Vegan Rice-A-Roni! We are dancing in our seats with this flavor-bomb of satisfying rice and pasta coated in herbaceous goodness.
This homemade, oil-free Vegan Rice-A-Roni recipe is brimming with flavor and made with simple, wholesome ingredients. No artificial ingredients or flavors here; this classic dish is made with a healthy twist, and it’s super easy to make. Hearty rice and pasta come together to create an amazingly savory side dish or pile high for a delicious main dish.
Whole Food Plant Based, Vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, no highly processed ingredients and gluten free.
Hi there, Ameera here!
This recipe was inspired by Julie Stutzman on 100% Pure McDougall. Thank you so much Julie for reminding me of this old-school classic. As soon as I saw Julie’s post about Rice-A-Roni, I knew Mom and I needed to tackle this one.
Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat! I actually had to look that up because Mom was singing “Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat, the flavor can’t be beat!” jingle over and over again while we were kitchen testing this recipe. I was like “Okaaaaaay”, obviously Rice-A-Roni had a very catchy jingle. It’s now permanently stuck in my head. Thanks Mom! LOL
Evidently Rice-A-Roni flooded the TV with commercials in the 50s and 60s. It was all the rage and also, it would seem that the recipe did originate in San Francisco. Although some Middle Easterners would argue this point as Michael’s family has been making a very similar version of rice and pasta since the beginning of time. LOL
Michael actually LOVED this recipe by the way! Huge win for my meat-eating husband. I always get super excited when he loves a WFPB recipe. Yasmeen loved it too!
You gotta give this one a try!
Tips for Success:
- Rice: The key to creating a great stove top rice dish is resisting the urge to stir the rice while it is cooking. Stirring causes the rice to release starches and become more like a creamy risotto, which we don’t want. Just pull up a few rice kernels off the top of the dish to test for rice tenderness. If not tender, just continue to cook until tender. If all the liquid evaporates, then add a tablespoon of water and continue to simmer until tender. Repeat the process above until the rice is done. Please note that the timing of cooking dry rice is based upon several factors: 1) the type of rice selected 2) the brand of rice selected 3) the age of the rice and 4) the cooking method. Each plays a factor in how long rice takes to cook. Some brands of rice won’t work with this dish as they take too long to cook, for example Lundberg rice takes too long.
- Soaking the Rice: Soaking the rice serves several purposes: soaking cleans the rice and helps remove additional starches as well as speeds up the cooking time needed to soften the rice.
- Vermicelli Pasta: Vermicelli pasta is a very thin pasta that cooks fast. Some Middle Eastern/Mediterranean stores carry it already broken up. You can use any spaghetti/angel hair/thin spaghetti pasta you wish. We like to use a brown rice angel hair/thin pasta.
- Toasting the Vermicelli: Be sure to be at attention when toasting vermicelli in a dry skillet. It can go from lightly toasted to burnt in a flash. When you start to toast the vermicelli, we suggest having the rice drained and ready to go as well as the liquids (water and vegetable broth) so you don’t have to measure anything out because toasting the vermicelli is all about ‘timing’. Gluten Free pasta does tend to result in a slightly mushier dish. The photos show actual vermicelli since we made this test for Michael.
- Dried Crushed Thyme Leaves: If you love thyme, then use ½ teaspoon, if you enjoy the slight flavor, then use ¼ teaspoon. Please see additional notes on dried crushed thyme leaves versus dried ground thyme.
- Celery Seeds: The celery seeds are optional. They add just a hint of celery flavor that gives this dish a more authentic taste.
Leftovers and Freezing:
Leftovers will generally keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Store in a covered container. Reheating can be done on the stovetop, or in the microwave.
This dish can be frozen; however, it is best if served immediately after making or after refrigerating leftovers.
Pantry Products Used:
- Brown Rice: We used Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Brown Rice for this dish.
- Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
- Tamari: We used San J Tamari Soy Sauce, Gluten Free, Reduced Sodium. You can substitute the tamari with reduced sodium soy sauce, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Braggs Coconut Liquid Aminos.
- Dried Crushed Thyme Leaves: We use Penzeys French Thyme. It has amazing flavor. If you can’t find dried crushed thyme leaves, you can use ground thyme, but use half the amount.
- Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
Kitchen Products Used:
- Large ceramic/enamel lined Dutch oven, skillet, or similar large stock pot
We certainly hope you give this deliciousness a try.Print
This homemade, oil-free Vegan Rice-A-Roni recipe is brimming with flavor and made with simple, wholesome ingredients.
- 1 cup brown rice *
- 1/3 cup vermicelli pasta, broken into 1 ¼-inch pieces *
- ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth *
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari *
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons dried minced onions
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon dried crushed thyme leaves *
- ¼ teaspoon dried ground rosemary
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoons dried rubbed sage
- ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (+/-)
- Pinch celery seed (optional)
Other Optional Ingredients:
- 1 cup frozen baby sweet peas
- Freshly chopped parsley
- Rinse the rice with hot tap water, then place the rinsed rice in a bowl of hot tap water to soak for 20 minutes. Drain the water from the rice, set aside.
- Place all the Spice/Herb Ingredients into a small bowl, mix well, set aside.
- Place the dry vermicelli pasta into a dry skillet and toast the vermicelli until it is golden brown. Watch it carefully, it goes from slightly golden brown to burnt very quickly.
- Once the vermicelli is golden, then drain the rice and place into the skillet with vermicelli, stir, then immediately place all the remaining Base Ingredients and Spice/Herb Mix into the skillet. Stir just until well mixed.
- Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer/steam for 30 to 35 minutes or until the rice and vermicelli are tender. Do not lift the lid or stir the rice while it is cooking. Once the rice is tender, if adding peas, add at this time, stir to incorporate, cover with a lid and heat through.
- Remove from the stove, keep covered and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
*Please reference the blog post for Tips for Success, Pantry Items Used, Storage and Freezing, and Kitchen Products Used.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Serving: 4-5 Servings
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