by Melanie A. Albert, intuitive cooking expert, author, speaker, Founder & CEO Experience Nutrition Group, LLC
This month has been very full with incredible cooking events with Visit Phoenix, Valley of the Sun United Way, and Gregory’s Fresh Market, so today I decided to enjoy a “day of rest.” With a quiet day, I wanted to cook something that would be really quick and easy to prepare and oddly, I was inspired by simple organic brown rice.
Arizona Winter Rice Pilaf
With our Winter Arizona growing season, a few favorites in my refrigerator from Wednesday’s Uptown Farmers’ Market: green garlic, red peppers, beautiful carrots from Steadfast Farm, and fresh arugula from McClendon Select. Plus, I almost always have previously made frozen veggie stock and was happy to still have Hatun Basil Olive oil in my pantry. With these ingredients I created a very simple rice pilaf. You can use this recipe as a guide to cook your own version of pilaf with your favorite veggies and scroll down for the simple steps from my cookbook, “A New View of Healthy Eating.”
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 cups veggie stock
- 2 tbsp basil olive oil
- 1 green garlic
- 1 red pepper
- Handful orange carrots
- Handful arugula
- Few pecans
- Heat saute pan on low.
- Add olive oil to pan.
- Gently sweat green garlic for about a minute.
- Add red pepper and saute for a few minutes.
- Add carrots and saute for a few minutes.
- Pour dry brown rice into the pan. Stir to coat with olive oil.
- Add veggie stock. Stir.
- Cover and cook for about 20 minutes. (Quick video peek.)
- Toss arugula on top of the cooked pilaf. Cover pan. Cook for about a minute.
- Pause and enjoy the beauty of the dish.
- Plate with pecans.
- Mindfully enjoy your meal.
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, 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.
Hope you enjoy cooking a simple brown rice pilaf and share your photos with us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NewViewHealthyEating
Interested in Melanie’s cookbook, “A New View of Healthy Eating“? Buy it now!