This savoury little gem of a recipe is the result of several competing forces influencing my culinary enterprises: nostalgic (though slightly horrified) recollections of the Rice-A-Roni my brother and I enjoyed as kids; my desire for comfort food that is still nutritionally justifiable; and Conor’s occasional yet forceful insistence that I cook more carbs.
It’s pretty easy to put together and makes an interesting and unexpected side to add to fish, tofu, or your protein of choice, and the flavours are perfect for the cooler months. The occasional crunch from the hazelnuts is fun if you’re a texture fanatic like myself, and toasting the rice beforehand increases that nutty taste. You could substitute a different rice if you’re not a fan of brown basmati, but the cooking time will change dramatically, so just be mindful of that.
Some personal things:
I’ve been so busy with the new job, and Conor and I are moving next weekend, so I apologize for how infrequently I’ll be posting for the next little while. I’ve not only been working full-time and apartment hunting, but commuting two hours each way to work and still doing my normal 1.5 hour workouts every other day. Thankfully, I had this post saved for just such an occasion, but I’ll do my very best to post at least once a week even during this busy time. Thoughts on anything you’d like to see?
Brown Basmati Pilaf with Hazelnuts, Mushrooms, and Thyme
~ Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free, soy free ~
- 1 cup brown basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
- 2.5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large leek, sliced
- 6-8 cremini or chanterelle mushrooms, diced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped and leafy bits reserved
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
- In a small pot, bring your vegetable stock to a boil.
- In the meantime, heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Make sure your pan has a tight-fitting lid.
- Sauté the leeks for about 5 minutes, until soft.
- Add the mushrooms and celery and sauté for another 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat up to medium high and add the basmati rice. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently, to toast the rice a bit. This will enhance the flavour of your rice.
- Add in the vegetable stock, thyme, hazelnuts, and celery leaves.
- Bring everything to a boil – this will only take a moment if your stock is hot already – then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for approximately 45 minutes.