Rachel Reed

Jazzy Farm Pilaf

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rice-pilafAlas, tonight a hankering for brown rice met a compulsion to take advantage of the farm in my backyard. I went out with a basket and came back with some yellow pear tomatoes, kale, pepper, parsley and basil. So I decided to add them to the rice in a pilaf-y sort of way, then top all that with cheese and bake it, in a casserole-y sort of way. I got the idea for sliced almonds from a few sites. I normally don’t cook with nuts and dried fruit, but somehow this dish called out for a touch of crunch, sweet and chew.  Farm ingredients noted in green.

PS–The antioxident lycopene is known to possibly prevent cell damage. It’s classified as a carotenoid (remember chemistry? ugh) and therefore most associated with red-colored fruits like tomatoes, watermelons, apricots. But especially red tomatoes– or so we thought: one recent study suggests we may absorb more benefits from yellow tomatoes than red ones. Jazzy.


  • 1 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, dice
  • 1 small onion, chop
  • 1 c. brown rice
  • 1 tsp. butter (optional)
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 ¼ c water
  • Few handfuls pear and cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 green pepper, cubes
  • 4 leaves curly kale, chop
  • ¼ c. parsley, chop
  • ¼ c. sliced almonds and/or sunflower seeds
  • ¼ raisins or dried pineapple chunks, unsweetened
  • ½ shredded cheese (Gruyere or crumbled goat)
  • ½ tsp Himalayan salt
  • ½ tsp dried ground papaya pepper
  • Fresh parsley and basil leaves, for garnish


Heat olive or sunflower oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, then onion, then tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions and tomatoes start to caramelize (about 6 mins). Stir in butter, cumin, and rice and cook for another minute. Add water and pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer and cover for about 30 mins. Add kale and green pepper on top of rice, don’t stir, return lid, and cook until the rice is tender and the broth is absorbed, another 10 mins. Note, moisture released from the steamed kale makes up for that ¼ cup water you don’t add earlier.

Remove from heat. Transfer to glass baking dish and stir in almonds, fruit and generous pinch of salt and ground pepper.  Top with grated cheese and broil until cheese melts and starts to lightly brown, about 5-10 mins.  Garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley and basil. Consider serving with a side of black beans.