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Kalyn's Kitchen

Easy Pesto Lemon Rice

Whenever you have some pesto in the fridge, this Easy Pesto Lemon Rice is a delicious way to use it, and this recipe is meatless, low-glycemic, gluten-free, and South Beach Diet Phase Two if you use low-glycemic rice! Use Side Dishes to find more recipes like this one.

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Easy Pesto Lemon Rice found on KalynsKitchen.com

This Easy Pesto Lemon Rice is a great side dish any time you have a few tablespoons of leftover pesto in the fridge. I made this on Saturday night when my niece Alyson, her fiance Nick, and their friend Rachel came for what we call a “cooking lesson.”

The truth is that all three of them are pretty good cooks, but it’s been fun teaching them some techniques they might be hesitant to try on their own. We completely devoured this rice, which I think is the perfect side dish for anything that goes with the flavors of basil and lemon, so if you want leftovers I’d recommend you double the recipe!

I used my favorite Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice (affiliate link), which is one of the lowest-glycemic types of rice. (If you’re eating this for South Beach phase two, be sure not to buy the “instant” type; you want the converted rice that says “original” on the package.) For the pesto I used some of my Basil Pesto with Lemon that I had in the freezer. We ate with with Baked Pesto Chicken, another super-easy recipe that went well with the rice.

Easy Pesto Lemon Rice found on KalynsKitchen.com

Heat olive oil, then add the rice and cook until rice is starting to get lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Add the salt and lemon juice. Then add the chicken stock and let the mixture come to a boil. Once it is barely boiling, lower heat to medium low, cover the pan and let the rice cook for 20 minutes without lifting lid.

Just a reminder to keep the rice tightly covered while it simmers! After 20 minutes, remove lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and stir in 2-3 T of basil pesto. (I like a lot of pesto, but you can definitely use even less than 2 tablespoons if you want just a hint of basil flavor.)
Put the lid back on and let the rice stand for 5 more minutes. That’s it; you now have delicious Pesto Lemon Rice!

Make it a Meal:

We loved this as a side with Baked Pesto Chicken, but I think it would also taste great with Grilled Zucchini and Sausage KabobsParmesan Chicken, or Spice Rubbed and Roasted Fish Filets.

More Rice Dishes You Might Like:

Mujadarra (Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions) from Kalyn’s Kitchen
How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice from Pinch My Salt
Lake Powell Spicy Rice from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Easy Pesto Lemon Rice

This Easy Pesto Lemon Rice is a delicious side dish to serve when you have grilled meat.


  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice (I use my frozen lemon juice)
  • 2 1/4 cup chicken stock (I used a can of chicken broth with some added water)
  • 2-3 T basil pesto (I used my Basil Pesto with Lemon from the freezer)


  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid; then add the Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice (affiliate link) and saute until rice is light browned, about 2-3 minutes, stirring several times.
  2. Add the salt and lemon juice (I use my frozen lemon juice) and stir again (the lemon juice will bubble up in the pan.)
  3. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. As soon as it is boiling, turn down the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and let it cook without lifting the lid for 20 minutes.
  5. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
  6. Stir in the pesto (I used my Basil Pesto with Lemon from the freezer), put the lid back on and let the rice sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Serve hot.


Leftover rice can be reheated in the microwave or frozen, but you probably won’t have any leftovers unless you double the recipe!

Recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Georgette’s Really Lemony Greek Pilafi.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Using low-glycemic Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice makes this Easy Pesto Lemon Rice a great side dish for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. This is too high in carbs for a traditional low-carb diet plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there. Another option is entering the recipe into this Recipe Nutrition Analyzer, which will calculate it for you.

Easy Pesto Lemon Rice found on KalynsKitchen.com

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    27 Comments on “Easy Pesto Lemon Rice”

  1. Thanks for the tasty and healthy recipe. The procedure was easy to follow.

  2. Any thoughts on freezing this already prepared for a very quick side dish? It would be pretty easy to make multiples at one time and divide into servings

  3. Hm, looks yummy… Pesto and Lemon! never had idea before to cook them with rice. Definitely worth to try, and indeed can't find better rice than Uncle's Ben.