home and family broccoli rice recipe

Buttery Broccoli Rice Pilaf

Move over cauliflower rice, your cousin broccoli is in town. We have all seen cauliflower rice explode in popularity as a grain-free alternative to traditional rice; thanks to its chameleon-like features and versatility. But don’t overlook the cruciferous broccoli as a similar stand-in for rice. Paired exquisitely with browned onions and parmesan, this buttery broccoli rice pilaf is loaded with nutrients and the perfect excuse to get your daily greens in style! Pressed for time? Frozen broccoli rice is the perfect alternative to slaving over chopping your stalks.

I shared this buttery broccoli rice pilaf recipe with my friends at Home and Family as their team worked tirelessly to film a covid style zoom session from their studio to my home kitchen. Flexibility abounds everywhere! Speaking of flexibility, don’t just limit yourself to broccoli rice-consider flipping these into broccoli fritters, tossing in with basmati rice for a heartier dish, or making it vegan by removing the buttered cheese and swapping flavors like ginger or basil. Top it all off with some perfectly seared fish or meat and your complete meal is served. 


Buttery Broccoli Rice Pilaf


  • 6 cups broccoli rice (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prep broccoli rice. If using frozen, thaw about 40 percent so pieces break apart. If making fresh, process broccoli in a food processor until desired consistency, or chop by hand for a more controlled chop. 

  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook until translucent, around 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and carrots and cook until fragrant and slightly browned, around 5-7 minutes. It’s important to brown the veggies as they will be the base of flavor in this dish.

  3. Add garlic and broccoli rice. Raise heat to high and cook, while stirring, until broccoli is cooked through. About 8 minutes. If you’re using fresh broccoli and it starts to look dry, add a splash of hot water, butter or olive oil to keep it moist.

  4. Add parmesan, basil, salt and pepper. Season to taste.

Recipe Notes

*Frozen broccoli rice is often composed of just the stems so the color tends to be lighter and has less of a broccoli flavor. If you opt for fresh broccoli (and use the green heads) your dish will taste more broccoli-y and a brighter green. Both are delish, so your choice! You could also just use the fresh stems and reserve the heads for a stir fry later. 

**Do not overcrowd the pan! You don’t want the broccoli to steam. Keeping a single layer of ingredients is always best. If necessary, use two frying pans if one is not big enough.

Flexible tips/flips!

  • Add protein to this recipe by scrambling two eggs and folding it into the final result.
  • Not sure what to do with leftovers? Add eggs to the leftover rice and spoon into a preheated skillet for broccoli fritters.
  • You can totally omit the carrots and mushrooms and make it all about the broccoli or make the whole dish vegan by swapping butter for olive oil and skipping the cheese. 
  • You can also sneak veggies into your kids’ dishes by folding the above recipe into some steamed rice!

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I love to see your flexible creations! If you’ve made this — or any of my easily adaptable dishes — share a photo on Instagram and tag me @TheFlexibleChef, or send me a DM. 

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