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What's for Dinner: Easy Vegetable Rice Pilaf

Friday, July 11, 2008

While I love cooking healthy foods from scratch , I prefer simple one-pot meals. I recently concocted a delicious dish that I think is as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the taste buds.

I ran across a "Harvest Pilaf" blend in the bulk bins at Whole Foods the other day. It looked so good and colorful, and the price was right (about $2.50 per pound). The blend of dried rice and legumes contained basmati rice, wild rice, French lentils (both green and red), and split peas (both yellow and green). These foods are rich in plant protein, fiber, and healthy carbs, plus they're filling to boot. And the instructions looked simple enough: Add 1 cup pilaf to 2¼ cups boiling water. Stir, cover, and simmer for 45-50 minutes. I picked it up and was ready to experiment!

Here's how I cooked it (I made a twice what the directions above called for):
  • In a big pot, cook minced garlic (2 cloves) with 1 onion (chopped) in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent.
  • Add the water, bring to boil.
  • Add the Harvest Pilaf mix, cover and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, I cut 2 medium carrots into "matchsticks," washed and chopped 2 bunches of Swiss chard that I picked up at the farmers market a couple days earlier, and chopped some fresh tomatoes from my tiny garden . Since these vegetables need very little cook time, I just set them aside. While the food cooked, I was free to do other things—talk about multitasking!

After 45 minutes was up (and the water was mostly absorbed), I simply placed the carrots, chard, and tomatoes on top of the pilaf, put the lid back on, and set it aside, allowing the heat and steam in the pot to lightly cook the veggies for 5 minutes. Then I stirred it all up so that the veggies would get a little more heat from the mixture, and let it set another 5 minutes. Voila! This needed a bit of salt and pepper for flavor since there were no other seasonings added, but ended up tasting great.

Although 1 hour of cooking sounds like a lot to many people, I find easy meals with little prep work (like this one) to be worthwhile. It was delicious, healthy, and extremely filling—plus I cooked enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

This is a formula that you usually can't go wrong with: cooking garlic and onion, adding other grains, legumes, veggies, or whatever you wish (pine nuts, raisins, and cheese would have all made tasty additions to a dish like this) and cooking, seasoning with salt or your favorite seasonings. Think about the ways you can add some flavor and nutrition to similar meals that you might cook yourself!

Check out more of my recipes here: recipes.sparkpeop

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
EMILY-THE-GOOD 4/15/2010 6:15AM

    Sounds really tasty!

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STEPFANIER 1/20/2009 5:21PM

  dyn-o-mite! emoticon

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MTHEART33 8/1/2008 8:29AM

    This sounds very tasty and easy. I am going to have to try it. Thank you for sharing it with us. emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/1/2008 8:27:52 AM

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GMCHETHANA 8/1/2008 2:35AM

  Instead of using a open pot, you can use slow rice cooker. The rice cooked openly doesn't cook very well when oil is added. If you cook it rice cooker, it will get cooked very well and takes very less time also emoticon

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DEBLAPERRIERE 7/30/2008 3:10PM

  I don't have a Whole Foods near me is the brand name "Harvest Pilaf"?

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EMERALD71 7/15/2008 12:38PM

    I'll have to try it. This recipe sounds easy and good! Thanks for sharing

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GRAHAMALAN 7/15/2008 5:53AM

  my goodness nic it was tasty

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JDGONZALES 7/15/2008 5:27AM

    this sounds so good! thanks for the tips!

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JOCO50 7/14/2008 5:27PM

  Wow, a complex amount of flavors cooked simply, thank you for this recipe, I'll be trying it tonight.

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BADDJAN 7/14/2008 10:28AM

  Sounds and looks great....will have to try this recipe. Thank You.

Comment edited on: 7/14/2008 10:27:09 AM

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BSHOWELL 7/14/2008 9:09AM

    Hmmm I think I might have to try this!

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JACKIE4019 7/13/2008 11:29PM

    This would be great made in the crock pot.

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N2KEEPINGITREAL 7/13/2008 6:42PM


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JOYCEFROMPA 7/13/2008 6:01PM

    This is a meal I'm going to make I know it will be a winner with my DH. Joyce emoticon

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PHREEWHIRLED 7/13/2008 1:38PM

  Sounds tasty. I might have to try something like that. It is always good to find veggie foods.

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TEACHERNANA 7/13/2008 12:01PM

    Yummy, I want to try this one out. thanks. Rena'

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NANA724 7/12/2008 3:03PM

    Thanks that sounds good. emoticon

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MARTINIGAL413 7/11/2008 10:28PM

    Thanks, Nicole! Sounds great!! I'm ready to try this next time I head to WholeFoods (which better be soon, since it's right next to my gym!).

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KIMBERLINA2 7/11/2008 9:45PM

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I shop at Trader Joe's, and hope to find this or a similar blend there.. My daughter has recently gone Vegetarian, so now looking for some new yummy recipes for her that will give her the protein she needs.. Hope to make this soon! emoticon

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COLEMANSR 7/11/2008 9:44PM

    Great, thanks, looks good. I'll try it.

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DIANKAY 7/11/2008 9:38PM

  This sounds great. Some of my favorite things. I'll have to try it soon.

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KARICHELLE 7/11/2008 6:12PM

    That looks really good! I love rice and veggie based dishes. The harvest pilaf by itself sounds pretty good too. Did they have nutrition info on the bin for logging purposes?

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FALLENEIRA 7/11/2008 6:04PM

    Thx for the's looks really good...I might have to dry it for dinner tonight though I don't have any swiss chard, but I do have a lot of Spinach :D

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KARALVS2SCRAP 7/11/2008 5:29PM

    Wow- sounds great! Thanks for sharing!

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RUNNINGSLOW 7/11/2008 5:29PM

    Looks awesome...I'll have to look for that at Whole Foods the next time I am there.

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BELLACUDDLES 7/11/2008 5:22PM

    Hi--WOW--does that sound really good--all the veggies and rice pilaf! It is making me hungry--gotta go cook my brocolli to go with my chicken dish tonight! Thanks for that great recipe!
Barbara emoticon emoticon emoticon

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