Sunday, March 6, 2011

Zucchini Rice Pilaf with Mexican Flavors

I've been way too hot lately which has translated into me being a bad, bad weeknight dinner cook. We had grilled cheese sandwiches one night (delicious), french toast with cinnamon and strawberries another night (again, yum) and lots and lots of popsicles. I should mention that I didn't make any of it. I laid sideways on the couch and read about good healthy cooking in a few much-loved cookbooks instead.

By the time Thursday rolled around I was determined to put something good and wholesome on the table. M rubbed a few filets of snapper with a nice chile powder and grilled them for just a few minutes per side. Meanwhile I was in the kitchen chopping away, whipping up this heavy-on-the-vegetables pilaf. I loaded it with onions, garlic, chiles and lots of little cubes of green zucchini. Fresh super sweet corn kernels got tossed in alongside the heartiness of chewy brown rice and black beans. A hint of tangy mild Tabasco was stirred in and the whole dish was topped off with crunchy pepitas and chunks of avoacdo.

Despite a bit of prep work, the pilaf was simple to make and doesn't require much actual cooking time, particularly if the rice is cooked in advance. It would make an excellent filling for a burrito and could accompany any number of latin-infused menus. 

For 4 servings:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chopped (seeded if you want less heat)
  • 1 medium zucchini cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked long grain brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon tabasco (I used the green one)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pepitas
  • 1 small avocado, diced
Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno. Saute, stirring frequently until the onion is lightly browned and soft. Add the zucchini, season with salt, and cook for a few minutes more. Add the corn, black beans, rice and tabasco. Stir thoroughly until all the ingredients are warmed and cooked through. Taste and season with additional tabasco or salt if needed.

Spoon the pilaf into a serving dish and top with the avocado and pepitas.

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