October: Smoked Almond Rice Pilaf

This hearty rice pilaf uses vitamin-rich wild rice, vegetables, herbs and chopped almonds to create a savory dish that goes with anything! The word “pilaf” comes from the Hindi word pulav, which translates into “dish of rice and meat.” The first known recipe for pilaf is from 10th century Persia, and variations can be found all over the world, especially in the region from Spain to Afghanistan.

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Recipe: Cashew Pilaf

Source: Elaine Louie, New York Times Cooking (adapted from Vefa’s Kitchen by Vefa Alexiadou, Phaidon Press Inc. 2009)

Get the recipe here!

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Modifications, Testing and Recommendations: I have made this recipe before, so I wanted to make a few variations to the original. The salted cashews are good, but I prefer something with a bit more crunch and flavor so I used chopped Smokehouse almonds instead and compensated by using less salt. I also had a few stalks of celery that I included with the diced carrot and onion.

You can prepare everything through Step 1 if you are waiting for other people to eat – the final steps take about 30 minutes once the butter starts melting.

I served the almond rice pilaf with baked zucchini slices – check out the recipe from Holly and her Spend With Pennies blog. I’ve been looking for new ways to cook all of the huge zucchinis I have been given this season, and this is a quick and easy side dish that I will definitely remember for next time!

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