When I was a child, warm rice with cool yogurt was one of my most comforting dinners. This beautiful recipe can be made quite quickly using staple larder ingredients and, if fresh herbs are not readily available, dried versions work just as fine. The chickpeas with the rice are a well balanced combination nutritionally, and in terms of texture, the herbs lend their delicate freshness, the peppers give colour and vitamin C for better absorption, while the coolness of the soy yogurt brings it all together in a wonderful symphony of flavour.
Chickpea Rice With Pimentos, Fresh Herbs & Vegan Yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 red pimentos finely sliced
500g long grain parboiled rice*
1.5 cups of dry white wine
1/3 cup fresh spearmint, finely chopped (or mint)
2tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
3tsp heaped vegetable stock powder
2 jars or tins of chickpeas, drained
1.5 litres boiling water
Juice of one lemon
Natural plant based yogurt & sweet paprika to serve**
🌶 Heat the vegetable broth in a large deep pan and add the onion. Cover and steam – sauté over low heat for 5 minutes.
🌶 Add the sliced peppers and the rice and stir. Increase the heat to medium high and pour in the wine. Continue to stir until most of the wine has been absorbed.
🌶 Add the spearmint, the dill and the vegetable stock powder and mix well with a wooden spoon. Gently stir in the chickpeas.
🌶 Add the water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the water has been absorbed.
🌶 Turn off the heat, mix in the lemon juice and check the seasoning.
🌶 Place a cotton cloth over the pan and then place the lid on top. Set aside for 10 minutes. This absorbs any excess steam and prevents the rice from going soggy.
🌶 Serve with a dollop of your choice of natural yogurt and a sprinkle of sweet paprika.
* Parboiled rice might sound as if it has been pre-cooked, but in reality, it hasn’t. It is treated quite differently from other types of rice, resulting in a rice which is a better source of fibre, calcium, potassium and vitamin B-6 than regular white rice.
Unlike brown and white rice, parboiled rice is soaked, steamed and dried as a complete grain, before the hull is removed. The steaming enables the rice to absorb all the nutrients from its hull, without pre-cooking it, which means it will still need 20 minutes to be boiled.
Adding beans such as chickpeas alongside carbohydrates, such as rice, enables the body to prevent blood sugar spikes and energy crashes. Throwing in some vitamin C, like the peppers, ensures ultimate absorption of iron and other nutrients found in the beans.
**The yogurt can also be replaced by a dollop of hummus.