The Instant Pot Lebanese Vermicelli Rice is a quick, no-fuss, modern version of the classic vermicelli rice found on every table in the Levant—this simple rice dish is a combination of three basic pantry ingredients: basmati, vermicelli, and olive oil.
Instant Pot Lebanese Vermicelli Rice
Rice and Bulgar are the must-have pantry staple in all Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen⏤so many recipes depend on these two grain as a base. The simple vermicelli rice is an everyday kind of rice that’s served as a side dish for grilled meat or has a base for stews. I love to eat this just with some nuts and yogurt salad, it's a simple and delicious meal.
This Instant Pot Lebanese Vermicelli Rice is a modern version of this classic Arab dish called Riz bil Shar'ayah. (more on this later)
The Instant pot makes perfect fluffy rice every time. So there are no unwarranted surprises when you open the pot. Just delicious fluffy rice! Plus, the bonus of the dump-it-and-forget feature of cooking your rice in an Instant Pot is always welcomed in my books⏤I am a huge fan of dump-it-and-forget-it types of recipes.
What is Lebanese Vermicelli Rice?
Lebanese rice is a simple pilaf made with three simple ingredients: rice, vermicelli, and olive oil. However, some home cooks like to add ghee, or butter, cinnamon and stock to their versions, but I've decided to keep it simple and traditional.
Whether you serve it with a stew or top with toasted almonds and pine nuts and this rice will complement any Mediterranean or Middle Eastern dish that you make.
The original name of this recipe is Riz bil Shar'ayah. Translation: Rice with Macaroni as thin as hair. Arab's definitely have interesting ways of naming recipes. Don't you agree? 🤔
This rice is also known as Vermicelli rice, Arab Rice, and Middle Eastern rice. However Lebanese rice is the most popular name since it was introduced to the west through the Lebanese migrates during this last century (Yes, the Lebanese community has been living in the west for over 100 years! The first large wave of Lebanese came in 1920!)
Vermicelli rice or Lebanese rice is enjoyed all over the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It’s very popular in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, eastern Libya, Turkey and even Greece. It has become a true Eastern Mediterranean recipe.
Ingredients You'll need for the Instant Pot Lebanese Rice
- Rice: Choose the long grain basmati for the best results. However, short-grain rice, parboiled rice like Sella are also great choices.
- Vermicelli Pasta: This thin short pasta is easily found in most shops. However, if you have trouble locating it, you can use Cappellini (a thin spaghetti-like noodle) and just break it up into smaller pieces.
- Olive Oil: I prefer to use olive oil for this recipe but butter can also be used.
How to Make Instant Pot Lebanese Vermicelli Rice
- Set to sauté mode, add the oil and pasta.
- Fry the Vermicelli pasta in oil until golden brown.
- Add the rice. Stir, then add the water.
- Seal the pot and set the Rice Mode.
- Quick-release and keep closed for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and stir to combine the pasta and rice.
- Pour onto a platter, serve with nuts and parsley.
Frequently Asked Question
Yes. I've used gluten-free pasta in the past, it does work for this recipe. Toast the gluten-free pasta just like you would with regular pasta. The taste is slightly different but not enough to make much of a difference.
You can use Orzo, or Angel hair (Capellini) pasta instead of vermicelli. If using the Capellini pasta you must break it into small pieces first.
More Rice Recipes
- 2 cups Basmati Rice
- ½ cup vermicelli *
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 11/2 cups water
- ¼ cup parsley, finely diced
- ½ cup toasted nuts (Pinenuts, almonds, and cashews are great options)
- Rinse Rice. Place rice into a large bowl. Fill with water, then rub the rice between your hand to remove any dust and extra starch. Repeat this process until the water is clear⏤after rinsing soak for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. This step can be done the night before the drained soak rice can be store in the fridge overnight.
- Set Saute Mode. Set the saute mode to low heat or medium (if your machine has that option). Add the olive oil, then the vermicelli noodles. Frequently stir until dark golden brown.
- Add Rice. Turn off the sautés function. Pour in the rice and stir until it stops sizzling. Add the water and stir.
- Cook the Rice. Seal the lid. Set the RICE MODE or manual for 10 minutes. Once the rice mode is finished, open the valve for a QUICK-RELEASE. Open the lid, stir the rice and taste for doneness. If the rice is still firm, then close the lid and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Serve. Empty the rice onto a large dish and garnish the rice with nuts and parsley. Or leave plain and serve it alongside a stew or meat dish.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 190Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 265mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g