Ginger And Oregano

Kitchen Adventures in the Land of Cheese

Lemon Pesto Rice

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So here’s the thing: I love pesto. Love, love, love, love it. My favorite sandwich topping is pesto mayo. My favorite pasta sauce is a mixture of pesto and alfredo. I would use it in my cooking all the time if I could. Here’s the problem: Peter hates pesto. Just detests it. It makes no sense to me at all because pesto is delicious and wonderful and perfect, but he’s weird like that. So my jar of pesto is usually wasting away in my refrigerator, never to be used unless I’m cooking for only myself. 

However, I saw this recipe for lemon pesto rice and I thought it would be the perfect complement to the grilled salmon we were planning on having for dinner last night. Everyone knows that lemon goes great with fish, so I devised a plan. I thought that maybe I would be able to trick Peter into eating it if he didn’t know that I had added pesto to the rice. Sounds innocent enough, right? People do this to their children all the time; why couldn’t I do it to my husband?

My brilliant plan was foiled when he walked in the kitchen and caught me with a jar of pesto in my hands. His exact words were “Ahhhh why are you ruining the rice?” Seriously, I can’t get away with anything in this house.

I added the pesto anyway (my husband’s stupid taste buds be damned!), and ohmygosh you guys. This rice is amazing. I couldn’t stop eating it! The lemon and pesto complement each other so perfectly. It tasted like what I imagine spring tastes like (if that makes any sense).



The original recipe called for quite a bit more pesto, but I pared it down a bit in an attempt to make Peter more likely to eat it. It totally didn’t make a difference to him; he ate like two bites and called it a day. He claims to possess “very astute pesto sensors.” Fine by me- more rice for me! Regardless, I think the amount of pesto I added was perfect; any more, and the rice would’ve gotten too gummy.

The rice definitely had a strong lemon flavor since the lemon juice is added at the same time as the chicken stock. If you want a lighter lemon flavor (because, for instance, you have a husband who hates lemon), add the lemon juice closer to the end of the cooking process. But I loved this rice just as it was. I’m already salivating at the thought of eating the leftovers for lunch today.


Lemon Pesto Rice

Servings: 2-3

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto


  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Once olive oil is hot, add rice and toast, stirring continuously, until rice has puffed up a bit, 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add minced garlic and salt and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add chicken stock and lemon juice and stir. Reduce heat to low to medium-low and cover pot with a lid. About 3 minutes before all of the chicken stock has been absorbed, turn heat off but leave pot on the burner. Remainder of chicken stock will absorb in the next 3 minutes or so.
  4. Once chicken stock is completely absorbed, remove lid and fluff rice with a fork. Add pesto and stir.


Inspired by: Favorite Family Recipes

Author: gingerandoregano

Wife. Nurse. Soon-to-be mother. Lover of all things pasta. Ginger.

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