasta) as technically sha'rieh is referencing "hair"
It is eaten as a side.
🍚Why You'll Love This Recipe
This Lebanese rice is so versatile, it can be enjoyed as a side with most meals or can be a great part of your meal prepping routine which can be achieved with a vegan meal prep delivery or cooked on your own.
It's a kid favorite! There’s also a good reason why kids love this, it’s buttery and flavorsome on its own. As a kid, I would mix this with plain yogurt and happily eat it.
My son did the same thing and now I watch my nephews and nieces do it too. I love how they refer to this as rice with noodles recipe.
However, this staple side is an everyday go-to and not necessarily intended as per the above.
It’s always found ready in the fridge.
No boring plain rice here. You will note I refer to this recipe extensively throughout Plant Based Folk.
🍚Ingredients You'll Need
Notes on some of the ingredients, the full list of ingredients and their measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
White basmati rice (long-grain or jasmine are good too) I personally prefer basmati as it cooks fast and is very hard to not cook right. You can prewash before using.
Vermicelli pasta (aka angel hair pasta, be sure to check it doesn’t contain egg to make sure this remains a vegan recipe) will be crushed by hand into small pieces. N.B., this type of pasta normally contains gluten.
Dairy free butter (or olive oil) traditionally butter or ghee is used. This is used to brown the pasta and give that buttery flavoring.
Filtered water is best, however, you can use whatever cooking water you prefer.
Salt to taste. I much prefer to under salt my riz bi sharieh as it will be used with other foods which already contain salt in them too. I like to use Himalayan salt.
🍚How To Make Vermicelli Rice
Step 1 - Heat dairy free butter (or olive oil) in a pot over med-high heat. Add crushed vermicelli and continuously stir until golden brown.
Step 2 - Add rice and stir through, coating it with the dairy free butter.
Step 3 - Add water and salt. Bring it to a boil and then turn heat to low and allow to cook for about 10-12 minutes. Once cooked, turn off heat and allow it to sit (covered) for about 10 minutes and then fluff with a fork and serve.
Avoid short-grain, this becomes too mushy.
If you are using white grains other than basmati, I recommend you wash it (until it runs clear) to rid excess starch, as this will help with alleviating clumps.
Crush vermicelli bales with your hands into bite-sized pieces (don’t over crush) before pan-frying.
The more golden the pasta is, the bolder the flavor is. It’s worth trying to get it as golden as possible. When frying vermicelli, be sure to watch and continuously stir it, as it heats up quickly and can easily burn toward the end.
To alleviate any burning of the pasta, when it turns golden, add rice immediately. This will help diffuse the heat.
The water line above the rice should be approximately 2.5cm (if you need to add a little bit more water, do so at the start.
This is done when the water evaporates.
Do not open the lid immediately after cooking. Allowing it to sit helps the heat to steam a little bit more.
The cooked vermicelli will mostly sit on the top when this dish is done. This is normal and is mixed through when fluffing.
A combination of dairy free butter with olive oil can be used for browning. You could even try using vegetable ghee.
Whilst my family doesn’t ever garnish this side, you can top it with toasted nuts or sliced fresh herbs, or green onions
Here are typical foods eaten with this;
Lebanese kidney bean stew fasolia - super easy to make and very filling, it's the perfect comfort food
Lebanese Spinach Stew Sabanekh wa Riz - a lovely and light spinach stew
Bamia - Okra Stew - A Lebanese stew in a tomato sauce
Lebanese peas and carrots stew called bazella w riz
In fact, check out this list of comforting Lebanese stew recipes.
Or for the kids, as mentioned previously, you can mix up riz bi sharieh with plain yogurt. Just watch them gobble it up!
Angel hair pasta or capellini pasta make great alternatives. However, depending on which country you are located in, some of these pasta may be referred to each other interchangeably.
Yes, simply allow it to cool to room temperature before storing it in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to five days. Reheat as needed.
No, rice with vermicelli isn’t gluten free. As the vermicelli is made from wheat which contains gluten.
No, vermicelli pasta and vermicelli noodles are two different foods. Pasta is generally made of wheat and noodles are made of rice. Vermicelli noodles will not yield the same result.
Love a vermicelli recipe? Try this deliciously easy vermicelli soup.
Mujadara recipe - the famous and delicious Middle Eastern lentil pilaf, my family's recipe is a must-try!
Lebanese rice vegan - filled with vegetables and topped with toasted nuts - this is a family favourite.
If you like rice, you'd like my rice and chickpea salad.
Did you make this? I'd love to know! Leave me a comment below with a ★★★★★ rating or tag @plantbasedfolk on social media.
Vermicelli Rice (Lebanese Rice)
- 1 cup Basmati Rice or any long grain rice
- ½ cup Vermicelli Pasta or angel hair pasta
- 1½ tablespoon Dairy free butter or olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Salt or to taste
- 1½ cups water or make sure the water line is about 2 cm above the rice
- Heat vegan butter (or olive oil) in a pot over med-high heat. Add crushed vermicelli and continuously stir until golden brown.1½ tablespoon Dairy free butter, ½ cup Vermicelli Pasta
- Add rice and stir through, coating it with the buttered vermicelli.1 cup Basmati Rice
- Add water and salt. Bring it to a boil and then turn heat to low and allow to cook for about 10-12 minutes. Once rice is cooked, allow it to sit (covered) for about 10 minutes and then fluff with a fork and serve.½ teaspoon Salt, 1½ cups water
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.
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