Skip to Content

What to Serve with Rice Pilaf? 10 BEST Side Dishes

If there is one dish that can stand on its own, it’s rice pilaf.

It’s delicious comfort food that keeps you full.

Pilaf is said to have originated in Persia, but every region has a slightly similar rice dish.

Hence, it’s a popular dish everyone loves and serves on various occasions.

However, even though it’s a stand-alone dish, it’s versatile and complements many other items.

So, you can serve numerous dishes with pilaf.

If you’re also looking for ideas on what to serve with rice pilaf, there is no need to look further.

Continue reading as we list the best dishes you can serve with rice pilaf.

Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Rice Pilaf?

Rice pilaf usually contains meat or vegetables or both, so you have various sources of nutrients in one dish.

But since it’s a rich dish, it can overpower you quickly.

Having side dishes can be pretty handy as they balance and complete your meal and keep the palate fresh.

Pilaf also combines nicely with most dishes, so why shouldn’t you take advantage? It’ll be fun to eat several items than one dish, even if it’s excellent.

What to Serve with Rice Pilaf? 10 BEST Side Dishes

There are so many great side dishes to serve with rice pilaf that we feel bad as we can’t mention them here.

But here are the ten best that you can include in your menu.

1. Cauliflower Potato Soup

If you want to make your meal even heartier and rich, a creamy soup with cauliflower and potatoes will be a good side dish for rice pilaf.

Cauliflower and potatoes are versatile veggies, and their combo is delicious.

Besides, the soup isn’t complicated to make, even though its flavors seem complex.

Most soups have chicken broth or stock as the base.

But if you want a vegan option, you can exclude it and use water or veggie broth instead.

The soup will still taste outstanding when you add spices, fresh herbs, and a few more veggies like onions and carrots.

2. Juicy Roasted Chicken

Rice and chicken make the perfect combo; you can’t get a tastier dish than juicy roast chicken.

Besides, almost everyone loves chicken so you will have a popular dish on the menu.

Serving rice and chicken makes sure that you have a well-balanced meal.

Both are hearty dishes, but they don’t overpower each other.

Hence, you’re able to enjoy their flavors without being confused about which is which.

What makes it even more exciting about this dish is that you don’t need many ingredients to make it delicious.

Apart from the whole dressed chicken, you only need celery, butter, salt, pepper, and onion powder.

3. Chickpea Salad

Rice is a versatile ingredient, no matter the recipe.

You can serve any dish, and it will taste incredible.

Chickpea salad is one dish that goes pretty well with rice pilaf.

It’s hearty and fresh, so you won’t feel bored eating the two items together.

You can find both canned and dry varieties, and both are suitable for making salad.

However, both have pros and cons.

For example, the canned variety is convenient when you’re short of time, but it may contain additives.

The dry variety consumes more time, but you can control what you add, including salt.

Hence, if you have time, it would be best to use dry chickpeas for the salad.

4. Crab Cakes

How about some crunchy addition to your menu to serve alongside rice pilaf? Crab cakes are yummy and popular.

Besides, they complement the rice, so the dish is suitable for pairing with pilaf.

Crab cakes are delicious, but they aren’t challenging to make.

If you make dishes that need to be breaded or coated, you’ll find it even simpler to make crab cakes.

You can also make crab cakes using different ingredients.

You can make them with.

  • Real crab meat.
  • Imitation crab meat.
  • Chickpea+ artichoke heart mix (vegan).

Hence, even if you don’t have one ingredient, you can use another to make crab cakes.

5. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Anything tastes excellent when roasted and complements pilaf.

You, therefore, have multiple ingredients to choose from.

Roasted Brussels sprouts are one of the dishes that fit the bill.

Brussels sprouts look similar to heads of cabbage, but they’re much smaller in size.

They belong to the same family of plants, so that some people may call them mini cabbages.

When roasting Brussels sprouts, the key is to keep it simple.

The veggies are naturally tasty, so you don’t need much effort.

Besides the Brussels sprouts, you will require only olive oil, salt, and pepper.

6. Cream of Broccoli Soup

It will be helpful to have one more soup dish to pair with pilaf in case you don’t have potato and cauliflower.

