Vegetarian Turkish Pilaf

Sweet, spicy rice dishes with nuts and fruit; Middle Eastern food is some of the absolute best. This is a simple vegetarian Turkish pilaf with sultanas (raisins) and toasted pistachio nuts and sweet spices. I got the idea for this dish from a Lamb pilaf and substituted the lamb for roasted eggplant balls (recipe here). Although they take a little extra effort to make the roasted eggplant really adds a further delicious element to this simple dish. Falafel would work just as well (recipe here) or if you’re short on time simply add tinned chickpeas instead. Hearty, delicious and vegan, serve up this Turkish Pilaf for a special Meatless Monday meal.

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Vegetarian Turkish Pilaf
Preparation time: 25mins (+ optional 80mins to make the eggplant balls) // Serves 4

  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp freshly ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1½ cups long grain rice
  • 2½ cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup pistachio nuts, unsalted & shelled
  • ¼ cup sultanas (raisins)
  • 2 tomatoes cut into wedges
  • fresh coriander (cilantro) to serve
  • 1 quantity of eggplant balls or falafel or 300g (10 oz) chickpeas (cooked or tinned)

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frypan. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat for 3-4 minutes until soft.

Add the spices and cook for a further minute until fragrant.

Add the rice and stir to combine.

Add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes until stock is absorbed and rice cooked; adding more stock if needed.

Meanwhile heat a small frypan over a medium to low heat; add the pistachio nuts and dry roast tossing the pan frequently to insure they don’t burn. Once golden, 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

In the same frypan add a small amount of olive oil and fry the tomato wedges until wilted and lightly golden. Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the rice is cooked add the roasted pistachio nuts, sultanas and eggplant balls (or falafel or chickpeas) and toss until combined and heated through.

Served garnished with tomato wedges and fresh coriander (cilantro).

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