Riz a Djej Lebanese Rice with Chicken Recipe

Riz a Djej, also known as Lebanese Rice with Chicken, is one of our favourite Middle Eastern comfort foods to cook at home.

The one-pot Lebanese rice dish is quick and easy to make, ready to serve in under an hour.

Our homemade Riz a Djej recipe features simple and affordable ingredients like cashews, pine nuts, olive oil, vermicelli noodles, onion, chicken thighs, cinnamon, all spice, coriander, cumin, long grain rice, chicken broth, fresh mint and parsley.

Serve Lebanese Rice with Chicken as an aromatic and fragrant side dish at your next Middle Eastern dinner party alongside falafel, shawarma, kibbeh, kofta and a fresh salad.

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Save our Riz a Djej Lebanese Rice with Chicken recipe with Pinterest!

What Is Riz a Djej?

Riz a Djej, also known as Lebanese Rice with Chicken, is a popular comfort food from Lebanon.

The Middle Eastern side dish features shredded or sliced chicken, long grain rice, vermicelli noodles, fragrant spices, fresh herbs and toasted cashews and pine nuts.

The eye-popping dish is often served at the centre of the table at special holidays and celebrations.

Some traditional recipes instruct you to invert the pot onto a plate but our quick recipe can be scooped into a large bowl and garnished with nuts and fresh herbs before arriving at the table.

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Traditional Riz a Djej Lebanese Rice with Chicken recipe ingredients.
Traditional Riz a Djej Lebanese Rice with Chicken recipe ingredients.

Travel to Lebanon by Cooking Riz a Djej at Home

I love traveling to the Middle East.

As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in the Middle East, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.

For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the most delicious Lebanese Chicken Rice via adventures that had me zig-zagging through Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Dubai. You guessed it! Some of my fondest food memories while traveling in the Middle East include fragrant feasts featuring Riz a Djej.

I ate regional versions of Lebanese Rice and Chicken at a traditional Moroccan riad, on food tours of Istanbul and Bodrum, accompanied by Egyptian tea on a Nile Cruise and in bustling market in Cairo, late night snack in Amman, al fresco market lunch in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and accompanied by fresh salads and soup at a massive Middle Eastern barbecue in the middle of the Dubai desert while belly dancers twirled under the night sky.

Cook Lebanese Rice and Chicken in a large pot.
Cook Lebanese Rice and Chicken in a large pot.

Where To Eat Lebanese Rice with Chicken

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Middle Eastern restaurant that serves a traditional Riz a Djej recipe.

Haven’t traveled to the Middle East before? It may be helpful to first sample the dish at a local Lebanese restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You’ll get an idea for the desired rice to vermicelli ratio, size of shredded or sliced chicken, and combination of fresh herbs and toasted nuts.

In Toronto, popular Middle Eastern restaurants that may serve their very own Lebanese Chicken Rice recipe include Parallel, Byblos, Tabule, Fat Pasha, Maha’s, Masrawy Kitchen and Paramount Fine Foods.

Lebanese Chicken Rice is flavoured with Middle Eastern spices like cinnamon and cumin.
Lebanese Chicken Rice is flavoured with Middle Eastern spices like cinnamon and cumin.

My Family Loves Lebanese Rice with Chicken

When my family moved to Oakville the first restaurant we visited was a local Egyptian and Lebanese restaurant called Agabi.

Ranked as one of the best restaurants in Oakville, Agabi, became our family’s go-to Middle Eastern take out joint.

After falling in love with Middle Eastern food at home, we enjoyed vacations to the region, feasting on endless bowls of hummus, falafel and Lebanese Rice with Chicken.

My family enjoys preparing this easy recipe at the cottage in Muskoka during the summer served alongside Middle Eastern barbecued meat and seafood.

I knew my parents would love this Lebanese rice dish as they enjoy recipes made with fragrant spices, tender chicken, fresh herbs and toasted nuts.

Serve this delicious mouth-watering Riz a Djej recipe at your next Middle Eastern dinner party or as part of a buffet featuring fresh salads and hearty soups.

Serve Lebanese Rice with Chicken garnished with fresh herbs and toasted pine nuts and cashews.
Serve Lebanese Rice with Chicken garnished with fresh herbs and toasted pine nuts and cashews.

Riz a Djej Health Benefits

Our homemade Lebanese Rice with Chicken is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.

Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.   

