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Lemon Brown Rice Pilaf

November 9, 2017Recipes, Sides

Rice pilaf makes a great summer side dish. Whole-grain basmati rice is light and nutty and packed with cancer-protective fiber. Roasting lemon slices caramelizes the fruit’s natural sugar and imparts bright, citrus flavor on the rice. Plus, research has shown that including a variety of fruit in your diet can help lower risk for cancers of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, lung, stomach and lung.


1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

6 lemon slices, 1/4-inch thick

1 cup brown basmati rice

1/2 medium onion, cut into thin crescents

2½ cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line small baking sheet with parchment paper.

In large saucepan, preferably wider than deep, place 1 teaspoon of oil. Add lemon slices and coat with oil. Arrange coated lemon slices on prepared baking sheet. Set pot aside.

Roast lemons for 20 minutes, or until rind is golden brown in places. Thin sections of slices may blacken. Coarsely chop 2 lemon slices, then set all roasted lemon aside.

Set saucepan over medium-high heat, and add remaining oil. Add rice, stirring to coat grains well. Spread rice to cover bottom of pot and cook until rice is fragrant and lightly browned in places, then starts to crackle, 5 minutes, stirring rice frequently. Add onions and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent, 3 minutes. Pour in broth, add chopped lemon, and bring liquid just to boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer for 20 minutes. Check to see if liquid is needed, adding 1/2 cup water. Continue cooking, covered, until liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy but still slightly al dente. Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fluff pilaf with a fork.

To serve, spoon rice onto platter or into wide serving bowl and top with remaining lemon slices.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 150 calories, 3 g total fat, (0.5 g saturated fat), 27 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 190 mg sodium.

Recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research.