Healthy and Tasty Vegetable Almond Rice Pilaf

I always say there are four steps to healthy eating. First, the smell.  Food has to entice your nose in order to make you willing to give it a try. Second, the appearance. Attractive eye candy appeals to your taste buds; always remember that the eyes eat before the mouth.  Third, the taste. Food has to taste good and  have an interesting texture so you can enjoy the food while, hopefully, taking your time chewing,. Fourth, and last, the benefits.  Food should be good for us.  This vegan rice pilaf fits all of the criteria and it is so colorful that we call it “The Rainbow Rice” at my restaurant.

Vegetable Almond Rice Pilaf

serves 6

1/2      cup olive oil

1          medium onion, finely chopped

1          clove garlic

1/2      teaspoon finely shredded fresh ginger

2          cups basmati rice

1          cup sweet peas, fresh or forzen

1          cup diced carrots, about 1/2-inch cubes, fresh or frozen

1/2     cup chopped dried cranberries

2        tablespoons finely chopped candied orange peels, you can use orange marmalade

1/2    cup slivered almonds, toasted

1        teaspoon turmeric

dash of red pepper

sea salt to taste

-Heat 1/4 cup olive oil and saute the onion for 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and the ginger.  Stir and cook for extra minute.

-Add 4 1/2 cups water, salt, turmeric and bring to a boil.

-Add the rice, stir good and bring back to a boil.

-Cover and turn the heat down to the lowest temperature and cook for 15 minutes.  Turn the heat off but keep the rice covered and resting on the stove for another 15 minutes.

-While the rice is resting, Heat the rest of the olive oil in saute pan.  Add the vegetables, stir and cook for couple minutes.  Stir in the cranberries and the chopped orange peels.  Season with salt and red pepper and cook for another couple minutes.  Turn the heat off and set aside.

-Spoon the rice into deep serving platter.  Spoon the cooked vegetables over the rice and then sprinkle the toasted almonds on top.  Serve and enjoy this flavors and the texture.

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