This tomato rice recipe (Ntomatorizo) is a simple, flavorful side dish made up of just 7 ingredients and ready in under 30 minutes! This Greek rice is light, hearty, and perfect for serving alongside gyros, souvlaki, and other summery dishes as a naturally gluten-free, vegan side!
Flavorful Greek Tomato Rice Recipe
I’ll admit I really love rice, but it’s no secret that plain rice can be a little lackluster. However, with the right seasonings and add-ins, you can have a healthy, hearty side dish or main that you’ll want seconds and thirds of. My favorites are Hibachi-style Japanese fried rice, Djuvec rice, and this Greek-inspired tomato rice, of course.
This Mediterranean tomato rice is inspired by one of my favorite sides from my local Greek restaurant and combines just 7 simple pantry staples to make a restaurant-worthy rice dish. At its core, it’s simply rice with tomato sauce, but the addition of gyro seasoning (homemade or store-bought), garlic, and onion make for layers of flavor and a dish that perfectly complements tons of mains.
I love to enjoy this Greek rice alongside other Greek and Mediterranean favorites like vegan gyros, kabobs, souvlaki, or kofte, and tzatziki sauce. However, it’s also simple enough that it makes for a great general side to many dishes!
Even better, there are several ways you can adapt and customize this Mediterranean rice recipe, so you’ll never get bored!
- Rice: I recommend using a long-grain rice variety like basmati or jasmine rice.
- Aromatics: I used a simple combination of onion and garlic. Adjust the amount to personal preference.
- Tomato: I used a combination of tomato passata and tomato purée for different depths of flavor.
- Gyro seasoning: I used homemade gyro seasoning (recipe in recipe card). However, feel free to use a store-bought version.
- Vegetable stock powder: Alternatively, you could simply use salt. For extra flavor, you can cook the rice with stock in place of water, too.
- Herbs: The traditional option is parsley, though oregano and dill also work well for rice with tomato sauce. Stir it into the rice at the end of the cooking process.
- Other vegetables: There are several vegetables you can add, including finely chopped bell peppers, shredded carrot, zucchini, spinach, chickpeas, and olives.
- Bay leaves: Can be added to the rice when cooking, to add extra flavor. Remove before serving.
- Lemon: The addition of lemon is delicious and helps to add brightness to the tomato rice. I recommend adding lemon zest into the rice and serving the rice with small lemon slices for an extra spritz before serving.
- Make it creamy: For a creamier version, you can add 2-3 tbsp of your favorite dairy-free cream, into the tomato sauce.
- Cheese: You can use dairy-free feta crumbled over the rice.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Very popular in the Mediterranean diet, you can add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to the cooked dish before serving.
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Greek Tomato Rice
Step 1: First, cook the rice as per the package instructions and then set it aside.
Step 2: Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the diced onion. Sauté the onion for about four minutes, then add the garlic, tomato paste, and gyro seasoning. Mix and cook for a further minute.
Step 3: Then add the passata and vegetable stock powder (or salt), stir, and leave to simmer for 5-8 minutes before turning off the heat.
Step 4: Finally, add the cooked rice and stir to combine—then serve!
You can serve the tomato rice from a large serving dish or transfer each serving to a small bowl or ramekin, press lightly to make sure it’s ‘compact’, then invert the bowl to serving a rice ‘mound’.
How to Serve
There are several ways you can enjoy this dish.
- Serve with the protein of your choice like tofu kabobs or vegan gyro for a simple main.
- Turn into baked vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant (fill the veggie, cover in foil, and bake for 40-50 minutes).
- Turn into a rice casserole with the addition of soy mince and vegan cheese sauce.
- Serve as a side to mains like these cauliflower steaks.
- Use to create grain bowls, like this chickpea buddha bowl and brown rice salad.
- You can also add this Greek rice to wraps/ burritos.
How to Store
Fridge: I always prefer rice when it’s freshly prepared. However, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure to transfer it to the fridge within an hour of cooking it to avoid bacteria growth.
Freezer: Allow to cool then store in an airtight container and freeze for up to a month. You can reheat the rice from frozen or allow it to thaw first in the fridge.
Reheat: You can reheat the tomato rice in the microwave or on the stovetop –add a splash of water. Make sure it’s steaming hot all the way through, and don’t reheat rice more than once.
- For a one–pot version: You may be able to make this Greek rice in one pot, similar to this vegetable pilaf. To do so, begin by sautéing the garlic and onion as described. Then add the passata, stock, rice, and enough water to cook the rice. Mix well, cover, and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through.
- If you don’t have fresh garlic/onion: You can use onion and garlic powder, though the flavor obviously won’t be exactly the same.
- Swap the rice: You can also make this tomato rice recipe with orzo instead, though it won’t be gluten-free.
- For extra flavor: You can cook the rice in stock rather than water for extra flavor.
Other Simple Vegan Rice Recipes
- Spanish rice and beans
- Cheesy rice and bean casserole
- Turmeric coconut rice
- Vegan sushi
- Mango Sticky Rice
If you try this Greek tomato rice recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing them.
- 8.8 oz (250 g) long-grain rice e.g. basmati or jasmine rice
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small-medium (80 g) onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 3 tbsp (60 g) tomato paste
- 3 tsp gyro seasoning (see notes)
- 1 1/4 cup (300 g) passata
- 1 tsp vegetable stock powder or use salt & pepper to taste
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.Cook the rice as per the package instructions and then set it aside.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the diced onion. Sauté for about 4 minutes, then add the garlic, tomato paste, and gyro seasoning. Mix and cook for a further minute.
- Now add the passata and vegetable stock powder, stir, and leave to simmer for about 5-8 minutes, then turn off the heat.
- Finally, add the cooked rice and stir to combine.You can serve the rice from a large serving dish or transfer each serving to a small bowl or ramekin, press lightly to make sure it’s ‘compact’, then invert the bowl to serving a rice ‘mound’. Enjoy!
- I used homemade gyro seasoning (see recipe below), however, feel free to use store-bought seasoning.
- 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika powder
- 1/4 tsp thyme, dried
- 1/4 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper, ground
- 1/4 tsp cumin, ground
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp marjoram, dried
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp chili flakes
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
Could you use brown basmati rice?
Yes, that is fine. 🙂
Ok Great Thanks so much I will be making it this weekend.
You are very welcome. Enjoy! 🙂
Is it ok to use canned diced tomatoes instead because I have a bunch of cans and that’s all I have but I really want to make this dish and I have everything else please let me know?
Yes, that should be fine, Maria. 🙂