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cara cara pilaf with almonds & pistachios

by Jackie Newgent  |  December 23, 2012  |  0 Comments

(Click on photo for full-size image!)

Makes 2 servings: 3/4 rounded cup each

Some people might be surprised to hear that I approve of culinary shortcuts … at least on occasion! However, I am particular about what those quick picks are. For me, it still needs to be 100% natural. One fast fix that I’m a fan of is 90-second brown rice. That sure beats the 50 minutes that this whole grain food usually takes. But then I take this fast side and stir simple yet lovely accents into it. Here, it makes it seem like you spent an hour preparing an enticing dish, not just a few minutes! The Cara Cara, which is also known as a red navel orange, has ruby red pulp like a grapefruit but tastes extra sweet, providing fresh flair for the pilaf. The almonds and pistachios balance its sweetness with distinctive flavor, texture, and overall appeal. The result … an exceptionally nice rice. Enjoy!

Calories Saved: 30

1 (7.4-ounce) Lundberg Organic Short Grain Brown Rice Heat & Eat Bowl or 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed Cara Cara or navel orange juice
1/2 teaspoon grated Cara Cara or navel orange peel (zest)
1 scallion, green and white parts, very thinly sliced or minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons sliced natural almonds, pan-toasted (or try Wonderful Almond Accents–sea salt & cracked pepper flavor)
20 unsalted roasted pistachios

  1. Prepare the rice according to package directions.
  2. Transfer to a medium bowl and immediately stir in the orange juice, zest, scallion, and salt while rice is steaming hot. Stir in the almonds and pistachios, and serve

Per serving: 230 calories, 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 300mg sodium, 39g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 4g sugars, 5g protein


The “Before” Recipe

instant orange rice pilaf

adapted from recipe at

Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup salted butter
1 cup diced celery
3 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon grated orange peel (zest)
3 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups uncooked instant rice

  1. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the celery, onion, and zest and sauté until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the orange juice, 1 1/3 cups water, and the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice, cover, remove from the heat, and let stand 10 minutes to complete the cooking process.
  2. Fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.

Per serving: 260 calories, 12g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 30mg cholesterol, 420mg sodium, 34g total carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 2g sugars, 3g protein

Tasteover Tips

  • It’s okay to take culinary shortcuts from time to time; but when you do, go natural—like choosing brown instead of white rice
  • Add interest to plain picks by choosing unique produce when available, like cara cara orange instead of a typical navel orange
  • Instead of adding richness by way of greasy butter, consider reducing (or omitting!) the butter and adding nuts, like almonds and pistachios–my two favorite culinary nuts
  • Add a pop of color to an otherwise bland looking dish by using scallion in place of yellow onion, when appropriate

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