A healthy recipe for a Middle Eastern spiced whole grain brown rice and lentil pilaf with sweet potatoes and peas. Go ahead and cook the rice and lentil mixture ahead of time to reduce the overall cooking time. Vegetarian and gluten-free.
For the lentil rice pilaf:
1cupbrown rice mixed with lentils(200 g) (long grain brown rice 70 %, brown and green lentils 30%)
2cupschicken broth,preferably organic or homemade, use vegetable broth if vegetarian
1 1/2tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil
2teaspoonsfreshly grated ginger
pinchof cayenne pepper
2small yellow onions,finely diced
1medium sweet potato,peeled, cut into 1 cm pieces (ca 250 g)
1/4cupfrozen peas(30 g)
squeeze of fresh lemon juice,plus more for serving
2or more tablespoons Greek yoghurt
2tablespoonsfreshly coriander leaves and/or mint leaves
2tablespoonspine nuts,lightly toasted (optional)
Bring broth to a boil in a saucepan. Add lentils and rice mixture; return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35-40 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is almost absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat; saute the ginger, garlic, spices and bay leaf, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute or until fragrant.
Add onions, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes
Add the sweet potatoes and water to skillet; cover tightly; simmer, stirring every 5 minutes, for about 15 minutes or until tender. Add the peas and cooked lentil and rice mixture. Stir to combine and cook for about 5 minutes or until warm throughout. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve the lentil rice pilaf into bowls. Drizzle with lemon and top with a spoonful of yoghurt. Garnish with fresh herbs and pine nuts (if using). Serve with an extra wedge of lemon and enjoy!
I used a pre-packaged mix of organic whole grain rice and lentils. You could also create your own version of this by using 140 g whole grain rice and 60 g of brown or green lentils (or a mix).
The rice and lentils mixture takes about 40 minutes to cook, however this step can be done ahead of time to simply the process and also save some time. I cooked mine in the morning and then prepared this dish in the afternoon.
If you want to put in the extra effort, this dish is also nice with crispy fried onions as a garnish. To fry the onions, heat approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add very thinly cut onion rings (from one large yellow onion) and sauté until soft and beginning to blacken, about 20 minutes.