One-pot spring rice pilaf with asparagus and peas is a bright, fresh and easy side dish that’s topped with Parmesan cheese, fresh basil & pine nuts!
PSIsPRING RICE PILAF WITH ASPARAGUS AND PEAS
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I don’t know about you, but spring hits and I’m like, “Gimme ALL the asparagus! And strawberries! And lemon things!”
Oh and also, please give me some sunny, pretty days so I can sit outside and watch the kids run around and feel the warmth beating down on my face. Preferably with some perfectly painted toenails to gaze down upon… OK, now I’m just getting greedy!
But as far as the food goes, yes to the spring produce that’s rolling in! Something about emerging from the winter weather and darkness and having all those bright, fresh, delicious and healthy things pop up gets me giddy.
One of my favorite seasonal combos is asparagus and peas. And basil mixed in for good measure.
(I have a simple side of asparagus with peas and basil with these same flavors!)
But mixing them into this one-pot spring rice pilaf and finishing it with some Parmesan cheese and pine nuts for a rich, nutty finish is just taking it over the top. In a really good way. ?
It’s like spring in a bowl! All the freshness, all the lightness and all kinds of deliciousness.
Plus, this side dish goes great with so many dishes – grilled or baked chicken, roasted fish or pork chops. It would be super yummy with my 3-ingredient easy balsamic pork tenderloin.
A few notes on this spring rice pilaf:
- You need to get the slender asparagus for this. Those huge thick stalks won’t steam up quickly enough in the pot during the end of the rice cooking time. If all you can get ahold of are the big stalks, I’d suggest steaming or sautéing them separately, until tender, and adding them in at the end with the peas.
- Parmesan cheese for serving is kind of a must here in my opinion. However, you could use nutritional yeast to make this vegan.
- Don’t skip the basil either. Such a great hit of freshness at the end and pairs so well with the veggies.
- Pine nuts, however, are optional. I’ve made it both ways and while they add a great nutty flavor and a good crunch, the rice pilaf delicious even without them. They can be super expensive, so don’t feel like you have to buy them just for this dish.
I’m wishing you lovely, long spring days and easy side dishes like this spring rice pilaf.
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/4 cups brown rice
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 bunch thin asparagus trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch long pieces
- 1 cup peas thawed, if frozen
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted (optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.
- Add rice and stir to get it mixed with the onion and coated in the oils.
- Add chicken or vegetable broth, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add trimmed asparagus on top of the rice in the pot then cover and cook another 10 minutes.
- Uncover, add peas, then turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Stir peas and asparagus into the rice and season pilaf with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and basil.