This easy djuvec rice is a healthy and easy side dish or vegetarian-friendly dinner that’s quick to make and uses only pantry staples that you probably already have! It's made with veggies like onions, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and peas all cooked up in one pan.
Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in August 2014 and updated in July of 2020 with new photos and recipe tips.
Plus, it’s great for kids because it’s hard to pick the vegetables out - especially if you chop them finely! It’s a pretty sturdy dish that can withstand a lot of ingredient swaps or substitutions, even though I think of it as a delicacy!
The dish is also coincidentally vegan and gluten-free, which means that it’s perfect for serving as a side or main at parties, barbecues, and other events.
What is djuvec rice?
Djuveč is pronounced joovetch and is a Balkan rice dish with an absolute ton of variations! It’s mostly served as a side dish, but when you bulk it up with vegetables, it works great as a quick vegetarian main dish!
You can add a protein of your choice for a satisfying, comforting dinner that’s quick, easy, and can just about feed an entire army! Try adding diced chicken as I do in my one-pot chicken rice dinner, but beef or veal is also a delicious choice.
If you’ve ever vacationed in Bosnia (particularly near the coast) or Croatia, you’ve probably been served djuvec rice as a side dish for grilled meat. It’s super common!
I'm sure you've at least heard of if not had Mexican dirty rice. This is pretty similar - just without the beans! You could still serve it in a tortilla, though - call it fusion, and I won’t object!
However, I still believe that it’s best served with grilled meat since it’s so flavorful and easy to make as a regular part of your dinner routine.
What do I need to make this Bosnian djuvec rice?
You don’t need too many different things at all - and you probably already have most of them since they’re pretty common ingredients!
- Rice - it cooks in the broth and spice mixture with the veggies. I used Basmati, but Jasmine rice is a good option too. If you prefer minute-rice (or instant rice), adjust when to add it to the vegetables.
- Vegetable broth - to cook the rice in since it’s more flavorful than water. However, you could also use water with a tablespoon of Vegeta (a vegetable and herb-based seasoning) instead. Or, if you’re not vegetarian, then chicken stock works great too!
- Some chopped onion - because onion in rice is just heavenly! Mainly since the onion cooks with the rice in the broth so that it’s nice and soft - it just about melts into the rice!
- Chopped bell pepper - I like to use red or green, but any color works here, so choose your favorite or several colors.
- Chopped carrot - I recently discovered that you could eat the peel if you make sure it’s clean and not bruised. This is a great time to experiment with leaving the peel on!
- Minced garlic - if you’re getting tired of chopping by this point, then you can use a garlic press or buy pre-minced garlic.
- Large tomatoes - you only need a couple, and it’s worth making sure that they’re good quality, ripe, meaty tomatoes with plenty of flavors! If that involves taste-testing an extra one, then that’s the right decision - raw vegetables are delicious!
- Fresh or frozen peas - I just use frozen since it means I always have them on hand. You don’t even need to worry about defrosting them - add them straight into the dish, and by the time it’s cooked, they’ll be perfectly tender.
- Paprika - this helps to give the rice its gorgeous red color
- Chili powder - for a bit more spice. This dish isn’t too spicy at all, but if you hate spice, you can use less or leave it.
- Oil - to cook the onion and veggies right at the start
- Salt and pepper to taste - don’t forget that most broth is already pretty salty, so you shouldn’t need as much as you would if you used water instead.
- If you like a garnish, some fresh parsley leaves work wonders here.
… and that’s all! It looks like a long, long list, but most of it is veggies and real pantry staples that pretty much everyone already has. This means that you shouldn’t need a long shopping list to enjoy this vegetable rice regularly!
How do I make this vegetable rice?
*Keep scrolling to get the full (printable) recipe, ingredient amounts, and more tips, or click on the “Skip to Recipe” button at the top of the page.
The method here is the same as Mexican rice or dirty rice, but I’ll explain it anyway to make sure that you’re confident! It is straightforward - you can’t go far wrong.
- Heat the oil and sauté the onion, pepper, and carrot until softened.
- Stir in the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another few minutes.
- Add the rice, peas, spices, and broth.
- Bring it to a boil, then lower to simmer and cover. Cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Season to taste and garnish with parsley if you like.
… and you’re done! See? Just four steps to a perfect vegetable rice side dish! Plus, it’s coincidentally vegan and gluten-free, which is excellent for those with allergies and intolerances!
What should I serve with it?
I usually serve it simply with grilled meat or a vegetarian alternative, like any of these:
- This Columbian chicken stew is perfect with it since the rice is so similar to Mexican rice, so they’re (almost) from the same areas of the world!
- Baked red beet falafel for a vegetarian option.
- This two-bean chili con carne.
- Classic Argentine chimichurri steak (try grilling steak if you haven’t already, it’s incredible)!
What should I make next?
Try any of these and you won't regret it:
- NIGERIAN JOLLOF RICE
- SULTANA YELLOW RICE WITH TURMERIC & CURRY
- BOSNIAN ONE-POT CHICKEN RICE DINNER
- CLASSIC BOSNIAN STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS
- COLOMBIAN PORK AND SAUSAGE RISOTTO
- BUTTERNUT SQUASH BARLEY RISOTTO
Bosnian Djuvec Rice
- Cast-iron skillet or a saucepan
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 medium carrot chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon chili powder optional
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley leaves for garnish
- In a cast-iron skillet or a medium size pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, pepper, and carrot until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add garlic and chopped tomatoes then cook for 5 more minutes stirring frequently.
- Mix in the rice, peas, paprika, and chili powder, if using. Next, add broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chopped parsley leaves before serving.
- Substitute vegetable broth with water and a tablespoon of Vegeta. Vegeta is a popular vegetable and herb-based seasoning.
- For the best results, read additional tips in the post above.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on products used.