Rice Pilaf is an easy side dish that goes with just about anything you’re having for dinner!
Anytime I have an opportunity to add extra vegetables into a dish, I do it. That’s why I’ve always added extra veggies into my rice pilaf. Most of the time rice pilaf is made with diced onion, but I like to bring some red bell peppers, carrots and zucchini to the game.
What is rice pilaf?
Are you familiar with rice pilaf? It’s probably my favorite way to prepare rice, or maybe it’s tied with risotto. Let me fill you in if you don’t know exactly what rice pilaf is.
Rice is considered rice pilaf when it’s been toasted and cooked in aromatics (like the onion and carrot) and then cooked in a seasoned broth.
Toasting the rice gives the finished dish a more complex flavor and cooking the rice in a little bit less liquid gives it a fluffier texture. We also let it rest after cooking which gives it an even fluffier texture.
Tips and Tricks for Perfect Rice Pilaf
It turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks. While on our recent vacation, in addition to a few books I also read a number of magazines. One of them was an issue of Fine Cooking, which had an article on cooking perfect rice pilaf. I took some of their advice and tried the tips as soon as we got home and they brought my normal rice pilaf to an even better level.
- Use long grain rice. I prefer brown rice, but a long-grain white rice like jasmine or basmati are great also.
- Rinse your rice in cold water first. Rinsing removes starch and helps create separate, not sticky, rice grains.
- Toast your rice grains first. Toasting them adds texture as well as flavor. The longer you let them cook, the more complex and nutty the flavor will be.
- Don’t stir the rice pilaf after it boils as this can make the rice sticky.
- Allow the rice to rest before scooping to serve. Again, this prevents it from getting sticky.
Rice Pilaf Ingredients
- long grain rice (I prefer brown basmati rice)
- oil or butter
- onion and other vegetables of your choosing (carrots, bell peppers, and zucchini are used in this recipe)
- chicken or vegetable broth
- salt and pepper
- other seasonings, if desired
Are you ready to give rice pilaf a try? I think you’re going to love this easy and healthy side dish!Print
Perfect Rice Pilaf with Vegetables
Rice Pilaf is an easy side dish that goes with any meal and adding vegetables is an great way to get your family eating more vegetables!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6-8 servings
- Category: recipes
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or avocado oil*
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1 small carrot, diced
- 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large bowl, rinse rice with cold water. Stir with your hands to remove surface starch. Drain through a fine-mesh strainer and rinse again.
- Heat the butter or oil in a large, heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, zucchini, and carrot and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the rice and cook, stirring, until it is lightly browned and smells nutty, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the broth, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 40-45 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, uncover, and lay a folded kitchen towl over the pan, and cover again to hold the towel in place. Let the rice rest for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and towel, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.
*I prefer the flavor of butter, but if you need to keep this vegan or dairy-free, avocado oil is a good substitution.
- Calories: 188
- Sugar: 2.2 grams
- Sodium: 376 mg
- Fat: 5.6 grams
- Saturated Fat: 3 grams
- Unsaturated Fat: 2.3 grams
- Trans Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 31.2 grams
- Fiber: 2.3 grams
- Protein: 3.5 grams
Keywords: rice pilaf
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Here are some more rice side dishes I think you’ll love!