Discover the Rich and Savory Near-East Rice Pilaf Recipe

As the legendary chef, James Beard once said, “Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.” And this recipe for “Near-East” Rice Pilaf certainly proves that point. It’s a dish that has stood the test of time, and yet it remains a favorite among food enthusiasts all over the world.

The story of Near East Rice Pilaf began over 50 years ago, when a passionate chef embarked on a culinary journey through the Middle East. Along the way, he discovered the magic of combining long-grain rice with orzo pasta and a blend of spices that included turmeric, black pepper, and garlic powder. This was how Near East Rice Pilaf was born.

Nowadays, you can order Near East Rice Pilaf mixes online to make this classic dish in your own kitchen. And the best part? It’s low in calories and non-GMO verified by This means that you’re not only enjoying an amazing meal but also making healthy choices for yourself and your family.

This recipe article will guide you through creating your own copycat Near East Original Rice Pilaf. I’ll provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare it perfectly every time, along with helpful tips to ensure your success.

So let’s get started on this culinary journey to the Far East with “Near-East” Rice Pilaf!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

” Near-East” Rice Pilaf (Low Fat)

Are you a fan of the exotic flavors of the Near East but cautious about calorie-dense foods? If yes, then this low-fat Near-East rice pilaf recipe is perfect for you. The pilaf mix original box (6.09 oz) is made up of long-grain rice, orzo pasta, and exotic spices like turmeric, garlic powder, and black pepper. This easy-to-follow recipe makes it a breeze to recreate this classic dish anywhere in the world.

What’s more impressive about this rice pilaf mix is that it is part of the Non-GMO Project Verified family. Its ingredients come from farmers who have validated their commitment to sustainable practices for the well-being of their communities and our planet.

If you haven’t tried any Near East inspired meals yet, you’ve been missing something big in the culinary world. The tradition of mouthwatering dishes and the journey began 50 years ago with Near East’s original rice pilaf mix.

The company now boasts a wide range of products that take your palate on an adventurous food tour that includes copycat Near East original mixes like Spanish rice, chicken rice pilaf, and many more exciting options. You can order them online from their website or buy them from your nearest grocery store.

This low-calorie food option taste scrumptious and comes packed with whole nutrition that our bodies need. Each box only has 6g fat and contains whole grain rice giving you all good carbs essential in keeping us fueled for our daily grind.

Moreover, if you’re looking for vegan recipes, simply follow the low-fat directions on how to cook it. But don’t worry; we’ve got your back even if you’re not comfortable ditching all animal protein altogether. Follow package directions except; omit olive oil or butter, and use canola oil instead.

Trust me when I say this, nothing beats having a delicious meal without having to compromise on taste or health. So why don’t we grab our aprons and give this tasty recipe a try? Follow these easy-to-follow steps for flavorful results!

Ingredient List

 A symphony of spices in every grain!
A symphony of spices in every grain!

Below are the ingredients needed to make this flavorful and nutritious Near-East Rice Pilaf:

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 box (6.09 oz) Near East Rice Pilaf Mix, original

The Near-East Rice Pilaf mix is the star of this recipe. It’s a low-fat food and verified by the non-GMO project. The original box has clear directions, but for a healthier version, follow the low-fat directions below. You only need one tablespoon of oil instead of olive oil or butter in the original rice pilaf recipe. This recipe calls for long-grain rice that will give the pilaf its traditional fluffy and separate grains texture. You can try other grains like brown rice or whole grain rice, but it might need more water than the original recipe calls for. Orzo pasta will add a bit of chewiness, perfect to add to other dishes like salads or soups.

The Recipe How-To

 Fragrant and flavorful: the perfect rice dish.
Fragrant and flavorful: the perfect rice dish.

Now that you have prepared your ingredients, let’s move forward and start with the recipe how-to. Follow these steps and enjoy a delicious “Near-East” Rice Pilaf in no time.

Step 1: Sauté the Orzo

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add canola oil and orzo pasta. Sauté for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.

Step 2: Add Long-Grain Rice

Add long-grain rice to the saucepan with the orzo pasta, sauté for about one minute longer.

Step 3: Spice it Up

Add turmeric, black pepper, and garlic powder to the rice mixture, and sauté for another minute until fragrant.

Step 4a: Stovetop Method

Add water according to the instructions on the original box using low-fat directions. Usually, add two cups of water per every cup of rice/Orzo mix. Stir it all together, bring to boil over high heat, reduce heat to low simmering and cover.

Step 4b: Rice Cooker Method

Add turmeric, black pepper, garlic powder, long-grain rice, Orzo pasta mix and water into your rice cooker pot. Press start button.

