Fiesta Veggie Rice

from Pescan, A Feel Good Cookbook

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, diced
1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed and drained well
½ (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 carrot, thinly sliced into coins
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1¾ cups vegetable broth
¾ teaspoon kosher sea salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over medium heat until hot, about one minute, then add the onion. Sauté until soft and translucent, about two minutes. Add the rice and stir continuously until the grains smell nutty and appear translucent and lightly toasted on the tips, about three minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates, about three minutes more. Add the carrot and celery and stir.

Pour in the vegetable broth and add the salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and paprika. Stir to dissolve the spices. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, or until the grains are tender and most of the water is absorbed. If there is excess water at 45 minutes, leave the lid off and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

While the rice cooks, placed the peas in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir once and allow the water to cool.* When the rice is done resting, drain the peas and fold them into the rice, fluffing rice with a fork as needed. Remove the bay leaf. Garnish with the cilantro and serve immediately, or cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or three months in the freezer.

Serves 6.


*I found this step unnecessary. I thawed the peas while I was making this dish, and then stirred them in at the end, heating through. This worked just fine.