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This fragrant Persian Jeweled Pilaf is dotted with cranberries, nuts & saffron, and made with a protein-packed blend of rice, quinoa & lentils. The perfect quick and light summertime side dish that goes perfectly with some grilled kebabs.
Hey guys, I have a quick and delicious recipe for you today. Have you heard of Persian Jeweled Rice? Fluffy long-grained rice lightly spiced with saffron and dotted with caramelized onions, candied orange peel, vegetables, nuts and dried fruit? It is also called wedding rice, and it’s obvious why it gets the name. Traditional jeweled rice is a labor of love and quite filling.
But, it can also be lightened up, which is what I usually do. I keep the sweet stuff to a minimum because we like our pilaf more savory than sweet. I usually toss saffron-spiced rice with caramelized onions, dried cranberries, a generous handful of nuts and herbs. It is an amazing, flavorful and extremely addictive side.
I have only had pilaf made with rice and it never crossed my mind to try something else. That is, until I came across these Village Harvest Organic Benefit Blends.
If you haven’t heard about Village Harvest, their products are more than just rice, they are about discovering new possibilities at home in the kitchen, or thousands of miles away in the fields. I got to try their three Benefit Blend varieties; Organic Antioxidant Blend, Organic Ancient Grain Blend and Organic Protein Blend.
Each of these Benefit Blends is an amazing mix of organic, gluten-free grains and there are a ton of recipes that you can use them in. The Organic Protein Blend made up of brown jasmine rice, lentils and red quinoa ended up my favorite and I just had to try to see if I could make it work as a traditional pilaf.
And not just any pilaf, a jewel-studded, fragrant Persian Jeweled Pilaf. In lieu of the candied orange peels, I added a splash of orange juice to the cooking liquid and also garnished the pilaf with fresh orange segments. My version of this fragrant Persian pilaf is flavored with saffron and turmeric, and tossed with lightly caramelized red onions, dried cranberries, almonds, pistachios and fresh mint leaves (from my garden!). You can add raisins, grated carrots, cashews, pine nuts, pomegranates or anything else that you fancy or is in season!
This rice and lentil pilaf makes for a quick, easy and light summertime side dish. It goes amazing with hot-from-the-oven vegetable kebabs. It is a complete power meal – vegan, gluten-free and packed with protein! The Benefit Blend turned out an excellent choice for this pilaf and is a healthier alternative to using just white rice; like they say, Something Better Starts Here!
You can shop for all three Benefit Blend varieties at one place here. They are an amazing alternative to white rice, especially if you are trying to broaden your horizons while eating gluten-free. Village Harvest is trying hard to get their products to your favorite store, and you can help spread the word by requesting your store to do so right here.
Here is the recipe for my Vegan & Gluten-Free Protein-Packed Persian Jeweled Pilaf. Enjoy!
- Village Harvest Organic Protein Blend - 1 cup
- Water - 2 cups
- Orange juice - ¼ cup, freshly squeezed
- Saffron - a pinch
- Olive oil - 1 tbsp
- Red onions - ½ cup, thinly sliced
- Turmeric powder - a pinch
- Dried cranberries - ½ cup, lightly packed
- Almonds - ¼ cup
- Pistachios - ¼ cup
- Salt - to taste
- Fresh mint leaves - a few, to garnish
- Orange segments - a few, to garnish
- Take the Village Harvest Organic Protein Blend, water, orange juice and saffron in a deep saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook covered for 20-22 minutes or till all the liquid is absorbed. Keep covered for 5 minutes, then open the lid and fluff gently with a fork. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute till they are lightly caramelized.
- Then add turmeric, dried cranberries and nuts and toss for a few seconds to just warm them up.
- Tip in the cooked grains and toss gently to combine. Season with salt.
- Garnish with fresh mint leaves and orange segments. Serve warm.
- This pilaf can be had as a light meal by itself or as a side along with some grilled kebabs.
Enjoy this delicious, fragrant, protein-packed Persian Jeweled Pilaf as a light summertime side.
I think it will make a great gluten free side recipe for Thanksgiving this year. You can also use fall fruits like pomegranates. It’s going to be lovely, don’t you think?!
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Have you tried Persian Jeweled Rice? Do you try to replace rice in traditional recipes? Do try this vegan pilaf recipe with the unique mixes of gluten free rice and nutritious grains Organic Benefit Blends, and let me know how you like it.
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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.