A New View of Healthy Eating: Daily Healthy Recipes by Melanie Albert: Arizona Winter Brown Rice Pilaf

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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

  1. 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.
  2. Add grains to the pan and stir to lightly coat each grain with the fat. Do not rinse grains before cooking.
  3. Toast grains by cooking a little more.
  4. Add a flavorful liquid, such as vegetable stock.
  5. Stir to make sure grain is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Similar to the whole grains steaming method, bring to boil, cover tightly, and reduce heat to the lowest setting (or cook in oven).
  7. Cook a little longer than the time indicated for your grain and until all liquid is absorbed into the grains.
  8. Rest grain for 10-20 minutes.
  9. Fluff.
  10. Rest for 10 minutes.
  11. Serve.


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!

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