Recipe: Mediterranean Vegetable Rice

Recipe: Mediterranean Vegetable Rice

David Loftus

This delicious dish from Jamie Oliver blends green pesto with olive tapenade , creamy mozzarella, and basil.

Mediterranean Vegetable Rice

This delicious dish blends green pesto with olive tapenade, creamy mozzarella, and basil.



1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 small red onion
1 zucchini
4 ripe mixed-color tomatoes
1/4 cup green pesto
olive oil
8 black olives (with pits)
white wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
4 sprigs of fresh basil
1/2 x 4 1/2-oz ball of mozzarella cheese

Preheat the broiler to high. Tip the rice into a 14- x 10-inch roasting pan (or use a large round shallow ovenproof pan, like I’ve done here, if you have one), pour over 2 2/3 cups of boiling salted water and cook over a medium heat for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, then turn off the heat. Meanwhile, peel the red onion, then very finely slice with the zucchini, or use a mandolin (use the guard!). Finely slice the tomatoes into rounds.

Randomly bomb the pesto over the rice, then start layering up your veg: cover the rice with rounds of onion, then move on to a layer of zucchini, overlapping them as you go, followed by a layer of tomatoes. Repeat, moving slightly nearer the middle each time until you’ve covered the whole surface (use the picture to help you out—it might look a bit fiddly, but its child’s play to make). Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper, then place under the broiler on the middle shelf for 25 minutes, or until beautifully gratinated. Meanwhile, for the tapenade, pit and very finely chop the olives, then mix with 1/2 a tablespoon each of vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. To serve, pick over the basil leaves, dot over the olive tapenade and delicately tear over the mozzarella.

Very finely slicing the veg means you can pretty much use any kind or variety – baby carrots, fennel, eggplants, beets – to really celebrate the seasons in a flamboyant way.

To make vegetarian: use vegetarian pesto.

Excerpted ULTIMATE VEG: Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone by Jamie Oliver. Copyright © 2020 by Jamie Oliver. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by David Loftus.

Want more rice recipes? Try Sean Sherman's Wild Rice Cakes recipe.

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