Bejeweled Rice

by | Nov 29, 2023

This Bejeweled Rice recipe is perfect for turning any meal into a special celebration. It contains crave-worthy saffron-infused rice, studded with a colorful array of “jewels” like blueberries, glazed carrots, and toasted nuts. Try making this colorful jeweled rice during the holidays and serve alongside your favorite protein.

Decorative Bejeweled Rice, colorful toppings, blue background on white platter

[ Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. All opinions are my own; I never feature a brand that I don’t love! ]

What is bejeweled rice?

Bejeweled Rice, also known as Persian Jeweled Rice, is a sensory delight. It combines a bed of fluffy basmati rice topped with sweet blueberries, buttery carrots, and crunchy nuts. 

It’s also SO simple to make and will leave your guests super impressed. We make it every year for Christmas and it’s always a hit! 

Plus, if you’re an avid “Swiftie” like us, you’ll love how this rice is inspired by the song “Bejeweled”.

Artfully arranged Bejeweled Rice with vibrant toppings and carrots and green onions on the side

Is this rice dish healthy?

Along with this dish being a beautiful display, it’s also a nutritious choice. The combination of ingredients offers a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. We also consider this dish an easy and colorful way to rest your gut during the holiday season. In fact, did you know blueberries can really be a star ingredient for our gut?

Gut health benefits of blueberries

Recent research shows a positive link between blueberries and gut health. A new study published in Nutrients looked at the effect of blueberry consumption on symptoms and overall quality of life in 43 adults ages 18-60 with a BMI of 18.5 – 32.9 kg/m2 having irritable bowel syndrome or functional dyspepsia or both over a six week period.

The researchers found that daily consumption of blueberries relieved abdominal symptoms and improved general markers of well-being in people with gastrointestinal disorders. They found these effects observed when consuming an equivalent of 1 ¼ cup of blueberries daily. 

Researchers suggest that the symptom relief may be due to the polyphenols in blueberries, which may have potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and neuroprotective properties. 

Green onions, blueberries, carrots, raisins, almonds laid out on blue backdrop

What ingredients do you need?

  • Basmati Rice: Known for its long grains and fragrant aroma, you can easily find it in the rice section of your local grocery store.
  • Saffron Threads: These precious strands add a luxurious golden hue to the rice. You can find saffron in the spice aisle or at your local global market. It can be quite pricey so you might consider purchasing a small amount.
  • Nuts: Choose your favorites to add a delightful crunch.
  • Butter:  Used to add a rich flavor to the carrots. If you’re vegan, feel free to substitute for olive oil
  • Carrots: Sliced into thin ¼-inch rounds for an elegant appearance.
  • Green Onions: Providing a pop of bright green as one of the jewels.
  • Fresh Blueberries: Bursting with naturally sweet flavor and vibrant color. Blueberries are also a good source of fiber with 4 grams fiber per serving.
  • Golden Raisins: Adding a sweet and chewy contrast to the ensemble.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Optional, but finishes the “jewels” with a beautiful shine.

How do you make jeweled rice?

This recipe may take a bit more detail and time to assemble but trust us– it’s worth every effort! Here’s how to make it:

1. Make the rice

Toasting the rice adds extra complexity to each grain. Then add over boiling water to speed up the heating process, let simmer, and stir in your saffron.

Before transferring to a platter, make sure you have all your “jewels” prepped and ready to add.

2. Add green onions and blueberries

These are the first two ingredients to top our jeweled rice. With each ingredient, carefully place them in a diagonal line.

3. Add glazed carrots and toasted nuts

Glazing the carrots allows them to become tender and makes them look more like jewels too. Toasting the sliced almonds makes these extra nutty and delicious. 

4. Add golden raisins and drizzle in oil

Finally, add your golden raisins as the last jewel for our colorful rice. Optionally, drizzle everything with a little extra virgin olive oil for added shine!

If you’re not out to impress anyone, you’re also welcome to just toss everything together instead of layering it. 

Perfect for the holidays

This Jeweled Rice is seriously a showstopper on any holiday table. Its vibrant colors and luxurious flavors make it a perfect addition to Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any special celebration. It’s the dish that will have everyone saying “Wow!” and craving seconds.

This is recipe vegan?

This recipe calls for butter but you can easily swap for olive oil or plant butter to make this recipe vegan-friendly.

