Jeweled Yellow Rice and Pignoli

Jeweled Yellow Rice and Pignoli

If you’re looking for an alternative to Rice-A-Roni, Jeweled Yellow Rice and Pignoli is a homemade rice pilaf with healthy turmeric, crunchy pine nuts and chewy sweet raisins is it!  Ready in under 30 minutes, it’s vegan and gluten-free!

How many of those boxed  “pilaf-y” things do you have in your pantry?  You know — the ones with the flavor packets?  I think they’re fine in a pinch, but they contain a lot of sodium (bad for your blood pressure) and I’m dubious of the dehydrated glutamate powder in those foil packages. Besides, an easy rice pilaf can be made in about the same time it takes to make one of those boxed salt licks. Jeweled Yellow Rice and Pignoli is sure to be a favorite at your dinner table. 

rice, onions and turmeric in a pot with a wooden spoon.

Is It Tumeric or Turmeric?

There’s a lot of jostling about whether to pronounce the first “r” in turmeric.  Is it ter-mer-ick or too-mer-ick.  I have to be honest, I always said “too” until someone pointed out that it was spelled “ter”.  I’ve heard professional chefs say it both ways.  So what’s the answer?  Even YouTube is confused.

YouTube video
YouTube video
photo of rice after turmeric is mixed with the rice.

Regardless of the pronunciation, the health benefits are undisputed, including its anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties as well as decreased cancer risk, improving cognitive function, kidney function and blood sugar balance. And you don’t need a lot of turmeric in order to reap the benefits. This recipe only needs  1/2 teaspoon to give the rice a beautiful golden hue.

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toasted pine nuts on a baking sheet.

The Best Mix-Ins For An Easy Rice Pilaf:

For me, the mix-ins are critical — Would you serve an ice cream sundae without a cherry on top?  I like something crunchy. Adding toasted pine nuts (or pignolis) bring a toasty flavor and crunch to turmeric rice but  you could also use toasted sliced almonds or even chopped pecans. But don’t stop there.  For an extra flavor boost, something with a sweet or tart kick is a must. In this easy rice pilaf I opted for golden raisins instead of regular dark raisins.  The reason behind my choice is more about aesthetics than anything else.  I didn’t want little black spots dotting my pilaf.  (But if that’s all you’ve got, or you want to substitute dried cranberries or cherries — I won’t call the food police! Promise.) The golden raisins taste the same as regular raisins (they’re just made from green grapes instead of red), but they also give a “jewel-like” almost shimmery quality to the dish. That’s why I called it Jeweled Yellow Rice and Pignoli.

A bowl of Jeweled Yellow Rice and Pignoli on a blue napkin.

A quick chop of parsley sprinkled on top makes this easy pilaf recipe a show-stopping addition to a Tuesday dinner.  A few people have asked about using dried parsley as a garnish because it “never goes bad”.  Personally, I prefer fresh herbs — especially if you’re using it as a garnish (cooked in a stew or soup — dried is fine) but if you don’t have any fresh parsley, I’d skip it altogether before garnishing with the dried stuff.  I’ve served this with my favorite pork tenderloin or grilled chicken along with a simple salad and there are never any leftovers.

Jeweled Yellow Rice and Pignoli with a spoon and a napkin.

More Vegan Rice Dishes:

This pilaf actually inspired me to do something similar with cauliflower for a low-carb alternative. It’s “riced cauliflower”, but you could also use the flavor profile with regular rice and cook it in the method described below. It’s made with curry so it has a different flavor profile than this, but it’s one of my husband’s favorites now — especially when we’re trying to watch our weight. Be sure to check it out — it’s popular recipe!

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Jeweled Yellow Rice and Pignoli
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4.55 from 11 votes

Jeweled Yellow Rice and Pignoli

An easy, delicious side for roasted or grilled meats.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword rice, side dish, turmeric
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion peeled and diced
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups low salt vegetable broth
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup parsley chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pine nuts on a baking sheet and cook until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Be mindful, pine nuts burn quickly. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and rice. Cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, 4-5 minutes until onions begin to soften and rice begins to take on some color. Stir in the turmeric and kosher salt until rice turns a golden yellow. Add the golden raisins and vegetable broth and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium low, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 15 minutes or until rice is tender. (You can add additional broth 1-2 tablespoons at a time, if necessary)
  • Stir in the pine nuts and chopped parsley. Serve.


You can substitute white rice, but you may need to increase the amount of vegetable broth by 1/4-1/2 cup and increase cooking time by 5 minutes.


Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 658mg | Potassium: 320mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 220IU | Vitamin C: 4.5mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1.6mg


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  1. 5 stars
    This looks so delicious! I love the pretty vibrant yellow color. I actually do not like raisins, but there is one exception- when they are mixed with rice. Don’t know why my tastebuds make an exception for that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anywho, I’m definitely going to be trying this!

    1. I like the sweet pops that the raisins deliver, but you could also use currants or dried apricots (diced) — or skip the fruit altogether.

  2. This rice pilaf looks insane good! plus I love the combination of pinenuts and raisins….superb recipe

    1. So glad you like it, Albert! I agree pine nuts and raisins are a classic combo.

  3. 5 stars
    I agree with you about the flavor packets. Homemade is definitely always best. This rice pilaf is so pretty to look at and no doubt delicious!

    1. Give it a shot, Jill. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

  4. 5 stars
    This color looks fantastic! Can’t wait to try it ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. 5 stars
    This is such a pretty side dish. I can think of so many things I’d want to serve it with (or beneath) — like something super saucy!

  6. 5 stars
    Hah, love all the turmeric confusion! I don’t care how it is pronounced, all I know is it gives this most wonderful colour, and takes any dish into a next level! Your pictures are lovely, made me so hungry!

    1. Thanks, Anna! – I know – there’s a lot of confusion around the word.

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious. Very reminiscent of a recipe my mom used to make. I also love how good turmeric is for you.

    1. Thanks for sharing your version, Jessica! Your pictures are beautiful!

  8. Jessica Romeo @ says:

    5 stars
    This looks so delicious! I love golden raisins in rice! Always a favorite…also your photo is just gorgeous!

    1. Thank you very much! I’m so glad you like it — we make this rice all the time in our house!

  9. I can’t wait to make this! Thank you!