Herb & Pine Nut Pilaf

A simple, low-calorie meal that makes great use of your garden herbs

A tasty & low-calorie meal that makes great use of your garden herbs, this herb and pine nut pilaf is one of those fantastic make-something-out-of-nothing dishes. It cooks easily in one pot, and only needs rice, fresh herbs, stock, nuts and an onion.

Though to have originated in India or Iran, pilaf is a rice dish with a specific cooking method. Namely, it starts with sauteeing onion, adding uncooked rice, then simmering the whole lot in a stock (aka broth).

Substitutions are easy when cooking a pilaf as this is a versatile type of dish. You can make it vegan or vegetarian by swapping vegetable stock for meat-based stock. To make it lower in fodmaps, use the green part of a leek instead of garlic and onion.

Here’s how I make it.

Gather your fresh ingredients- from the garden if you can! This time I’m using parsley, perennial basil and a little bit of tarragon from my backyard. Choose your herbs carefully, and be mindful that you’ll only need a small amount if using strong herbs like dill or tarragon. Chop the onion and fry until it is semi-translucent, then add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes.

Meanwhile, dry-fry your nuts over a low heat until they are toasted (but not burnt).

Add the rice to the pan, stirring to make sure it is all coated with oil. Then add the stock plus salt & pepper and mix well, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat & simmer until the liquid has reduced and the rice is cooked through. Stir frequently so it doesn’t catch.

While the liquid is reducing, chop the herbs. When the rice is just a couple of minutes away from being ready to serve, add the herbs to the pan and mix through. Cook a further couple of minutes.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice (if you like) & a sprinkling of nuts. Enjoy!

Herb & Pine Nut Pilaf

A simple, low-calorie meal that makes great use of your garden herbs
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course lunch, Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 529 kcal


  • 1 large saucepan
  • 1 non-stick saucepan


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large brown or white onion, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cups rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock vegetable or beef stock can be used instead
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 100 grams pine nuts
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Cook the onion, stirring, for 5 mins or until it softened & semi-translucent.
  • Add the garlic and cook a further 3 minutes.
  • Add the rice and mix it thoroughly, making sure it is all coated with oil.
  • Add the stock to the pan, and turn the heat up. Bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until the rice is tender and a couple of minutes away from being ready to serve.
  • In the meantime, roast the pine nuts on a tray in the oven or dry-fry them in a non-stick saucepan. This should take about ten minutes.
  • Add the chives, lemon zest and herbs to the rice mixture.
  • Cook for 2-3 mins or until herbs have softened.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in most of the roasted pine nuts. Squeeze the lemon on and mix through. Season to taste.
  • Plate up and garnish with extra pine nuts & lemon slices.


You can use any combination of herbs that you have on hand; as long as they are tender-leafed herbs such as parsley, mint, coriander, basil, tarragon, fennel or dill.
Remember that every herb combination will have its own unique flavour. As an idea, try parsley+basil+tarragon, coriander+dill+parsley or coriander+mint.
Note that woody or resinous herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage or marjoram might be a bit strong for this recipe. You could throw in a sprig or two into the pan with the rice (or bag it up as is done with a bouquet garni), but these are not the right herbs to chop up & cook into the pilaf.


Calories: 529kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 11gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gSodium: 66mgPotassium: 431mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1301IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Dinner, herbs, Lunch, pilaf, rice, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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