Beetroot Pilaff

Rice can often be an afterthought to a meal – there only to soak up a sauce or make up the numbers. But rice is way more versatile than that. The Persians mastered many rice dishes which featured as elaborate centerpieces to decadent feasts. Both colourful and packed with taste these rices could take hours and hours to create. Here’s a dish which delivers on both colour and flavour that won’t take more than 30 minutes to prepare. Beetroot is like tasty paint and it’s the perfect way to really bring anything to life. In this dish we get the earthy, sweetness of the beetroot, along with it’s vibrant ruby red colour. Delicious!

1 cup basmati rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion (very finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
1 cup beetroot (grated)
1 teaspoon ground baharat mix
salt & pepper
fresh lemon juice (optional)

Cook the rice then leave to cool.

Heat a frying pan with the olive oil then fry the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Add the baharat and stir briefly then add the beetroot and 4 tablespoons of water and fry for a further 4-5 minutes until soft. Stir in the rice well to coat all the grains. Let it warm through then season with salt & pepper to your taste before removing from the heat and serving. I like to squeeze a little lemon juice over at the last minute but it’s not essential.

Serve hot or cold alongside meat or fish.

  • E.S

    I just made this dish, as well as your hummus and the eggplant with spiced tomato sauce and pine nuts. Let’s just say all three were very well received by my girlfriend! Didn’t have any beetroot so I used sweet potato instead, cooked it in the oven in small chunks and it was fantastic!
    ps. I love your blog, will definitely keep coming back for more.

    • leej

      Thanks. Sounds great! I do love the eggplant dish especially. I think I’m going to make it tonight too…

      Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Sheldon

    I am happy to have found your blog, so many interesting recipes to try out. The beetroot pilaf was quite good, but the picture doesn’t do this dish justice. Quite spectacularly red… it would do very well for a Valentine’s Day dinner. I served it alongside your recipe for Georgian meatballs. Fantastic!

    • admin


      It’s hard to get the colour of this dish across in a photo. Never looks as vibrant. Still, glad you enjoyed it.

      I was inspired to make the Georgian meatballs again, it’s been a while!

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