By Melanie A. Albert, intuitive cooking expert, author, and speaker. Founder & CEO Experience Nutrition Group, LLC
Today, I was honored to lead a fun SHOP+CHOP+COOK Cooking Class at the Phoenix Public Market, with a group of Girl Scouts who created their own salad dressing, raw kale salad, and we also enjoyed preparing the delicious tomato gazpacho with the local, in season, farmers’ market veggies. I was fortunate to have some beautiful leftovers, which inspired me to create a rice pilaf. Take a look at today’s rice pilaf with the farmers’ market tomatoes and peppers and the specific culinary technique to make a perfect pilaf.
- Look at the incredible rice pilaf ingredients: Brown rice, tomatoes, peppers, arugula, shallot, and veggie stock.
- Start with sweating the shallots in olive oil for about 10 minutes, and then add the brown rice and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, peppers, and stock to the saute pan. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Add the arugula and simmer a few more minutes.
- Fluff the edges of the rice and rest for 10 minutes.
Excerpt from A New View of Healthy Eating: How to Make Rice Pilaf for a Dinner Side Dish
Pilaf is one of the main methods of cooking rice and is popular in Indian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern cuisines. The pilaf method is similar to steaming; however, in the pilaf method, whole grains are first sautéed, often with aromatics (like onions or shallots) before liquid is added, creating a lot of flavor. Pilafs also include extras such as vegetables and toasted nuts or seeds.
Simple Steps to Cook Using the Pilaf Method
- In a sauté pan over low heat, cook mirepoix (carrots, onions, and celery or just onions) in a fat, such as olive oil. Cook on low heat when you do not want to add color to your dish. For more color, cook at a higher temperature.
- Add grains to the pan and stir to lightly coat each grain with the fat. Do not rinse grains before cooking.
- Toast grains by cooking a little more.
- Add a flavorful liquid, such as vegetable stock.
- Stir to make sure grain is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Similar to the whole grains steaming method (PAGE…), bring to boil, cover tightly, and reduce heat to the lowest setting (or cook in oven).
- Cook a little longer than the time indicated for your grain and until all liquid is absorbed into the grains.
- Rest grain for 10-20 minutes.
- Rest for 10 minutes.
Enhance Your Pilaf
To enhance the flavor and texture in your pilaf, add spices, herbs, fresh vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
- After the grains are coated in fat, add dried spices for extra flavor. Try Middle Eastern spices like star anise, cinnamon, and cumin. For a Mexican pilaf, add chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and coriander seeds.
- After the cooked grains have rested, add your favorite cooked veggies, fresh herbs, or toasted nuts and seeds to create a meal.
Quick Brown Rice Turmeric Pilaf
- 1 cup brown rice
- ¾ cup shallots or onions, finely diced
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- Gather mise en place.
- Sweat onions or shallots in olive oil.
- Add rice and sauté until translucent.
- Add turmeric for color.
- Add vegetable stock.
- Bring to boil.
- Cook for 20 minutes.
- Rest for 10 minutes.
If you would like this culinary technique, recipe and more simple ways to cook real whole foods, A New View of Healthy Eating book is now available: