Orzo and Brown Rice Pilaf 6.000

James M. Thresher for The Washington Post

Nourish Jun 24, 2009

Supermarket shelves are full of ready-to-cook pilaf mixes. They're convenient but loaded with sodium, not to mention the taste of powdered garlic and bouillon cubes.

In this recipe, the key to keeping the prep time simple and short is quick-cooking brown rice. To boost the nutritional value, flavor and texture, the dish begins with a saute of diced onion, sweet bell pepper and carrot, followed by the addition of lentils and orzo.

I prefer it to the mixes; see what you think.

I used Uncle Ben's quick-cooking brown rice, but any brand will do as long as it is not labeled "instant" rice.

Serve with grilled pork or salmon or chicken.

Servings: 6 - 8
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small (2 ounces) carrot, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small (2 ounces) onion, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 medium (2 ounces) red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup brown or green lentils
  • 1/4 cup dried orzo pasta
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quick-cooking brown rice, such as Uncle Ben's


Heat the oil in a 2- to 3-quart pot over medium heat.

Add the diced carrot, onion and red bell pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, until the vegetables have softened; adjust the heat as needed to keep the vegetables from browning.

Add the chicken broth, then increase the heat to medium-high so the broth comes to a boil. Add the lentils and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, then add the orzo and freshly ground pepper to taste. If the broth tastes flat, add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Add the brown rice and stir to incorporate. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

Fluff the pilaf with a fork before serving.

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Recipe Source

From "Nourish" columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.

Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.

E-mail questions to the Food Section.

E-mail questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.