Despite that bad name it gets from crappy cafeteria food, homemade rice pilaf is a delightful, easy-to-make dish cooked in broth and spices. It is wonderful as a leftover lunch for the next day, with flavors that are even better after a night in the fridge. On top of that it’s gluten free and vegan and filled with protein. I made it the other night with a green salad and pan roasted baby carrots, and my husband loved it.
The original way of making this pilaf is to soak the rice the day before, which entails a little planning – but I have also made this dish without presoaked rice and it is still delicious. The recipe is made for both alternatives (In case you didn’t know, soaking the brown rice prior to cooking releases beneficial enzymes in the grain, and also increases its digestibility. The same applies to other whole grains, such as oats, quinoa or barley).
Thank you to Suzanne Husseini, who I adapted this recipe from.
- • 1 cup (236 ml) du Puy (also known as green/French lentils) or brown lentils, rinsed
- • 4 cups (950 ml) vegetable stock (if rice is presoaked) or 5 ½ cups (1300 ml) stock (for dry rice);
- store bought is fine
- • ¼ cup of olive oil
- • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- • 1 cup (236 ml) brown rice
- • 1 teaspoon allspice (also known as allehånde in Skandinavia)
- • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- • Salt and pepper
- • ½ teaspoon salt
- • 2 onions, sliced in thin rounds
- • Peanut oil, for deep frying
- • 2 scallions, sliced in small pieces
- 1. Pre-soak the rice (optional, but better for your body and health). If you choose to presoak the rice, put the rice in a medium bowl with 3 cups of filtered water and let it stand at room temperature overnight, or for 8-12 hours.
- 2. Rinse the lentils and put them in a medium pot with vegetable stock over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook the lentils to ‘al dente’, or for about 10 minutes.
- 3. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a pan and then add the chopped onion. Sauté over medium-low heat until onions are soft.
- 4. Combine the sautéed onions, soaked rice, into the pot of cooked lentils along with allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover and let it simmer until the rice is fully cooked. Leave the lid on until ready to serve.
- 5. Optional:If you want to save some time you can skip this part and buy store bought French’s fried onions instead.
- While the rice and lentils are cooking, cut the other 2 onions and spread them out on a plate. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for about 5 minutes. Wash the onions with cold water, drain well, and then spin the onions in a salad spinner until dry or pat them dry with a clean dishtowel. 1. Fill a saucepan about two inches high with peanut oil, heat through, and then add the onions to fry until crisp and golden. Use a slotted spoon or chopsticks to transfer the onions to drain on a piece of paper towel.
- 6. Before serving the rice pilaf, toss and mix in with the scallions, and sprinkle the crispy onions on top for garnish.