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Side Dishes

Citrus Rice Pilaf Recipe Is a Simple One-Pot Side That’s Flavorful + Colorful

This dish boasts a blend of sweet, pungent and citrus flavors that will make you want seconds!

In our Citrus Rice Pilaf recipe, we give the classic side a zesty upgrade with tangy mandarin oranges and a colorful onion, pepper and zucchini medley. It all starts with satuéeing chopped red onions with butter, which builds an aromatic base for the rice, seasonings and water to be added. The mixture comes to a boil before it’s left to simmer until the grains have absorbed all of the liquid. Once cooked, the remaining ingredients are tossed into the pilaf – turning it into a flavorsome side. 

While this recipe preps in 20 minutes, our Woman’s World test kitchen shares a quick tip for getting the most out of citrus zest. Simply freeze the fruit 15 minutes before grating. The shavings will retain more oils to deliver a bigger flavor punch in less time! Additionally, you can use your favorite rice, from jasmine for a sweet and floral flavor to brown for a nutty taste.

Find out more ways to cook this grain with these stories on oven rice and Instant Pot Jasmine rice.


4 serving

Total Time

Prep Time


  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded, diced
  • 1 cup rice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 (4 oz.) conts. mandarin oranges in juice, drained
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
  • ½ tsp. grated orange zest


In pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until softened, 5 min. Add pepper; cook 5 min.

Add rice, salt, pepper and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover. Cook until rice is tender, 15-20 min., adding zucchini during last 10 min. Fold in oranges, mint and orange zest.


  • Calories: 240
  • Fat: 3 gram
  • Protein: 6 gram
  • Carbohydrate: 48 gram
  • Fiber: 3 gram
  • Sugar: 6 gram
  • Sodium: 160 mg


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