Pilaf is a Middle Eastern dish that typically is made with white rice cooked in a seasoned broth. It goes by many different names: polo, pollo, pilav, pilau, plov, pulao, polu, and palaw, etc.. This healthier Pilaf version can be made with either bulgur wheat or Basmati brown rice (for individuals who are gluten-sensitive). Some have told me they like to make it with quinoa; others with farro.* When I ate pilaf in Spain, each restaurant seemed to have a slightly different recipe—one included very thinly sliced carrots which were tasty and colorful—so feel free to be creative.
- 1½ cups uncooked bulgur wheat or basmati brown rice (or quinoa or farro)
- 3 cups of water
- 3 Tbsp mock-chicken seasoning
- 1 medium carrot, sliced thin
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 1 pound white or button mushrooms, sliced thin
- 1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, chopped fine
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp dried parsley
- 1 Tbsp dried basil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
In a medium saucepan, combine water, mock-chicken seasoning, and bulgur wheat (or basmati brown rice, or rinsed and drained quinoa, or farro). Bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer until grains are soft and fluffy, stirring periodically. When cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, spray a frying pan with olive oil and place over medium heat.
Add mushrooms, cooking and stirring until dry. Set aside.
Re-spray frying pan with olive oil. Add white and green onions, carrot, and bell pepper. Cook and stir until soft. Can add a Tbsp of water to steam them softer, if desired.
Add to cooked bulgur wheat (basmati brown rice, quinoa, or farro). Stir.
Add cooked mushrooms. Stir.
Add all remaining ingredients and stir well.
Pour into a large serving bowl.
Can be used as a main course with salad or as a side dish.
Makes about 8 servings.
* Farro is an edible grain that is slightly higher in both calories and protein compared with bulgur wheat. So choose which grain is better for you or use a mixture.
Quinoa is an ancient whole grain that is gluten-free. Be sure to rinse and drain quinoa well before using. Here is a comparison of calories, protein, and fiber for several grains:
Quinoa: 148 calories, 5.4g protein, 3.5g fiber
Brown Rice: 144 calories, 3.4g protein, 2.3g fiber
Farro: 133 calories, 5.3g protein, 4.7g fiber
Barley: 129 calories, 2.4g protein, 4g fiber
Bulgur: 101 calories, 3.7g protein, 5.5g fiber
References (Accessed Feb 2015)