This chimichurri rice recipe is an impressive yet simple side dish. It’s infused with so much flavor thanks to onions and garlic, chicken stock, red wine vinegar, fresh herbs, and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper.
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In my opinion, the perfect side dish is one that you could fill your plate up with completely and still be perfectly content. This chimichurri rice is that kind of side dish for me. Yes. It’s that good!
This recipe takes just a few minutes to come together, and the result is perfectly fluffy, tender rice that’s loaded with so many bright, fresh, nutty, tangy flavors. It pairs perfectly with our balsamic bavette steak recipe and our garlic butter steak bites.
📖Why This Recipe Works
Now there are two types of chimichurri rice, there is one style that is based on a copycat version of Trader Joe's Peruvian chimichurri rice.
And versions inspired by the classic green sauce. This recipe is based on my homemade chimichurri sauce recipe. We eliminated the oil to ensure the rice stayed fluffy.
A few more reasons we love this recipe:
- Easy Prep- Just 5 minutes of hands-on time is required.
- One-Pot Recipe- This recipe dirties just one dish. Fewer dishes to wash is always a win.
- Flavorful- Just a few simple ingredients come together to pack a serious flavor punch.
- Great for Meal Prep- This rice is delicious right away, but can also be stored for a few days in the fridge or for longer in the freezer. It reheats beautifully! You can even serve it cold as a rice salad.
Bonus: it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and can easily be made vegan!
Rice - I use long-grain white rice as the base for this recipe. You can also use brown rice.
Olive Oil - We’ll use a little bit of olive oil to sauté the onion and garlic before adding in the other ingredients.
Aromatics - Chopped white onion and minced garlic create the perfect flavor base for our chimichurri sauce.
Chicken Stock - You can also use veggie stock to make this recipe vegan.
Fresh Herbs - A combination of fresh parsley and oregano gives the rice the perfect herb-y freshness.
Red Wine Vinegar - A splash of red wine vinegar gives the rice its classic tangy flavor.
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes - Add as much or as little as you like depending on your spice preferences.
Feel free to give your chimichurri rice a boost of nutrition and some color by sautéing other veggies with the onion. Try chopped red bell pepper, frozen peas, sweet corn kernels, diced tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, you name it. Be sure to cut any extra veggies pretty small so they incorporate well with the rice.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
💭 Chimichurri Chicken and Rice Variation
Cut one pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs into bite-size pieces. Add the chicken pieces to the pan with the garlic and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Add the rice and proceed with the rest of the recipe. This is a delicious dinner using only one pot!
⏲️How to Make Chimichurri Rice
I like to get the rice cooking first and prep the herbs and remaining ingredients while the rice is cooking to save time.
Step 1 - Prep the Rice
First, rinse the rice through a strainer until the water runs clear. Set aside. This is just like our sushi rice recipe. Rinsing the rice gets rid of excess starch which can result in a gummy texture. Be sure to rinse it until the water runs clear so you get grains that are nice and separate.
Step 2 - Saute and Cook
In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat, then add in the onion. Sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften, not more than 5 minutes but probably closer to 3 minutes.
Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the drained rice and toast for a couple of minutes.
To the pan with the rice, add the chicken broth. Increase to medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 18 minutes.
Turn off the heat, but leave the lid on. Let it rest. Once the rice is done cooking, leave the lid on and let it sit for about 10 minutes. This allows the rest of the water to soak into the rice and gives it the perfect texture.
Be sure to check the package directions for your rice. Some types of rice may require more broth or longer cook times.
Step 3 - Finish and Serve
Stir in chopped parsley, oregano, pepper flakes, and vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper to taste, then serve as desired. You can also add as much or as little of the chili flakes as you like depending on your heat tolerance.
🥗What to Serve with Chimichurri Rice
Chimichurri rice is so flavorful yet still so versatile! Here are a few ways you can enjoy it. As a side dish and round out your meal by serving a pile of rice as a side dish next to blackened cod, salmon with pineapple salsa, fajitas or tacos, or grilled BBQ chicken.
As an entree. Turn the rice itself into the main dish by adding cooked, shredded chicken and copycat Chipotle fajita veggies or using it in a burrito or as a base for a burrito bowl! We love this recipe with our crockpot shredded beef for meal prep.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
Toast the rice first. This adds flavor depth which creates an overall better dish!
Leftover chimichurri rice will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen, then microwave or warm on low on the stove with a splash of broth until heated through.
More Delicious Side Dish Recipes
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Chimichurri is a fresh condiment that’s popular, particularly in Argentina and Uruguay, but really all over central and South America. It’s made with oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, fresh herbs, and more, and is often used as a sauce, dip, or even marinade. Chimichurri rice is just rice tossed together with classic chimichurri! It has all of the flavors of chimichurri but made into a versatile side dish.
Chimichurri rice has a uniquely bright, fresh, tangy flavor with perfect nutty undertones thanks to the sautéed onion, garlic, and olive oil.
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- Begin by rinsing the white rice in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear. Set aside.1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
- Heat a large saucepan, add the olive oil over medium heat Add the onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the garlic, cook for an additional 30 seconds.2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ cup white onion, 4 cloves garlic
- Add the drained rice and stir to toast it for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth.2 ¼ cups chicken stock
- Increase heat to high until the mixture reaches a low boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and set a timer for 18 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave the lid on, and let the rice rest for 10 minutes before removing lid.
- Stir in the chopped parsley, oregano, pepper flakes, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.¼ cup fresh parsley, ¼ cup fresh oregano leaves, 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Leftover rice will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
- It is freezer-friendly for up to 1 month.