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Give Your Rice Pilaf A Middle Eastern Touch With This Recipe

There’s a great divide between plain rice and pilaf, which can be much more flavourful…..

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This rice pilaf is far from sad, plain and boring, with the flavour combos really pulling it off. Made with ingredients and embellishments like pomegranate molasses and pistachios, it’s been given an extremely tasty Middle Eastern twist. And with sneaky, healthy additions like courgettes and butternut squash slices, it’s perfect for the entire family, especially kids who turn away from veggies. Here’s how to make the fluffy and fragrant dish that will have everyone asking for more.

Middle Eastern Rice Pilaf With Roasted Vegetables
Serves 6

* 2 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1cm (‘hin) cubes
* 2 red onions, cut into wedges
* 2 courgettes, sliced
* 2 garlic cloves, sliced
* 300g packet prepared butternut squash slices
* 1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
* 2tbsp olive oil
* 125g (4oz) brown basmati, Camargue red and wild rice
* 125g (4oz) red lentils
* 45g (11/2oz) pistachios
* 100g (31/2oz) pomegranate seeds
* l tbsp coriander leaves
* 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

1. Heat oven to 200°C or Gas Mark 6. Place the sweet potato, onion, courgette, garlic, butternut squash and pepper in a large roasting tin. Drizzle over the oil. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once.

2. Place the mixed rice in a pan, cover with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes until rice is tender. Drain off any excess liquid. 3. Meanwhile, cover the lentils with boiling water in a pan and cook for 15 minutes until just tender, and then drain.

3. Tip the rice into the roasting tin with the lentils. Stir to combine and scatter over the pistachios, pomegranate seeds and coriander, to serve. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses.

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