Lemon Brown Rice Pilaf from the American Institute for Cancer Research


In its ongoing effort to promote healthy, cancer-preventive lifestyle choices, the American Institute for Cancer Research and author Dana Jacobi create dishes that are good for you and taste great too. This week's entry from the AICR is a lemon brown rice pilaf.

According to Dana Jacobi, we are in the midst of a "rice revolution", characterized by "a strong shift toward eating whole-grain brown rice." Jacobi cites the US Rice Federation in claiming that sales of brown rice have gone up 58 percent in the US between 2006 and 2011.

Jacobi continues:

Since my mother was intelligently nutrition-conscious even in the 1960s, she served only brown rice. Back then, River was the only whole-grain brand supermarkets carried. Unfortunately, compared to polished white long-grain rice from the supermarket, including popular brands like Carolina and Uncle Ben, it was starchy, heavy and tasted slightly bitter. No wonder I pushed it around on my plate and hoped mom did not notice how little I was eating.

Serve this pilaf with grilled or broiled salmon, shrimp or other fish, or roasted chicken. For an almost vegetarian main course, mix in chopped steamed asparagus or sugar pea pods and cubed baked marinated tofu.

Keep in mind, all recipes offered by the AICR have been vetted and approved by a registered dietitian (RD).

Lemon Brown Rice Pilaf

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 lemon slices, 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • ½ medium onion, cut into thin crescents
  • 2½ cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line small baking sheet with parchment paper.

In large saucepan, preferably wider than deep, place 1 teaspoon of oil. Add lemon slices and coat with oil. Arrange coated lemon slices on prepared baking sheet. Set pot aside.

Roast lemons for 20 minutes, or until rind is golden brown in places. Thin sections of slices may blacken. Coarsely chop 2 lemon slices, then set all roasted lemon aside.

Set saucepan over medium-high heat, and add remaining oil. Add rice, stirring to coat grains well. Spread rice to cover bottom of pot and cook until rice is fragrant and lightly browned in places, then starts to crackle, 5 minutes, stirring rice frequently. Add onions and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent, 3 minutes. Pour in broth, add chopped lemon, and bring liquid just to boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer for 20 minutes. Check to see if liquid is needed, adding ½ cup water. Continue cooking, covered, until liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy but still slightly al dente. Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fluff pilaf with a fork.

To serve, spoon rice onto platter or into wide serving bowl and top with remaining lemon slices.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 150 calories, 3 g total fat, (0.5 g saturated fat), 27 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 190 mg sodium.

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