We eat a lot of rice at our house, so I’m always looking for tasty new ways to serve it up. I wanted to add some green veggies to our rice, but I all I readily available was a little bit of fresh spinach and some frozen peas. I thought about doing a fried rice, but soy sauce and ginger wasn’t going to go with the lemon butter snapper I had in the oven, so I decided to do a rice pilaf.
Pilaf (also pilau) is a rice dish that involves cooking the rice in broth, and adding spices, veggies, or meat. I did not cook the rice in broth, but instead used a shortcut with frozen, precooked brown rice. Frozen rice is a HUGE time saver!
I skipped the celery I usually use, and instead added chopped fresh spinach, peas, some onions, and toasted slivered almonds, and gave it a gentle “stir fry” in olive oil, herbs de Provence, finishing with a splash of Worcestershire sauce instead of soy, skipping the eggs that would usually go in a fried rice. Herbs de Provence is a nice blend of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano and is a great way to season chicken and fish as well as cooked veggies. It is easily found in the spice aisle at your local grocery store.
The result was delicious and flavorful without being overpowering and was a perfect side dish to the fish I made. This dish is also easily customized with your favorite seasonings and ingredients.
Brown “Fried” Rice Pilaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced sweet yellow onion
3 cups cooked and cooled brown rice (frozen works great)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt to taste
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/3 cup slivered almonds
Toast the almonds in a dry, nonstick pan over medium heat just until the turn golden brown and start to smell toasted. Be careful to not burn them! Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat and add the chopped onion, cooking until they are translucent and just starting to turn golden. Add the cooked rice, and stir to incorporate into the onion and oil. Season with salt, then add the peas, stir again, and season with the herbs. Stir-fry the rice, peas, and onions until the rice and peas are heated all the way through, adjusting the heat if needed. Add the Worcestershire sauce, toss to mix, then add the spinach, toss, and remove from heat. The spinach will continue to cook/wilt in the hot rice. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve immediately.