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Serving Tips: Bejeweled Rice pairs wonderfully with roasted chicken, baked salmon, or our lamb meatballs. Feel free to add a dollop of yogurt or feta on top of the rice for extra creaminess. Other flavorful ingredients like pickled red onions or chopped cilantro pair well with this rice as well.
  • Troubleshooting Tips: To avoid sticky rice, rinse it thoroughly before cooking and fluff it gently with a fork after cooking to separate each grain. When toasting nuts, watch them closely to prevent burning.
  • Scaling Tips: This recipe makes enough for about 8 people, but you can always double it for larger gatherings. 

Customize it your way

Like all of my other recipes, Bejeweled Rice is completely customizable. You get to choose your favorite nuts to use.

  • Nuts of your choice – In the photograph, we’re showing off toasted sliced almonds. You could also use pistachios, chopped cashews, walnuts, or any other nuts you have on hand.
Colorful ingredients next to saffron rice one pot

Can you make it ahead of time?

We recommend making this recipe fresh for the best results. That’s because if you were to make it ahead of time and reheat it, the blueberries would burst and become messy. Plus, the rice tends to taste best fresh.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. To reheat, simply microwave your preferred portion. Just keep in mind when reheating, the blueberries will become hot and burst open.

Colorful Bejeweled Rice on plate with gold utensils

Need more help with recipes for your busy schedule?

In my coaching + cooking program, I help busy people with beginner cooking knowledge become confident in the kitchen so that they can enjoy nourishing foods they love and stress less about mealtime. Click here to learn more about this virtual program led by a dietitian.

Bejeweled Rice 6

Bejeweled Rice

Mackenzie Burgess, RDN
This Bejeweled Rice recipe is perfect to serve during the holidays alongside your favorite protein. It's studded with a colorful array of "jewels" like blueberries, glazed carrots, and toasted nuts.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Calories 280 kcal

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Rice Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil if vegan)
  • 2 cups basmati rice, rinsed well and soaked for 30 minutes
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon 1 large pinch saffron threads, soaked in 3 tablespoons of hot water for 30 minutes

“Jewel” Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice (sliced almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups carrots, cut on a bias into ¼-inch slices (about 3 large carrots)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced (about 6 individual stalks)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • Optional but recommended: 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Rice Instructions:

  • In a medium pot or deep saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add soaked rice and toast for 1 minute. Add boiling water and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from heat with lid still on and let steam for an additional 15 minutes.
  • When rice is done cooking, gently fluff with a fork. Then, spoon over saffron water in various parts of the rice, so it stains some part of the rice, but not all of it.

“Jewel” Instructions:

  • Toast nuts by adding them to a dry pan over medium heat. Toss frequently until golden and aromatic, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
  • To the same pan over medium heat, add carrots along with 1 tablespoon butter and 1/4 cup water. Let simmer for 8-10 mins until tender and liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Assembly Instructions:

  • Transfer saffron rice to a large 16-inch platter then in neat rows layer over ingredients in the following order from top to bottom: green onions, blueberries, glazed carrots, toasted nuts, and golden raisins.
  • Optional but recommended: For a more decadent and moist rice texture, evenly drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the entire platter of rice. This gives the jewels a nice “shine” too!


If you don’t feel like layering, you can just mix all the toppings into the rice before arranging on the platter. It just may not look quite as pretty. 🙂


Calories: 280kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 6gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 320mgPotassium: 280mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gCalcium: 40mg
Tried this recipe?Tag us @cheerfulchoices and let us know how it was!

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Want more? Try these other holiday dishes:

Hi, I'm Mackenzie...

nice to meet you!

I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and recipe developer. I create simple recipes with customizable ingredients “of your choice.” I also help busy people gain kitchen confidence through my hands-on program.

Need more hands-on help?

In my coaching + cooking program, I help busy people with beginner cooking knowledge become confident in the kitchen. Click here to learn more about this virtual program with a dietitian!

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  1. Megan

    5 stars
    I made this after seeing your video on IG, it’s my new favorite dinner side!

    • Mackenzie Burgess

      Ohh YAY! That was a fun video to make 🙂 So glad you could try it out and hope you can make it over the holidays to share with loved ones! ~Mackenzie


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