Low Calorie Brown Rice Pilaf Recipe

This savory brown rice pilaf recipe has a complex and nutty flavor to excite your tastebuds. It’s a simple base which you can enhance with your favorite herbs and veggies. Use fast cooking brown rice or long-grain brown rice to suit your busy lifestyle.

Brown rice is such a delicious and healthy grain that is packed with fiber and flavor. I try to eat a lot of it as eating brown rice with my meal ensures that I feel full, satisfied and that I stay full, for longer. I like to call it my “miracle carb”!

Here are some ideas on how to work this low calorie brown rice pilaf into your low calorie diet menu for an (approximate) 350-400 calorie lunch or dinner:

  • 1/2 cup of brown rice pilaf
  • 3 oz of grilled salmon
  • 1 cup of steamed broccoli with lemon

This recipe makes approximately (4) 1/2 cup servings.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice, long-grain (see notes below for using quick cooking brown rice)
  • 2 & 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste


1. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil and wait 10 seconds.

2. Begin to sauté onion, stirring frequently, until translucent.

3. Add the garlic and rice and sauté until the rice begins to toast.

4. Add the chicken broth and salt, to taste.

5. Bring to a boil.

6. Turn to low heat and cover.

7. Cook for approximately 40-45 minutes until the rice is done.

Remove from heat, “fluff” with a fork and serve.

Notes and Variations:

Important! Make sure to check the rice several times during the last 15 minutes of cooking to ensure there is enough liquid.

Add in sautéed veggies such as asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, for even more flavor. Shredded carrots work great, too.

Cooking brown rice can be a challenge, depending on the type you use. A good rule of thumb is to use 2 1/4 cups of liquid for every cup of dry brown rice you’re making, however you’ll want to watch the liquid levels as you cook your pilaf and add more, if necessary.

To substitute “instant” brown rice for regular long-grain brown rice follow the liquid suggestions on the package, as well as the cooking time.

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  • Lelia Saunders

    Great recipe, I am going to make it today! 😀

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  • April

    It would be nice if you posted the nutritional values.

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  • chelsea garrett

    This was so simple to make and it tasted really great! I’m 100% gluten free yet trying to lose some pounds, so I’m always looking for low calorie gluten free ideas. please add more soon – i signed up for the newsletter 🙂

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