An Armenian family's Thanksgiving tradition.

Lee's Armenian family puts rice pilaf front and center at Thanksgiving, instead of stuffing. Lee finds a special way to connect with lost loved ones when making rice pilaf: "I prefer using recipes from their recipe cards rather than a cookbook because then I get to see their handwriting – such good memories!"



  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup vermicelli
  • 1 cup long grain, parboiled rice (such as Uncle Ben’s)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (we use College Inn)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon madzoon (plain Armenian yogurt) per serving (optional)


To Prepare

Heat broth to a low boil in a saucepan.

Break up vermicelli into small ¾ -inch to 1-inch pieces.

Melt butter in bottom of a separate 2-quart saucepan, add vermicelli and stir until light brown in color.

Add rice and stir – toast for 1 minute.

Add hot broth, and salt and pepper to rice mixture.

Cover and bring to boil, then reduce to simmer until all of the liquid is gone, about 21-24 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of madzoon.