Cashews are low in sugar and rich in fibre, heart-healthy fats, and plant protein. They’re also a good source of copper, magnesium, and manganese — nutrients important for energy production, brain health, immunity, and bone health.

Pine Nuts are rich in magnesium, iron, antioxidants, zinc, and protein, which can help with diabetes management, heart health, and brain health.

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

A rich source of blood-building iron, cumin may also help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce bad cholesterol. It is also traditionally used as a digestive aid.

Rich in energy-boosting manganese, cinnamon is also antibacterial and may protect your brain against Alzheimer’s disease.  

A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, coriander is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals. 

Nearly 50% of the people in the world get over 50% of their daily calories from rice. If eating brown rice featuring nutritious bran you’ll enjoy health benefits like cancer risk reduction and diabetes control.

Fresh mint is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and can have a calming effect on the digestive system. It is also a good source of folate, which supports blood health. 

An excellent source of vitamin K, as well as vitamin C, folate, and iron, parsley helps keep your bones and blood healthy, and protects your skin from damage by free radicals.

Riz a Djej Lebanese Rice with Chicken Photo Image.
Riz a Djej Lebanese Rice with Chicken Photo Image.

Lebanese Rice and Chicken Recipe Cooking Tips

If it’s your first time cooking Riz a Djej at home be sure to review our detailed step-by-step recipe below. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started:

  • We suggest using a large pot or Dutch Oven to prepare Lebanese Rice with Chicken over the stove.
  • We’ve used olive oil in this recipe but you can substitue for canola oil if you prefer.
  • We like using skinless boneless chicken thighs in this recipe as they are tender and full of flavour. You can substitute for chicken breasts if you prefer.
  • We’ve used Spanish cooking onions in this recipe but you can substitue for red onion, white onion or sweet Vidalia onion.
  • We’ve garnished the dish with toasted pine nuts and cashews but you can also use slivered almonds and pistachios.
Riz a Djej is our favourite Lebanese rice and noodle side dish.
Riz a Djej is our favourite Lebanese rice and noodle side dish.

What To Serve with Lebanese Chicken Rice

We love to serve this easy homemade Lebanese Rice as a side dish at Middle Eastern dinners.

We suggest doubling the recipe as leftovers can be enjoyed as a quick and easy lunch throughout the week.

If you’re hosting a buffet or potluck we suggest serving Riz a Djej with other popular Lebanese dishes like:

We like prepared Riz a Djej with chicken thighs as they are tender and flavourful.
We like prepared Riz a Djej with chicken thighs as they are tender and flavourful.

You May Also Enjoy These Chicken Recipes…

Now you're an expert on how to make the best Riz a Djej Lebanese Rice with Chicken recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best Riz a Djej Lebanese Rice with Chicken recipe!

How To Make Riz a Djej Lebanese Rice with Chicken

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Riz a Djej Lebanese Rice with Chicken

How to make Lebanese Rice with Chicken. Our Riz a Djej recipe features vermicelli, rice, cashews, pine nuts, Middle Eastern spices & herbs.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: lebanese
Keyword: Lebanese rice with chicken
Servings: 6
Calories: 453kcal

Equipment

  • French knife
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Large pot
  • Wooden spoon or spatula

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Cashews
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 oz Vermicelli Pasta broken into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion chopped
  • 1 lb Boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 tsp All Spice
  • 1 tbsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 cup Long Grain White Rice
  • 2 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Mint or Parsley chopped

Instructions

  • Spread the cashews and pine nuts onto a small pan that fits inside your toaster oven. Toast the nuts until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a large pot or Dutch Oven over medium-high heat, toast the vermicelli, stirring, until golden for 3-4 minutes. Add the oil, onion and chicken. Cook, stirring, until the onion has softened and the pasta is slightly darker.
  • Stir in the cinnamon stick, all spice, coriander, cumin, rice, chicken broth, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Boil then cover, reduce to low and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, 10-12 minutes. Uncover, drape a towel across the top and replace the lid. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Using a fork, fluff the mixture, then season with salt and pepper. Spoon the chicken and rice mixture into a serving bowl and top with toasted nuts and fresh herbs.

Nutrition

Calories: 453kcal | Carbohydrates: 43.8g | Protein: 28.8g | Fat: 17.8g | Saturated Fat: 3.2g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 346mg | Fiber: 2.1g | Sugar: 2.6g | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 3mg

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