Cream of broccoli soup is one of the most delicious soups that require very few ingredients or steps.

If time isn’t your best friend at the moment, broccoli soup will be perfect for serving alongside the rice dish because you don’t have to spend a lot of time making it.

The creaminess and thickness of the soup depend on the roux made with milk, butter, and all-purpose flour.

So, make sure to create the right consistency.

Besides, you must also pay attention when buying broccoli.

Choose fresh ones which are firm, bright green with undamaged heads.

These will bring out the flavor better.

7. Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Beans and rice are also compatible.

There are many recipes with beans, and each one tastes incredible with pilaf.

But for this menu, we include instant pot pinto beans.

It’s not only a delicious dish but also quite simple to make.

It’s one of those dishes you can make when you don’t have enough time to cook.

You can use canned or dry beans for the dish.

If you’re using dry beans, you can first soak them for at least eight hours before cooking.

However, you can also cook them after rinsing the beans thoroughly.

Either method will produce the same results but soaking the beans before cooking will save time.

8. Juicy Skillet Pork Chops

Rice pilaf works perfectly fine with pork, too, so if you don’t have chicken or fish, this dish will be a suitable side dish for the rice.

Juicy pork chops in a skillet offer plenty of flavors without you needing to undergo various complicated steps.

However, it would help to keep a few things in mind when cooking pork chops for the best results.

  • Let the meat come to room temperature after you take it out from the fridge.
  • Salt and season the meat for at least half an hour before you commence cooking.
  • The internal temperature should reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit for the meat to be cooked perfectly. It may be a little higher or lower depending on the thickness of the meat.
  • When purchasing meat, choose chops that are pinkish-red in color with a bit of marbling.

9. Grilled Zucchini with Pesto

Grilled and roasted food always tastes delicious, no matter what ingredients you cook.

They also team up well with rice pilaf.

For this list, we’re adding grilled zucchini with pesto.

It’s a tasty dish but not complex, so that it won’t be much of a problem making the same.

But you will need the right ingredients and must follow a few tips for the best results.

You must cut the veggie in similar shapes and sizes so that they cook evenly.

You won’t need plenty of seasoning, but using the right ones is essential.

You will need.

  • Balsamic or red wine vinegar.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Basil or parsley (dry).
  • Garlic powder.
  • Salt and pepper.

Make some pesto to enjoy with the zucchini.

10. Pan Fried Salmon

Last but not least, we will complete the list with a seafood dish.

Pan-fried salmon can also pair nicely with rice pilaf without either dish overpowering the other.

Pan-fried salmon is absolutely delicious but very easy to cook.

You can also make the dish quite flavorful without using numerous ingredients.

You can make the salmon using only three ingredients besides the fish; salt, pepper, and olive oil for frying.

Salmon cooks fast, like other seafood, so make sure they’re not overcooked, or your meal will get ruined.


Serving rice pilaf will be pretty exciting now since you have at least ten dishes to go with it.

Some dishes may take a little more time to cook than others.

So, consider the time aspect before cooking any dish.

You can make the time-consuming dishes only when you have sufficient time to finish the cooking in time.

What to Serve with Rice Pilaf? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Andrew Gray
Indulging in the richness of rice pilaf? Enhance your meal with our selection of the 10 best side dishes tailored to complement the fragrant and flavorful nature of this classic rice dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Servings 4 Servings


  • 1. Cauliflower Potato Soup
  • 2. Juicy Roasted Chicken
  • 3. Chickpea Salad
  • 4. Crab Cakes
  • 5. Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • 6. Cream of Broccoli Soup
  • 7. Instant Pot Pinto Beans
  • 8. Juicy Skillet Pork Chops
  • 9. Grilled Zucchini with Pesto
  • 10. Pan Fried Salmon


  • Pick your favorite recipe from the article.
  • Organize your ingredients and utensils.
  • Follow the detailed instructions in the recipe to make your side dish.
  • Prepare and serve for delicious meal!
Keyword What to Serve with Rice Pilaf
Did you make this recipe?Mention @AmericasRestaurant or tag #americasrestaurant!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating