Hello! I feel like I barely know how to blog anymore, but I am here with a delicious baked brown rice pilaf that I have been making for meal prep lately. This pilaf is flavored with pistachios and herbs and a touch of onion and garlic. It’s super delicious!
Baking the brown rice in the oven is perfect because while it bakes, your attention and stove are freed up for making an accompanying dish. I have been pairing it with Moroccan flavors, like my Moroccan vegetable stew, as well as a chickpea stew that I will [try to] post soon.
Definitions of pilaf vary, but one thing they all have in common is that they’re made of a grain that’s cooked with other flavoring agents. Those might be vegetables, spices, broth, or other grains. Basically it’s like making a side dish of rice, but the rice is elevated beyond just plain rice!
Because of all of the oil soluble flavor compounds in onion and garlic, it’s important to saute them first before cooking them in the rice. If you have a Dutch oven, you can make this whole recipe end to end in that. If you don’t, you’ll need to start off in a frying pan and then transfer the contents to an oven safe dish that can be covered for the second part of the recipe. I recently broke my Dutch oven – yes it is possible and no I don’t want to talk about it! – so the last few times I made this, I used the latter option and it’s no biggie!
I’ve seen people add other vegetables to pilaf, but here we keep it simple with onion and garlic. Last but not least, some chopped dates add a sweet note that really brings the dish together. I have some aleppo pepper in my pantry, so I like a little sprinkle of that on top – it’s not spicy, just flavorful, but it’s also completely optional.
Garlic Herb Baked Brown Rice Pilaf
- 1 Dutch oven or, a saute pan + a baking dish
- aluminum foil or tight-fitting lid for baking dish
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white or yellow onion diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 clove garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice (I like medium grain best for this dish)
- 3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cups pitted dates (1.5 oz) finely chopped
- 1/3 cups roasted shelled pistachios roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (ideally flat leaf; leaves and stems both OK)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If not using a Dutch oven: lightly grease the baking dish that you plan to use.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in your Dutch oven or in a pot. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion and salt and stir well. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown slightly, 4-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for another approximately 60 seconds, until fragrant.
- Stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice and bay leaf. If not using a Dutch oven, transfer contents to the prepared baking dish.
- Cover tightly (using foil in addition to a lid, if needed) and transfer to the oven. Bake until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 60-65 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Discard the bay leaf and stir in the chopped dates. Cover and let sit for a few minutes for the dates to soften. Stir in the pistachios and chopped herbs. Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper.