Saffron Infused Rice with basil and tomatoes

So this was my first time to take the plunge and buy saffron. It is not a tricky spice it is a pricey spice and not until recent inspiration from Cook’s Country did I think it was worth the mula. I have always tried to mimic the color of saffron by using turmeric (also known as ‘poor man’s saffron’). Like most spices, saffron and turmeric both have incredible health benefits. However, I can attest that nothing bets the original color, taste and aroma of the original and fabulous spice of saffron. Saffron is subtle with a  floral aroma and hint of honey and hay-like flavors that just pop and scream FRESH!

I was making sausage stuffed zucchini boats (recipe next week) using a mix of different Indian inspired spices and I thought that I would accompany it with a light side of saffron infused rice with lemon, basil and tomatoes. It is an effortless dish but in the end everyone will simply marvel at what you have accomplished. Some people take cooking rice way to seriously and can actually ruin the texture of the rice by paying too much attention to it. Instead, let the hot water and pot do the job for you. Just rinse your rice, bring it to a boil, pop on the lid and turn down to low for 15-20 minutes. It really is so simple and you don’t need one of those fancy rice cooker either. Below are just a few helpful tips to make perfect rice each and every time!

5 Easy Tips to Perfect Rice:

1. Rinse your Rice (always)

2. Measure out correct amount of water. Rule of thumb: 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup water to 1 cup of rice. If you want fluffier rice then use a tad less than the recipe calls for.

3. Add 1 tsp of canola oil in the water before boiling the rice. This will separate all the rice grains after cooking.

4. Do not disturb the rice while it is cooking. Hands off the utensil. It doesn’t need your help to cook! LOL!

5. Fluff your rice with a fork, not a spoon, and by all means to do stir it all up. Rice doesn’t like a spoon!

Now you can get all fancy and cook your saffron in different types of broth and veggies but to keep it simple and clean see my recipe below and you will be amazed at your new found friend: Saffron!


Saffron Infused Rice with Basil, Lemon and Tomatoes


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 pinches of saffron plus 1/4 cup water for soaking
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 TBSP basil, chopped
  • 1 large tomato- juiced and diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 TBSP butter


First rinse your rice and then drain. Place your saffron threads in the 1/4 cup water and allow to soak for 10 minutes. Now, place all ingredients except for the lemon zest, basil and tomatoes into a large pot, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover (without stirring) for 15-20 minutes.

Place your rice along with the lemon zest, tomatoes and basil and fluff with a fork. Serve warm.



  1. Liesl

    This looks delish! I am a big fan of rice dishes and this looks fresh and like the perfect addition to a meal!

    Liesl 🙂

  2. erica@fashionmeetsfood

    Looks like I now know what I am having for dinner!


  3. Kelly

    I used to do the same thing! I thought saffron just added color. 🙂 Now I can’t be without it!

  4. sara@domesticallychallenged

    Sheesh. You are killing me here. I love reading your blog, but am running out of nice comments on your awesome food I’ll never be able to make! The cookies, yes, but this? Way beyond me!

  5. Kelli

    This is a Rice eating family and especially since that is one of our crops. This recipe looks wonderful and it is a must make! Thanks for sharing and all your great and wonderful ideas pays off in my home so thanks!!!!

  6. Jihane @Sinful Sundays

    I’m a HUGE rice eater as I ate it everyday as a main course from ages 3-17, and still eat it quite a bit now. I love your tip about rinsing the rice before you cook it, because it really makes ALL the difference in the world. I love saffron rice but always bought the pre-made kind, so I will definitely have to give this a try. It looks great!

  7. Christina

    This sounds wonderful and thanks for the rice cooking tips. I am bad/lazy and often buy the instant microwaveable kind. Cooking your own tastes far superior!

  8. Mary

    I was wondering what in the world to use the saffron I have in the cabinet for, and now I’ve found something! Thanks!

  9. Erica

    LOVE saffron. I had saffron risotto last night- amazing! your dish looks so good! I have to book mark and try it! I wish saffron wasn’t so darn expensive!

  10. flip flops & pearls

    your images are looking awesome girl…
    what lense are you using?
    do you shoot with canon??


  11. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit

    I bought saffron for the first time just recently to put in paella. Since I’ve yet to make the paella, I may just have to use it in this lovely rice! 🙂

  12. Beth Dunn

    Never knew that about safron. I never knew you had to rinse rice either.

  13. Maria @ Scandifoodie

    This sounds so wonderfully fragrant and delicious!

  14. Joanne

    I love saffron and a little bit really goes a long way! This dish sounds delicious…so many fresh flavors. Yum!

  15. Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons

    The hubs and I have wanted to cook rice with saffron forever! It is super pricey but I’m glad to know its so yummy that maybe it’s worth the cash monies? =) haha! I have this bookmarked for later! <3

  16. daphne

    Beautiful flavours Jessica. I could probably eat this bowl after bowl! I’m even thinking with some roasted cashews..ahhhhhh… u leave me wondering…

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