Middle Eastern Rice Pilaf

The Beginnings Of This middle eastern rice dish came from a Turkish recipe that included the green lentils and chickpeas. I changed it up a little and came up with a nice variation that goes well with any chicken dish. With the lentils and chickpeas, this middle eastern rice pilaf with makes for a nice vegetarian main dish. It can also be served cold with plain yogurt.

1/4 cup dried green lentils

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas

3 Tbs olive oilmiddle eastern rice pilaf

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

1 tsp sugar

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup long grain white rice

1/2 cup orzo

1 Tbs ground cumin

1 tsp red pepper (optional)

2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium to low heat.  Add the onion, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook gently for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender.  Take the cover off and add the lemon juice.  Stir over medium to high heat until the onions are browned.

Add the rice and orzo and cook, stirring for 2 minutes, or until lightly toasted.  Add the lentils, chickpeas, cumin and red pepper.  Pour in the chicken stock.  Cover and cook the middle eastern rice pilaf for about 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.  Stir in the parsley and let set for a few minutes.  This recipe is a nice variation of the traditional pilaf that we all know and love.  I hope you enjoy this version of middle eastern rice pilaf with your next meal and make this healthy rice pilaf with lentils for your family.

Nutritional value

Lentils, raw (dry weight)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,477 kJ (353 kcal)
60 g
Sugars 2 g
Dietary fiber 3.1 g
1 g
26 g
Thiamine (B1)

0.87 mg

Riboflavin (B2)

0.211 mg

Niacin (B3)

2.605 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)

2.120 mg

Vitamin B6

0.54 mg

Folate (B9)

479 μg

Vitamin C

4.4 mg

Trace metals

56 mg


7.54 mg


122 mg


451 mg


955 mg


6 mg


4.78 mg

Other constituents
Water 10.4 g

Link to USDA Database entry
  • Units
  • μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
  • IU = International units
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

In a 100 g serving, raw lentils provide 353 calories and a rich source of numerous essential nutrients, particularly dietary fiber and protein supplying 122% and 52% of the Daily Value (DV), respectively, (table). Micronutrients in high content include folate (120% DV), thiamin(76% DV), phosphorus (64% DV) and iron (58% DV) (table).

With 26% of total food content from protein (table), lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% versus 31%).

The low levels of readily digestible starch (5%), and high levels of slowly digested starch (30%), make lentils of potential value to people with diabetes.The remaining 65% of the starch is a resistant starch classified as RS1,as a high-content resistant starch, which is 32%amylose. A minimum of 10% in starch from lentils escapes digestion and absorption in the small intestine (therefore called “resistant starch”).

Lentils also have anti-nutrient factors, such as trypsin inhibitors and a relatively high phytate content. Trypsin is an enzyme involved in digestion, and phytates reduce the bioavailability of dietary minerals. The phytates can be reduced by soaking the lentils in warm water overnight. enjoy these in a healthy rice pilaf soon.

[thanks to Wikipedia for the information]

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