Step 5: Cook Rice Mixture

Cook for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until all water is absorbed.

Note: Do not lift the lid while cooking.

Step 6: Final Touches

After cooking is complete remove from heat source and let sit covered for five minutes. Fluff up rice mixture with a fork before serving.

Enjoy this tasty yet healthy dish as an accompaniment for chicken dishes or as a side dish to serve along with far East inspired recipes.

That’s it! You can now savor a copycat version of Near East Original Rice Pilaf at home with these easy-to-follow instructions.

Substitutions and Variations

 A healthy and hearty side dish that everyone will love!
A healthy and hearty side dish that everyone will love!

When it comes to cooking, there’s always room for creativity and experimentation. Here are some substitutions and variations you can make to this near-east rice pilaf recipe that will still result in a delicious meal.

If you don’t have canola oil on hand, feel free to substitute it with olive oil or butter. For those who want a low-fat version, follow the package directions except for omitting the olive oil and butter components. This recipe is intended to be as lean and healthy as possible without sacrificing taste.

For those who are looking for something more exciting, try adding some chicken or vegetables to the mix. The Near East Chicken Rice Pilaf Mix is one option for those who prefer a meatier dish. Alternatively, you could add diced bell peppers or chopped onions to the pilaf.

If you want to incorporate whole grain rice into this recipe, simply substitute the long-grain rice with whole-grain rice. This will give you additional fiber and nutrients from the bran and germ of the rice.

For those who love Spanish rice, try making a copycat near-east version of this original rice pilaf. Simply mix up your favorite Spanish rice blend with orzo pasta according to package directions, then follow the same procedure for cooking your pilaf as directed in this recipe.

Lastly, if you’re looking to go outside of “near east'” cuisine, experiment by trying far east flavors like turmeric or black pepper with garlic powder to create an entirely different type of dish altogether that’ll excite your taste buds. No matter what variation you choose, have fun with it – half the adventure of cooking is discovering new flavors!

Serving and Pairing

 A dish that is easy to prepare but sure to impress.
A dish that is easy to prepare but sure to impress.

I absolutely love serving Near-East Rice Pilaf as a side dish with chicken, fish, or roasted vegetables. The combination of flavors and textures is simply magical!

For pairing options, try serving the rice pilaf alongside a juicy and flavorful grilled chicken breast, or maybe some baked cod. It also pairs well with crispy roasted brussels sprouts or carrots. If you’re in the mood for a heartier meal, top the pilaf with some grilled steak strips or meatballs.

If you want to add even more flavor to your meal, sprinkle some chopped fresh cilantro on top of the rice pilaf just before serving. The herb will add a fresh burst of fragrance and taste that complements the turmeric and black pepper infused in the dish.

You can even turn this rice pilaf into a main dish by adding some cooked ground chicken or diced ham. Or if you’re craving something more exotic, try using it as a base for a Far East-inspired stir fry.

The possibilities are endless! Just be sure to adjust your seasoning and spice levels based on whatever protein or veggie combinations you plan to serve it with.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Your kitchen will smell amazing when you cook this!
Your kitchen will smell amazing when you cook this!

One of the great things about this Near-East Rice Pilaf recipe is that it can be easily made ahead of time and stored for later use. This makes it perfect for busy weeknights or meal prep.

To make ahead, simply follow the recipe as directed and allow the rice pilaf to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. The rice pilaf will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

When you’re ready to reheat, you have a few options. If you have a rice cooker, you can add the rice pilaf along with a small amount of water and let it heat up in the cooker. You can also reheat the pilaf in a pot on the stove over low-medium heat. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning.

If you’re short on time, you can also reheat individual servings of the rice pilaf in the microwave. Place a portion in a microwave-safe dish with a lid or cover and heat on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through.

It’s important to note that reheating can sometimes cause the rice to become dry or lose its texture. To combat this, add a small amount of water to the rice before reheating and fluff with a fork once heated through.

Overall, this versatile Near-East Rice Pilaf recipe is perfect for busy home cooks who need a quick and nutritious meal on hand at all times. So go ahead and make-ahead without hesitation!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Aromatic and delicious, this rice pilaf is a must-try.
Aromatic and delicious, this rice pilaf is a must-try.

One of the challenges of making Near-East Rice Pilaf is getting the perfect texture for the rice. To ensure your pilaf comes out just right, here are some tips:

Firstly, I recommend using long-grain rice for this recipe. It gives the pilaf a nice separation and distinct texture, which I find adds to the overall mouthfeel of the dish.

Another tip is to toast the orzo pasta in a bit of canola oil before adding water and the rice. This gives the dish that authentic Near-East-inspired flavor and enhances its nuttiness.

