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bowl of rice a roni with dill and lemon
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5 from 2 votes

Lemon Dill Homemade Rice-A-Roni

Homemade Rice-a-Roni has that great texture combination of rice and pasta, delicious lemon-dill flavors and, of course, a trip down memory lane.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings (change as needed): 4
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter (or combination)
  • 1/4 cup orzo, Note 1
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice, Note 1
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion or onion
  • 1 1/2 cups broth, Note 1 (vegetable, chicken or beef)
  • 3 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest,
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • salt and black pepper to taste (about 1/4-1/2 tsp)
  • 3 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 8-10 medium asparagus stalks, cut into pieces (OPTIONAL)

Instructions

  • SAUTÉ ORZO, RICE, ONIONS: Heat oil/butter in skillet to medium-high heat. Add orzo, rice and onions and sauté, stirring for about 5-6 minutes, until half of orzo and rice turns light golden brown.
  • ADD BROTH, HERBS AND SIMMER: Add broth, lemon, zest, dill, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Cover, lower heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until broth is absorbed and rice/orzo is tender. (If adding asparagus: add asparagus pieces to skillet 4-5 minutes before the rice-orzo finishes cooking. Cover and continue cooking). Mix in parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings (adding more salt, dill or lemon zest if desired) and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Variations
    • Pasta: I use orzo, but vermicelli pasta, thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta, broken into small pieces will work fine.
    • Rice: Any long grain rice will do - plain white rice, Jasmine, Basmati
    • Pasta-rice ratio: Use any combination of rice and pasta e.g. half and half, more rice than pasta, more pasta than rice.
    • Fresh Herbs: I use dill. Other good options are chives, thyme, basil, oregano. If you don't have fresh herbs, use dried herbs. The rule of thumb is a 1:3 ratio meaning 1 tablespoon fresh to 1 teaspoon dried. 
    • Broth: vegetable broth, chicken broth, beef broth, mushroom broth. If you don't have canned or boxed broth, use bouillon cubes with water. 
    • Add-ins and flavor options (instead of dill and lemon):
      • Mix  in freshly chopped baby spinach at the end. It takes about 1 minute to wilt.
      • Sautéed tomatoes and garlic 
      • Onions and mushrooms;
      • Curry powder and raisins
      • Add a bit of garlic powder or onion powder for extra flavor.
  • Make Ahead 
    • The recipe can be made ahead and warmed in the microwave with a tablespoon of broth or water.
    • If refrigerating overnight, the asparagus (if using) may lose their vibrant color.
    • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. The rice a roni may also be frozen for 2-3 months. 
Nutrition value estimates do not include the optional asparagus. 
Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 177mg | Potassium: 157mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 326IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg