Middle Eastern pilaf

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PREP TIME

20 min

TOTAL TIME

55 min

Makes

4 to 6 servings


Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil , or butter
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 carrots , grated or finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp hot-red-chili-flakes , optional
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp allspice , or ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup dried, split green peas , or brown lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth , or water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 to 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain rice , such as basmati
  • 1/2 300-g bag spinach
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts , toasted pine nuts, or almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots , raisins, currants or dried cranberries

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or pot that can go into oven. Add onion, garlic, carrots and spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place peas in a sieve and wash under cold running water. Drain. Stir into onion mixture along with broth and orange juice. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt if using vegetable broth, or 1-1/4 teaspoons (6 mL) salt if using water. Bring to a boil. Then stir in rice.
  • Cover tightly and bake in centre of 350F (180C) oven until peas are tender and liquid has been absorbed, from 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, remove stems from spinach and discard. Wash spinach and drain. Tear or cut into small pieces. You should have about 4 cups (1 L). When rice is ready, drizzle with lemon juice.
  • Stir until mixed, then stir in spinach, peanuts and apricots. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to soften dried fruit and wilt spinach. Serve with steamed carrots.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 263,
  • Protein
  • 9.4 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 47 g,
  • Fat
  • 4.8 g,
  • Fibre
  • 4.4 g,
  • Sodium
  • 366 mg.

Wendy James, grower and seller of medicinal plants, is a Saskatoon vegetarian who packs lots of flavour and texture into her pilaf. Fragrant with cinnamon and spices and filled with colourful vegetables, this is one of the best vegetarian dishes we have tasted.