Spiced Mushroom Pilaf and Pesto
Impress your partner (and yourself) with this one-pot spiced mushroom pilaf, topped with a vibrant green pesto, a squeeze of lemon and crispy onions. A hands off, impressive centerpiece that’s ready in just 40 minutes.
Served with crunchy onions, creamy yoghurt, and zesty lemon, this spicy mushroom pilaf with pesto will take your tastebuds on a tantalising journey. The combination of cool yoghurt and warm rice is what makes this quick and easy dish a winner. Ready in 40 minutes and only 9 steps, it’s the perfect hands-off recipe to serve up on Valentine’s day or pop on your dinner table this week. You can even make it ahead of time all the frills, none of the fuss.
What is pilaf?
Pilaf (or pilau) is a rice dish that is cooked in a broth with spices and vegetables or meat. By cooking the rice in a hot broth you can turn this simple grain into a delicious meal. Cooking the rice in a rich broth, flecked with caramelized onions, garlic roasted mushrooms, and laced with warming spices turns this humble ingredient into something truly special.
The unsung hero: Rice
The secret to a flavourful, aromatic pilaf is making sure that the rice is cooked to perfection. You are looking to achieve a fluffy, hearty rice dish here. Make sure you get it right with these top tips:
- Rinse your rice – By washing rice the before cooking it you are removing excess starch. This separates the grains so that your rice won’t stick together, avoiding a stodgy mess. You can do this by popping the rice in a strainer (with small holes) and running water over it until the water runs clear.
- Not all rice is the same – If you are opting for a brown rice, then remember this will require more cooking time. If you are using an aromatic rice, then soak/rinse it a bit longer to get the aromas to the surface. Make sure you adjust the recipe according to the rice you are cooking for the best results.
- Let your rice rest before serving – To get an even cook and fluffy rice, give your rice the cold shoulder once it’s done cooking. Ignore your rice, and leave the lid on for another 5 to 10 minutes after cooking – resist the urge to stir it. By doing this simple trick you will allow the rice to absorb any remaining liquids so all water is gone before serving.
The great thing about this recipe is that it is adaptable. You can turn it into a vegan/vegetarian dish by substituting the dairy elements for a vegan alternative.
You also have the option of creating your own pesto and crispy onions. Simply follow the recipe for a delicious pistachio and kale pesto that will add depth and freshness to the rich pilaf. For crispy onions, we have developed a super easy air fryer recipe (here) that you can whip up in just 30 minutes. Not only are these easy to make, but taste a lot better than shop bought alternatives. Of course, if you’re looking to make a quick dish you can use store bought items as well (we know life is busy).
If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. And if mushrooms are your thing (or your dates), then find even more mushroom recipes here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this gluten-free?
This dish is gluten free! Enjoy!
Can I make this vegan?
Absolutely! Just make sure to use a plant-based yoghurt, vegan alternative butter, and stock instead.
What are shallots?
Shallots are a variety of onions, with a delicate and sweet flavour. They can be used in place of onions in most recipes. They are slightly more oblong than an onion, and grow in clusters. You can easily find these in the store, usually located with the onions and garlic.
What is cavolo nero?
Cavolo nero is a loose-leafed cabbage from Tuscany, Italy. It is a type of kale, darker and usually cheaper than your normal kale. Use them interchangeably in this recipe.
What is chermoula?
Chermoula is a tasty Moroccan style relish made using fresh herbs. You can use this in place of the pesto in this recipe for a herbaceous flavour.