A spicy, tangy plate of Lemon Garlic Rice is heaven itself, and it’s super easy to make with just nine ingredients. Vegan, gluten-free and can be soy-free or nut-free.
If you could taste sunshine, what do you think it would taste like? Lemons, of course.
There’s something about Fall that makes me want to pack as much sunshine into my life — and my belly. And lemons, with their bright, happy flavor, can make any meal that much sunnier, especially when they take centerstage.
This Lemon Garlic Rice is inspired, just a little, by one of my favorite South Indian dishes. But while that lemon rice needs more specialized ingredients and spices, this one is really simple and needs just nine ingredients you likely have on hand. It is just as tasty, and the chewy baked bits of tofu make it even more so.
When you take a mouthful of this rice, you’ll be startled by the explosion of flavors and textures. There’s the tang of the lemons and the spice of the garlic, and then there’s the velvety smoothness of the rice and the chewiness of the tofu. It’s all quite amazing, but you don’t have to take my word for it.
I add a ton of garlic to this recipe, because I have been madly in love with garlic my whole life and can never get enough of it. You can cut it down, but really, why would you unless you happen to love bland food? And if that were the case you wouldn’t be here, would you?
How to make the perfect lemon garlic rice:
- Soak your rice for a few minutes before you cook it. Just for 30 minutes, no longer. That will give you lovely, long grains of rice in your cooked dish and your lemon garlic rice will look as pretty as it tastes.
- Add the zest of your lemon to the rice. This really amps up the flavor, and you want to pack in as much lemon flavor into this dish as you possibly can.
- Cook the rice for the exact times described in the recipe — no more, no less. That way you can ensure you get perfect rice each time you make this.
- One rule of thumb to follow, whenever you make rice, is to never, ever, stir it in the middle of cooking. Once you’ve put the lid on your rice, you need to let it cook and then stand another 10 minutes after you turn off the stove. Once you take the lid off after 10 minutes, you can fluff the rice up with a fork.
- You can make this rice soy-free by not adding tofu — just use more cashews. And you can make it nut-free, of course, by not adding any cashews.
Ingredients for lemon garlic rice:
- Vegetable oil
- Cumin seeds
- Baked tofu
- Raw cashews
And, of course, you’ll need salt and ground black pepper
What to serve with the Lemon Garlic Rice?
Or just eat it by itself.
Looking for more tasty vegan rice recipes?
- Jeera Rice
- Coconut Rice
- Instant Pot Khichdi with Mung Bean Sprouts
- Vegetable Biryani in 30 minutes
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Biryani
- Vegan Dirty Rice
- Veg Tehri, an aromatic rice and veggie pilaf
Lemon Garlic Rice Recipe
Lemon Garlic Rice
- 1.5 cups basmati rice (soaked for 30 minutes with enough water to cover by two inches. Drain and rinse a couple of times before using in recipe.)
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 12 medium to large cloves garlic (smashed, peeled and then sliced)
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 16 oz baked tofu cubes
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. When they start to darken, add the cilantro and turmeric and stir for a few seconds to mix. Add the garlic and cashews and stir-fry until the garlic begins to turn a light blonde.
- Add the drained rice along with salt and ground black pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until the rice starts to turn opaque.
- Add the lemon juice and zest and two cups of water and mix well. Cover with a tight lid and let the rice cook over a medium-low flame for 20 minutes, undisturbed.
- Let the rice stand 10 minutes after cooking. Then open and fluff the rice with a fork. Add the baked tofu cubes and garnish with more cilantro, if you wish.