Sweet Potato Rice Pilaf with Lemon, Olives & Raisins

This Mediterranean inspired take on a grain-less Sweet Potato Rice Pilaf from is a winner and infinitely adaptable! This take is light, bright and herbaceous, studded with briny olives & juicy raisins.


  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml avocado oil
  • 1 cup / 240 g diced onion (about 1/2 medium)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs / 900 g white sweet potato (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup / 80 g mix of green olives & black olives
  • 1/2 packed cup / 12 g fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup / 40 g golden raisins, optional
  • 1 tbsp / 10 g rinsed & patted dry salted capers
  • 1 tbsp / 5 g fresh lemon zest (from 1 lemon)


  1. SOFTEN: In a very large skillet, heat the oil on low. Add the diced onion and garlic, stirring to coat, and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened and translucent, about 8 minutes or so. While the onion and garlic are softening, prep the white sweet potatoes.
  2. GRATE: Peel the white sweet potatoes and chop them into large chunks that will fit through the feeder tube of your food processor. Fit the medium / coarse grating blade and grate the sweet potato. Tip the grated sweet potato into a bowl. Remove the grating attachment and fit the S blade into the food processor bowl. Working in batches of a few handfuls at a time, pulse the grated sweet potato until it resembles rice sized pieces. Don’t over process or the pieces will be too small and fine.
  3. COOK: Add the riced sweet potato to the skillet. Stir and increase the heat until you just hear the sweet potato starting to sizzle, then add the broth and salt, stirring to combine. Cover the skillet and cook until the liquid has almost completely absorbed, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir when the sweet potato still looks a little wet. Turn off and remove the skillet from the heat, stir and fluff the rice, then let it release steam while it cools a little and absorbs the broth.
  4. CHOP: Thinly slice the olives and mince the fresh parsley. Add the sliced olives, raisins, capers and lemon zest to the rice, stirring to combine. When the rice has cooled so that it is warm to the touch, add the parsley and stir well. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve warm. You can drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil or serve with lemon wedges on the side, if you like. If you’re making this ahead or taking it to cookouts, I like to refresh the sweet potato rice pilaf with a little extra oil and a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice just before serving.


You can make this with standard orange sweet potatoes, but I like this much better with the less sweet & more starchy white sweet potato varieties. If you can’t find white sweet potatoes, omit the raisins since there will be plenty of sweetness from the sweet potatoes already.