Armenian Cheesy Rice 6.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Jan 16, 2017

This spinach-flecked pilaf, rich with halloumi cheese and crunchy from nuts on top, is Middle Eastern comfort food at its best.

The pan you use needs to have a tight-fitting lid.

Serve with a salad if you'd like.

Make Ahead: The rice can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; it might clump when it cools, in which case you should stir in a little water or broth when reheating.

Where to Buy: Find sumac, a lemony spice, in Middle Eastern stores or at well-stocked spice stores.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed in several changes of water and drained
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 3 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth, homemade or store-bought (see related recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more as needed
  • 1 pound 5 ounces fresh spinach, shredded
  • 8 ounces halloumi cheese, shredded (may substitute queso blanco or part-skim mozzarella cheese)
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted (see NOTE)
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, toasted (see NOTE)
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac, for garnish (optional)

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Pour the oil into a large saucepan or deep, straight-sided saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until browned, verging on crispy, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the drained rice and dill, stirring to coat evenly. Add the broth, the lemon zest and juice, and the salt. Stir well, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and add the spinach, working in batches if necessary: Fold some in and let it wilt, then fold in more.

Cover the pan with a clean dish towel and fit the lid on top. Cook undisturbed for 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Uncover, fluff the rice with a fork or wooden spoon and stir in the cheese, parsley and pepper. Taste, and add more salt and pepper as needed. Re-cover with the lid (no dish towel this time) and let the rice rest for a few minutes, so the cheese will melt.

Spoon the rice onto a platter; strew the pine nuts and almonds on top. Sprinkle with the sumac, if desired.

NOTE: Toast the pine nuts and almonds in a small pan over medium heat until lightly browned, shaking the pan frequently to avoid scorching, then transfer immediately to a plate to cool.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Persepolis," by Sally Butcher (Interlink, 2016).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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