An easy rice dish is the perfect way to round out any meal. This Italian Rice Pilaf with Toasted Almonds is simple enough for a weeknight meal, yet impressive enough for company! 

Italian Rice Pilaf with Toasted Almonds in a shallow casserole dish

Why You Should Make this Rice Casserole

This Italian Rice Pilaf has been an Indianapolis favorite since it appeared in our out of print, Junior League cookbook, Winners: Winning Recipes from the Junior League of Indianapolis.

  • I’ve had it at dinner parties and made it for company. It’s an easy recipe, but special enough for guests.
  • Cooked in the oven, this rice is easy to make ahead, park in the fridge, then bake up when guests arrive. You will need to extend the baking time if it comes straight from the refrigerator to the oven.
  • It’s a delicious, easy way to shake up your side dish repertoire.
Overhead view of Italian Rice Pilaf in a round casserole

Tips for Making this Pilaf Recipe

When planning a dinner menu, whether for a big family gathering or a dinner party, I love easy, make-ahead dishes. I love to focus on an unforgettable entree and a spectacular dessert. The rest should be delicious, memorable, yet easy! So it’s great to have a handful of terrific side dishes that can practically be made blindfolded. Well, maybe not that easy since there is some mushroom sauteing involved!

  • The almonds can be toasted ahead of time, then the rice, mushrooms, onions, and season cooked in butter, before pouring it all into a baking dish.
  • It’s easy to tweak to your taste. Don’t like almonds? Leave them out. Love mushrooms? Add another variety to the mix.
  • The broth and almonds are added, then the whole shebang is popped into the oven. As Ina would say, “How easy is that???”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pilaf?

According to the Food Lover’s Companion, pilaf is a rice or bulghur dish that originated in the Near East. It’s made by browning the rice in butter or oil before cooking it in broth. There are often other additions like vegetables or proteins like meat or poultry. It can be eaten as a side dish or entree.

What is the Difference Between Pilaf and Risotto?

Pilaf bakes into a dryer, loose grained rice dish where risotto is made with a European rice, Arborio, which is starchier, a smaller grain and round. Much more liquid is used to make risotto compared to pilaf and the results arre much creamier.

What Type of Rice is Best for Pilaf?

A long grain rice like Jasmine or Basmati is best for pilaf

More Delicious Side Dishes

Do you have a favorite, easy side dish? Any delicious, simple rice recipes? 

Italian Rice Pilaf with Toasted Almonds

Italian Rice Pilaf with Toasted Almonds

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield 6 servings

An easy rice pilaf that's perfect to round out nearly any meal!


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup rice (I use long grain)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions, plus more to garnish if desired
  • 2 2/3 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth for a vegetarian dish)
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Met butter in a large skillet. Stir in rice, mushrooms, bell pepper, Italian seasoning and green onions. Stir and cook until the mushrooms are tender.
  3. Pour rice mixture into baking dish. Stir in broth and almonds.Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour. Check to see if rice is cooked and broth is absorbed. Cook longer if needed.



Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 177mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g


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