Baked rice was on of my favorite side dishes when I was a child. Back in the 70s, packets of pre-seasoned rice mixes weren’t nearly as popular as they are today, and many foods were made from scratch instead. Forget about the excessive amounts of salt and dried out veggies in the packaged mixes, this version gives you loads of healthy veggies and real food ingredients.
Plus you save money because you likely already have all the ingredients in your fridge!
1/2 cup onion, chopped finely
1/2 stalk celery, chopped finely
1/2 carrot, peeled and chopped finely
1 garlic clove, minced
1 thai chili, seeded and minced finely (optional)
1 lemon, zested
3/4 cup long grain white rice
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup tiny peas
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
handful of chopped almonds (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350 F
In an oven proof Dutch oven over medium heat, melt about 1 tbsp butter. Add the onions, celery, chili, and garlic and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the carrot and continue to sauté another 2 minutes longer.
Add the rice to the pot, stirring and cooking about a minute before pouring in the chicken broth and zesting the lemon over top. Bring the mixture to a boil before covering with a lid and putting the pot in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven, then stir in the frozen peas, parsley, almonds, and thyme. Put the lid back on the pot and allow it to sit for a few minutes. The heat from the rice will thaw the peas and warm them through, and the cold peas will cool the dish a little.
Tip: make this a meal by adding garlic shrimp or chicken