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America’s Healthy
Cooking Teacher

Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions

This is a lovely way to serve a whole grain side dish. Against the backdrop of mildly flavored rice, the rich, caramelized onions steal the show.

Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredient List: 

extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, thin half-moon slices
sea salt
mirin or white wine
4-5 slices fresh ginger, fine matchstick pieces
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small parsnip, finely diced
½ cup unsweetened organic almond or soy milk
½ cup pecans, lightly oven-roasted, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, lightly pan-toasted
2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
brown rice vinegar
2-3 fresh green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

Step By Step Instructions: 

Place about 2 tablespoons oil and red onion in a skillet and turn heat to medium. When the onions begin to sizzle, add a generous pinch of salt and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add a generous sprinkle of mirin to the onions and reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to caramelize, as long as 20 minutes…or longer.

While the onions cook, place another 2 teaspoons oil in a skillet with ginger, carrot, parsnip and a generous pinch of salt. Turn heat to medium and when the vegetables begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté. Add milk and simmer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in pecans and pumpkin seeds, just to coat with oil. Add rice, a generous splash vinegar and stir to combine ingredients. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with caramelized onions. Serve garnished with green onion slices.

Cook’s Tip: If you prefer to cook without wine or mirin, simply substitute with sparkling apple juice.