Garden Rice Pilaf

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Ten minutes + seven ingredients = one flavorful side dish that’s delicious enough for entertaining, yet easy enough for a busy weeknight.


I don’t know about you, but on the nights when I’m scrambling to get dinner on the table by 7:00, a nice side dish is the first item to go. I’m either too hungry to wait, or I don’t have the ingredients on hand. Instead, I’ll just throw together a salad and call it a day.


Recently, however, I discovered these “microwave in 90 seconds” rice pouches in the grocery aisle (yes, I know they’ve been around forever) and they got me thinking. Even when I’m nearing the “hangry” stage I can usually wait another 90 seconds. Deciding to give it a go, I picked up a pouch and headed home. When dinner rolled around, I searched  through my refrigerator for mix-ins and found tomatoes and spinach, two ingredients I always have on hand. Then I went to work. Well…work is a generous word. I mixed stuff together and was pleased with the tasty results. Rice, vegetables, olive oil, lemon juice. Simple and delicious.


What is also great about this dish, aside from it’s quick turn around time, is that it offers a lot of flexibility. You can even turn it into a main entree by throwing in some protein: beans, leftover chicken, etc. For those of you who actually prep ahead and make your grains at the beginning of the week – first of all, props to you – second of all, you can certainly use 2 cups of rice, quinoa, lentils etc. that you’ve prepared yourself. Otherwise, grab a pouch of brown rice, a few handfuls of spinach and some ripe baby tomatoes; your on your way to a flavorful side dish in minutes. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite quick side dish? Let me know or link up below!


Garden Rice Pilaf

Serves: 4

Time: 7-10 minutes


  • 1 “ready-made” pouch of brown rice (or two homemade cups of your favorite grain)
  • 1 tbls. olive oil – you may need a bit more oil for serving if you use homemade rice.
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup halved baby tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tbls. lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion and cook about 3 minutes, or until soft. Meanwhile, microwave rice according to package directions.
  3. Add spinach to skillet and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients – tomatoes, herbs, lemon juice, rice, salt, pepper, and stir to combine. Cook an additional minute, or until heated through.
  5. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger’s So Easy cookbook.


Anne · August 3, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Oh wow this looks really great!

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