Perfect Vegetarian Side Dish: Rice With Peas, Pistachios & Dill

When it comes to sides, more often than not I choose potatoes. Occasionally, however, another carb strikes my fancy. That's exactly what happened when I saw a recipe for Persian Dill Rice on In My Bowl. After all, dill is one of my favorite herbs: perhaps it has to do something with my Russian upbringing.

When I looked at the recipe, I knew I was going to change at least a few things in it.
1) Instead of frozen lima beans I used frozen peas
2) There was no way I was going to cook dill: I added it at the very end
3) I did not soak rice for an hour because I did not plan that far ahead
4) I used less oil
5) I added pistachios and lemon zest as a garnish

Perfect Vegetarian Side Dish: Rice With Peas, Pistachios & Dill
Ingredients for ~ 4 servings
2 cups basmatti rice, rinsed
3 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon saffron, soaked in 1 tablespoon hot water
salt & pepper to taste
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup chopped pistachios, or more
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, or more

1. In a pot, add rice and water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer covered for about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and all the water has evaporated.
2. After 10 minutes of cooking the rice, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and saute frozen peas seasoned with salt and pepper for about 8 minutes or until they are no longer frozen.
3. Once the rice is cooked, add the remaining olive oil into it and fluff it with a fork.
4. In a large bowl, combine the rice, the sauteed peas and the saffron with its water.
5. Season with salt and pepper and serve topped with lemon zest, pistachios and dill.

What a beautiful side dish!! You can do something similar with roasted asparagus. Leftovers are great as a base of a cold rice salad: add tomatoes, olives and grilled shrimp and you have a full meal.