Amazing flavor exudes from each serving of Chickpeas and Basmati Pilaf with Dried Cherries and Pistachios. Served as a meatless dish, it provides the best flavors.
Basmait and chick bea rice

Chickpeas and Basmati Pilaf with Dried Cherries and Pistachios
Recipe type: Grains
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 3 to 4
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal 1/3-inch thick
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaped) ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaped) coriander
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (about 8 ounces), diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • salt
  • 1 Cup Basmati rice
  • 2 Cups boiling water
  • a generous pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 Cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne (or more to taste)
  • 3 Tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 Cups toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • lemon juice, to taste (optional)
  1. Place the carrots in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add enough olive oil to coat along with the spices and toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast in a 425 degrees F oven until tender and browned in spots, stirring once—about 25 to 30 minutes. Set the vegetables aside until ready to assemble the pilaf and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  2. While the vegetables roast, warm 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid over moderate heat. Add the onions along with a pinch of salt and cook until they are tender and beginning to caramelize (20 minutes or so). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant—about a minute.
  3. Add the saffron to the water and keep hot.
  4. Increase the heat under the onions to medium high and add the rice along with a generous pinch of salt. Continue to cook for a 2 minutes or until the rice is well-coated with oil and has begun to turn opaque. Add the water and bring to a full boil. Season with salt, reduce the heat to low, cover and transfer to a 350 degrees F oven. Cook for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter the cherries over the surface of the rice.
  5. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  6. While the rice is resting, warm a tablespoon of oil to a medium sauté pan. Add the chickpeas and cayenne and heat through. Return the roasted vegetables to the oven to heat through.
  7. Transfer the rice and cherries to a large bowl. Add the carrots, chickpeas, pistachios, and parsley. Toss until everything is well combined.
  8. Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. If the pilaf tastes flat, add a squeeze of lemon. Serve accompanied by some plain yogurt. Serves 3 or 4 as an entrée.


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