Be sure to follow package directions, except for omitting any olive oil or butter called for since we want our preparation to be low-fat.

The ideal proportion of liquid to rice is 2:1, and you can achieve it by measuring out two cups of water for every cup of rice. I usually put one cup of long-grain rice in my rice cooker and add two cups of water along with a teaspoon each of turmeric, garlic powder, and black pepper.

When it comes to seasoning your pilaf mix, I suggest browning it first before cooking. This will further enhance its flavors and aromatics for an even more delicious outcome.

For those looking for a healthier option, consider using whole-grain rice instead of white or converting this recipe into copycat Near East Spanish Rice, by swapping chicken for vegetables such as bell peppers or tomatoes.

Lastly, remember to let your pilaf rest after cooking it. This allows the flavors to meld together while retaining all its moisture.

With these tips, you’ll be on your way to creating an authentic dish inspired by Near East’s journey that began over 50 years ago!


Now that you know how to make this delicious Near-East Rice Pilaf, you may have some questions about the recipe or its ingredients. In this section, I’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions and provide you with helpful tips to ensure your meal comes out perfectly every time. So, let’s get started!

How many calories are in Near East rice pilaf?

The nutritional information for each serving of this dish includes 190 calories, no saturated fat (0% daily value), 770 milligrams of sodium (34% daily value), and no total sugars. Additional product information can be found on the side panel. It’s important to note that this dish is not a low-calorie food.

What are the spices in Near East rice pilaf?

For this recipe, we will need to prepare some flavorful seasoning to add an extra kick to our dish. Start by mincing two to three cloves of garlic and combining it with a hint of ground turmeric to give it a touch of warmth. To enhance the taste and aroma, sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper and a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. If you prefer your dish with more salt, feel free to add a bit more, but be careful not to overdo it. Finally, add in 1/2 teaspoon of dried minced onion for that perfect balance of flavor.

Can you make near east rice pilaf in a rice cooker?

It’s uncertain if using a rice cooker or steamer would yield the best results for making couscous or rice pilaf.​ As our products are specifically designed for range top and microwave preparation, we can’t provide any assurance that diverse appliances, such as rice cookers, would achieve the same desired outcome.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, there is no denying that the Near-East Rice Pilaf is a delicious and nutritious dish that you can enjoy guilt-free. Whether you are looking for a low-fat, low-calorie food or simply want to indulge in some mouth-watering flavors, this recipe has got you covered.

With its flavorful combination of long-grain rice, orzo pasta, and the perfect balance of spices like turmeric, black pepper, and garlic powder, it’s no wonder the Near-East Rice Pilaf mix has been an East-inspired well-loved classic for 50 years. And not only is this dish deliciously satisfying but also made with non-GMO ingredients and verified by

Moreover, whether you prepare it following the package directions or opting for the low-fat version, this recipe is easy to make and requires minimal effort to get the perfect pilaf every time. Plus, with a variety of substitutions and variations available from copycat near east rice to Spanish rice or even adding chicken, the recipe offers plenty of creativity and customization opportunities for you to experiment with.

So why not take your taste buds on an exciting journey today through delicious flavors and textures? Order online or grab a box of Near-East Rice Pilaf mix original from your local grocery store and enjoy a hearty meal that fulfills all your cravings without compromising on nutrition. Don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends and family so they too can experience the wonders of the Far East brought closer to home in your kitchen!

" Near-East" Rice Pilaf (Low Fat)

” Near-East” Rice Pilaf (Low Fat) Recipe

I love those boxed rice pilaf, but the price is killer. Why buy when making this at home is so much easier and so inexpensive? This recipe will use only a little oil, and more seasonings to make this very tasty. A quick and beautiful dish that's sure to impress.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Calories 236.9 kcal


  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/3 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 cup long-grain rice, washed and dried
  • 3 cups water, pre-boiled
  • 3 tablespoons chicken soup powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 dash turmeric


  • In a non-stick pot, heat oil.
  • Add orzo and sautee until browned.
  • Add the rice.
  • To the 3 cups of boiled water, add the chicken soup mix, garlic powder, turmeric, black pepper, and turmeric.
  • Add seasoned water mixture to the pot, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until all water has evaporated. Don't open lid.
  • Remove from heat after 20 minutes and allow to rest 10minutes.
  • Fluff with fork.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 160gCalories: 236.9kcalCarbohydrates: 47.6gProtein: 5.2gFat: 2.3gSaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 6.7mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 0.3g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Beginner Cook, Easy, Inexpensive, Kid-Friendly, Kosher, Long-Grain Rice, Rice, Savory
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