Herbed Brown Rice Pilaf from Cooking Light’s Real Family Food Cookbook

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 Looking for a healthy side dish that’s packed with flavor? look no further. With this pilaf , you get a healthy dose of brown rice and lots of veggies.

Herbed Brown Rice Pilaf with Vegetables | www.takingonmagazines.com |   Looking for a healthy side dish that's packed with flavor? look no further. With this pilaf , you get a healthy dose of brown rice and lots of veggies.

Have you ever owned a Jeep? I’m not talking about the Cherokee, Liberty or Compass. I mean the real Jeep. The soft-topped Wrangler.

If it’s not obvious by now, yeah, I’ve owned one. The seed of love for it was planted decades ago by a friend who had a beautiful black Jeep that spent more time covered in mud and topless than, well, than a topless mud wrestler.

That Jeep was amazing amounts of fun. Pull the top off, lift the door off its hinges and point the vehicle in any direction we wanted.  Oh, the freedom and joy of it all.

Ninety-nine percent of the time. You see, there was the time that we decided to head up to Lake Superior from the camp in northern Wisconsin I’ve told you about before. We left around 10pm and it might have been 40 degrees out. Knowing that the next day would be beautiful and warm, we opted to go top-down, doors-off. In order to make it there in a non-popsicle state, we wrapped ourselves in down sleeping bags and wore heavy gloves, then headed north, in the dark, in the cold, at a high rate of speed.

I drove that trip and am not exaggerating when I tell you that my friend had to help unclench my fingers from the steering wheel, they were so cold. Yup, the joy of it all.

You wouldn’t seriously think that the one percent of uncomfortable, searingly hot, bitterly cold, bouncing and jouncing, incredibly loud soft-top flapping sounds; all these things that are Jeep, would keep me away from owning one myself, would you? Nah.

I bought a Wrangler not too long after I moved to North Carolina. It was my joy, my freedom, my independence. Hubby got bit by the Jeep bug as well and we relished trips to the mountains, journeys to the beach and everyday forays around town. Sure, we got stuck in the occasional downpour or burned the tops of our ears because we forgot sunscreen, but that’s expected when one percent exists.

Then we got Dudette’s adoption referral. In the span of a heartbeat, my wonderful, glorious Jeep went from being a source of joy to a potential death trap. As much as I loved it, I had no problem letting go and moving on to a family sedan. Ok, maybe a little problem, but considering the precious little one that was to occupy the back seat, it was nothing.

Brown rice is that way for me. I’ve spent my whole life eating white rice. My parents would buy a 100 pound sack at a time. Ah, the memories of being handed a measuring cup and told to run up to the attic and bring it back full of rice. Again, and again and again. Do you know how wonderful it is to be raised on authentic rice pilaf? Yeah, it’s that amazing.

Then Dudette came along. And I turned 50. At this period of time when my body’s supposed to start not working as well as it used to, I can’t afford for that to happen. I live with a mini nuclear reactor and am expected to keep up with it.

So, changes have to be made. I had to let go of my beloved white rice and move on to brown.

The Verdict

Who knew that so pretty could be so easy.

The vegetables are onion, carrot and celery sauteed in a bit of olive oil. The herbs are fresh parsley, rosemary and thyme (all we need is sage in there….name those artists and their song).

Cooked brown rice meets vegetable combination and, hello, gorgeous.

For those who haven’t cooked brown rice much, you’ll need more water. I usually use a 2:1 ratio (2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice). With brown rice I use a 3:1 ratio. In this case, 3 cups of water to 1 cup of rice.

The Verdict

I’ve had the Real Family Food cookbook for less than a week and I’ve already made this dish twice, once with the null from the same book (they recommend the two together and I heartily agree), and the second to be eaten on its own as my lunch. When I made it with the chicken, Hubby had two servings. It’s that good.

Dudette. Well, Dudette has decided that she wants a Jeep so I think she’s not ready for brown rice yet. She complained about the cooked carrots, the chewiness, the green stuff (which she thought was zucchini). That being said, she ate every bite. There’s hope.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

Double the batch. Always.

Herbed Brown Rice Pilaf from Cooking Light's Real Family Food Cookbook
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Reviewed by:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • ½ cup uncooked brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ⅔ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
  2. While rice cooks, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion, celery, and carrot; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and remaining ingredients. Add vegetable mixture to cooked rice; fluff with a fork. Serve immediately.
What I'd Do Different Next Time
Double the batch. Always.


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10 thoughts on “Herbed Brown Rice Pilaf from Cooking Light’s Real Family Food Cookbook

  • May 26, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Did you know that you have parsley listed twice and left out celery in the ingredients list? I should have read the directions first, but I definitely missed the celery because it wasn’t listed in the ingredients list….

    • May 29, 2016 at 11:41 am

      I did not know! I\’m so sorry about that. I\’ve updated the recipe … thank for letting me know!

  • July 2, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Made this tonight, slight twist I used dried herbs (that’s what I had), and put them in during the sautee. This was SO good!! This will be a repeat! Thanks!

    • July 3, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed it as much as we did and that it can be made with dried herbs! That\’s awesome.

  • Pingback: The Sunday Sip ~ A Giveaway | Taking On Magazines One Recipe at a TimeTaking On Magazines One Recipe at a Time

  • June 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    What a cool website I stumbled upon! Taking on magazines is my chore for the next couple of WEEKS! I want to donate, but who wants a couple hundred Cooking Lights? Hospital or hospice, I guess.

    Going exxploring on your website now. Hope I have a good time!

    • June 12, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Hey Andi. Thanks for your kind words! Don't even tempt me with the magazines! I can't find storage for all the ones I have as is and yet I keep bringing home old issues from places like the library! Like the 2012 issue of Bon Appetit that focuses on pizza that's sitting on my desk right now. :) I hope you're having a good time too!

  • October 29, 2012 at 9:49 am

    You could definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

    • October 17, 2012 at 5:39 am

      So you gave it a try? Very cool! It is fantastic as leftovers. I made full meals out of it.


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