Rice with Turmeric

This vegan take on yellow rice with turmeric is simple to prepare, and pairs well with many cuisines. The warming spice, turmeric, creates the sunshiny color. Cumin and mustard add to the aromatic and earthy flavor. Easy, nutritious, delicious, and versatile – a rice side dish that’s sure to please. Prepare with the optional sweet peas for a bit of visual, textural, and flavoral interest (did I just invent a word?).

I prefer to make this dish with white basmati rice, but it can also be made with brown rice. See the FAQs below for more information on sourcing clean rice.

Three small bowls of rice with turmeric garnished with cilantro

Method Overview

  • Briefly saute onions, spices, and rice in a skillet
  • Add broth; simmer
  • When rice is halfway done, add peas

Three small bowls of rice with turmeric garnished with cilantro
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5 from 11 votes

Rice with Turmeric

This vegan take on yellow rice with turmeric is simple to prepare, and pairs well with many cuisines.
Course: side dish
Cuisine: American, Asian, Ethiopian, Indian, Mediterranean
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 262kcal


  • large covered skillet


  • 1 cup white Basmati rice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen peas
  • Chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish, optional


  • Rinse the rice, then drain well.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat with a bit of the onion. When it begins to gently sizzle, add the rest of the onion, and cook, stirring often, for about five minutes or until softened.
    Add the salt and spices and cook, while stirring, for about 30 seconds (be sure that the oil isn’t so hot that the spices burn).
    Next, add the drained rice to the skillet, and cook for two more minutes while stirring. It's okay if the rice is sizzling a bit.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool down for a few minutes, then stir in the broth.
    Put the skillet back over medium-high heat. When it reaches a lively simmer, give it a stir, then shake the pan, so the rice spreads out evenly.
    Cover the pan and adjust the heat to the appropriate low setting so the rice continues to simmer (not boil). Be sure the lid is secured well, so steam doesn’t escape.
  • Cook the rice for eight minutes, then gently stir. Evenly spread out the rice, sprinkle the peas on top, and recover. Do this step quickly, so the temperature doesn’t drop.
    Cook for eight more minutes, then taste the rice to check the consistency. If the broth is all absorbed, but the rice is chewy instead of al dente, add two more Tablespoons of broth, cover, and cook for a few more minutes.
  • When the rice is cooked al dente, remove the skillet from the heat but leave it covered for another five to ten minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley if desired.


This recipe can also be made with brown rice. Just be sure to adjust the cook time.


Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 171mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 152IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg


Why does rice contain arsenic?

As I explain in my cookbook and healthy eating guide, “Arsenic-laden agrochemicals and various industries, especially coal mining, are to blame for polluting our land and waterways with this carcinogenic heavy metal. As a result, various forms of arsenic have made their way into our ground water, drinking water, and crops. Rice, in particular, tends to absorb arsenic more readily than other crops. As troubling as this may be, there are ways to safely consume rice. The key is to buy rice grown in low-arsenic zones, consume varieties known to inherently absorb less, and use prep and cooking methods that further reduce levels.”

Is there a clean and sustainable rice brand?

My favorite brand of rice is Lundberg Family Farms because they test their rice for arsenic each year and share the results. They grow mainly organic and they use sustainable growing practices.

What variety contains the least amount of arsenic?

Basmati rice consistently tests as having the least amount of arsenic whether grown in California, India, or Pakistan.

Does white rice or brown rice contain more arsenic?

White rice contains less arsenic compared to brown rice, but it also contains less nutrients.

If you enjoy this Rice with Turmeric recipe, you should try my Fancy Quinoa Pesto recipe.

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