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Brown rice and almond pilaf recipe {gluten-free}


Some people make fluffy, puffy, splendiferously perfect rice. I don't seem to have the gene for it. Whenever I attempt stove-top rice, I underboil, overflow the pot, or just, somehow, end up with very blah rice. My life changed forever when I bought my first rice cooker, a $19 model I found at an Asian grocery store. Since then, I've upgraded several times; my current cooker, a three-cup Microcom, makes the best rice (brown, white, jasmine, basmati, whatever you feed it), and it sings a little song when the rice is cooked. I've branched out a bit, too, and used the rice cooker to make quinoa, barley and oatmeal. This recipe for brown rice and almond pilaf, made in the rice cooker, combines typically bland brown rice with sweet caramelized onions, garlic, and toasted almonds. The rice on the bottom of the cooker develops a bit of a brown crust which, when mixed back into the rice, gives the texture of a paella. If you have a richly-flavored vegetable broth in the pantry, swap that for chicken broth to make this a vegan side dish.


Brown rice and almond pilaf recipe

From the pantry, you'll need: brown rice, onion, olive oil, garlic, chicken broth, almonds.

Serves 4.


1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 cup brown rice
2-1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken broth
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Kosher salt, if needed
Large pinch of fresh black pepper


Place the onions and olive oil in a small, nonstick frying pan over very low heat. Cook, shaking the pan or stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, until the onions are quite soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic, and cook for one minute more. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the rice cooker, place the brown rice, and fill the cooker with chicken broth to the one-cup mark for brown rice (or add 2-1/2 cups of broth if there's no marking on your rice cooker). Stir in the onions and garlic, and turn the cooker on.

While the rice is cooking, toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until they start to brown. Remove the pan from heat, and set aside.

When the rice is cooked, stir in the toasted almonds. Taste, and season with salt (if needed) and black pepper. Close the rice cooker and let the pilaf sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Black bean and brown rice burrito
Vegetable fried rice
Lentils and brown rice
Slow cooker lentil and brown rice soup with preserved lemons and garlic sausage
Chicken or turkey fried rice

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Indian lemon brown rice, from Lisa's Kitchen
Creamy brown rice, broccoli and apple salad, from Poor Girl Eats Well
Easy brown rice casserole with turkey Italian sausage and green pepper, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Brown rice salad with cumin and lime vinaigrette, from Pinch My Salt
Mushroom and brown rice casserole, from Annie's Eats

Add this brown rice and almond pilaf to your Thanksgiving menu. From The Perfect Pantry.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


This pilaf looks wonderful, Lydia ... gene or no gene! ;-) Red onions and slivered almonds make this a definite for me. :-)

Any adjustments need to make this on the stove?

Shirley, the onions give the rice so much flavor. You'll love it.

Kelly, great question. Follow the instructions on the rice package for how long to cook and how much water to use; the rice cooker uses a bit less water, and takes longer to cook. Otherwise, the recipe will be the same.

I'm trying to learn how to make brown rice in my rice cooker and it's always either undercooked or a gummy mess. Thanks for the post - I try it on my next go round.

Oh, I need to try this! I've been trying to develop a "taste" for brown rice, but plain brown rice is so blah! This sounds like a great way to make it more interesting.

I love my rice cooker too, but I've never made this type of pilaf in it; great idea!

Kate, this rice comes out perfectly cooked, with a bit of a crust on the bottom that gets folded back into the rice. It's delicious!

Patsy, I feel exactly the same way. Cooking the caramelized onions in with the rice gives it all kinds of flavor.

Kalyn, the rice cooker does such a beautiful job on brown rice.

I love my rice cooker and have also been branching out and using it for more pilaf type recipes - adding this to my collection to try.

Jeanette, I can't believe that for years and years I used my rice cookers only for cooking rice! I use mine for quinoa all the time, and also for more dishes like this one -- rice with mix-ins.

Years ago, my younger brother bought a rice cooker for our sister and other brother. He bought us something different since we lived in France and he didn't want to give us an electrical appliance. We laughed and teased and made fun of the silly rice cookers - I mean, its just boiling rice! But since then everyone I know who has one just raves about it! And now you! And you have cooked this beautiful rice. The recipe sounds and looks so delicious. I'll make this this week but sadly without the rice cooker.

Jamie, this will be delicious on the stovetop (though of course I want you to buy a rice cooker some day). It's the onions that make this dish special, and if you're better with rice cooking than I am, you'll love the result.

This looks delicious. I would mix in some raisins, maybe even soak the raisins in wine several hours prior to using. And it may seem odd, but I think a touch of cinnamon would be great on this.

Laura, raisins and cinnamon would be nice touches that would make the rice more sweet, pairing well with some dishes and not with others. It would be great with any type of tagine, I think.

funny I always cook the rice in my rice cooker and THEN add the flavorings - it never occurred to me to add the flavorings AS it cooks. Genius! thanks !

I love to cook brown rice in my rice cooker. One tip I use is to pre-soak the rice for an hour before I put it into the cooker. It helps the rice come out better. Otherwise, the ratio of liquid to rice in your recipe seems to be perfect. I'll have to try this out. It looks delicious!

silly question

when you say 1 cup of brown rice
do you mean the cup that came with the rice cooker OR an actual 1 cup measuring cup ??

thanks :)

Carol, I think you'll really like cooking the flavorings right in with the rice.

Wendy, I never presoak, but I'm going to try that to see how the result differs. Thanks.

Alison, not a silly question at all! If your rice cooker came with a measuring cup, use that. If it didn't, use an actual 1 cup measure, with 2-1/2 cups of water. Most rice cookers do come with a plastic measure, which is less than one full cup, but corresponds to the 1-cup markings on the cooker.

Regular salt is just fine,kosher salt is an industrial salt used in koshering(removing blood from meat). Chefs(and me) like it because it stick to the ingredients and doesn't melt as easily. Thus it's not suitable for most other aplications,unless you like to taste small chunks of extruded salt.

Cooks all sorts of rice:

Whether you actually eat white rice, brown rice sushi rice or other kind of it utility rice cookers are of numerous kinds and can cook every one. Process is the same so much differs is the formula you provide to it at the start. THAT IS ALL! One can find traditional rice cookers after which you can there are computer operated cookers. They enable anyone to cook all kinds together with flavors of rice present these days in an efficient if you're not speedy way.

I made this tonight to go along with chicken cordon bleu. It would have been AMAZING had I not put way too much "Better than Bouillon" chicken base (stock) in the water ... ugh. Totally my fault. But had I not been lazy and measured, it would have been perfect (plus Better Than Bouillon should be in every kitchen - best stuff ever). My tip: Sample the chicken stock/broth before tossing it in, and don't add salt until you've tasted the rice. So it was a wee bit salty - HOWEVER - I will absolutely make this again. The color it attains when finished is a rich, deep golden. Smells heavenly. And the almonds are a MUST - the nice crunch they add is wonderful. Don't let the simple ingredients fool you - this tastes fab when done. Love that it's done in the rice cooker (wouldn't do it any other way) -- less to fuss with. :)

Worked with white rice. I just toasted the almonds in the oven on a baking sheet. Broil to bake. Just moved the almonds around a few times

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