‘Never-Fail, Always Delicious’ Armenian Rice Pilaf

Update – – Yes – rice IS gluten free !!    As are pine nuts (pinola nuts) !!

I found this delicious recipe for Armenian Rice Pilaf many, many years ago in the Providence Journal when we lived in Rhode Island – and it’s been a BIG favorite with my family and guests ever since.

As the title suggests, this Rice Pilaf comes out perfectly every single time.  I think there’s two secrets as to why – hot broth is added to browned-in-butter rice, pine nuts and a bit of angel hair pasta .  The other ‘secret’ is, after the rice pilaf is fully cooked, the pan is taken off the heat, and paper towel is placed over the uncovered pan for 10 minutes, resulting in fluffy, buttery rice pilaf ‘to die for’ !!

Moroccan Chicken - - myyellowfarmhous.com

Follow this to Moroccan Chicken Tangine.     https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2015/02/03/moroccan-chicken-tangine-with-sweet-potatoes/

INGREDIENTS & METHOD       Serves 4 – 6     Can be prepared ahead.

  • 1/2 stick butter  (4 Tbs.)
  • 1/2 cup crushed angel hair pasta     ++  Regular spaghetti is fine
  • 1/3 cup pine (pignoli) nuts
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling chicken broth –  OR  –  2 1/2 cups boiling water and 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • Recipe does not call for salt – there’s already salt in the chicken broth.  If you wish, you may add some salt and pepper. 

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup crushed angel hair pasta and 1/3 cup pine (pignoli) nuts.  Slowly stir until golden.    ++  The butter may foam up – that’s totally fine!

++ Watch carefully, you don’t want to burn the pasta and pine nuts!

Armenian Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pine Nuts - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Armenian Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pne Nuts - - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com


Add 1 cup rice – stir until thoroughly coated with butter.

Add 2 1/2 cups boiling chicken broth  – OR  – 2 1/2 boiling water and 1 bouillon cube.  Stir quickly with a fork – cover pan and lower heat.

Armenian Rice Pilaf - - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until all broth is absorbed and rice is fully cooked.  ++  If, by chance, rice is still a bit hard after 20 minutes  –  add a bit more hot water to pan and continue cooking a few more minutes.

Once rice is fully cooked, remove pan from heat.  Gently fluff rice with a fork.  Cover with paper towel for 10 minutes, which absorbs any extra moisture so the rice pilaf is extra fluffy.  ++  Be sure paper towel isn’t near a heat source!

After 10 minutes, fluff rice again with fork and serve.  Enjoy !!

++  Recipe can easily be doubled.
++ I often prepare a double batch of Armenian Rice Pilaf early the day of a party and store it (covered) in the fridge.  When I’m ready to serve, I add just a tiny bit of warm water and rewarm the rice, covered with waxed paper or plastic wrap, in the microwave.

Moroccan Chicken and Rice Pilaf - - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Gratin with Toasted Pine Nuts

++ This can be prepared GLUTEN FREE  !!

++  UPDATE – – EVEN BETTER WHEN MADE A DAY AHEAD !!      I just discovered that the next day the flavor of the roasted red peppers and cheddar cheese is infused throughout and the cauliflower is lovely & creamy !!  It tastes a lot like a very special version of Mac & Cheese.

It amazes me, now that I’m actually paying attention, how many fabulous recipes can be found which are healthy AND delicious.  Not only am I losing weight in my effort to eat healthy, I also have a lot more energy.  LOOK OUT WORLD !!

If you think you don’t like cauliflower, this may be the recipe to change your mind !  This is NOT your mother’s (or grandmother’s) ‘boiled all to hell’ cauliflower.  A light cheese sauce graces the roasted cauliflower with loads of flavor and there’s a tiny bit of heat from the cayenne pepper. And, except for garlic salt with herbs, there’s no salt in this recipe.  (This was my dinner last night, that’s how much I enjoyed this dish.)


  • 7 cups cauliflower, cut into pieces 2″       ++ Uses 1 head of cauliflower, with perhaps a bit leftover
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1/4′ strips
  • 1 – 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. flour      ++  For ‘Gluten-Free use 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt with parsley      ++  Or garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt-free seasoning      ++  I like ‘Mrs. Dash – Garlic & Herb’
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 14 – 1/3 cup pine nuts       ++  a.k.a. pinola nuts        ++  You could also use walnuts or pecans
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 1/4 cups 2% milk      ++  I used 1% & that worked fine!
  • 1 1/4 grated Cheddar cheese

SET OVEN AT 425 (F)       TOTAL COOKING TIME – 25 MINUTES    (10 MINS, THEN 15 MINS.)                                           

Mix together cauliflower pieces, red pepper strips and 1 – 2 Tbs. olive oil.

Roasted Cauliflower Gratin with Toasted Pine Nuts

Spread vegetables evenly on baking sheet with sides.  

Roasted Cauliflower Gratin with Toasted Pine Nuts

Roast veggies in a 425 (F) oven for 10 minutes.  While cauliflower is roasting, toast pine nuts and prepare cheese sauce.

                                       Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper – After 10 Minutes

cooked -Roasted Cauliflower Gratin with Toasted Pine Nuts


In a small (ungreased) frying pan over medium heat toast pine nuts, shaking pan occasionally, until nuts become lightly browned.


In a small bowl mix together 1 Tbs. flour  (For ‘Gluten-Free use 1 Tbs. cornstarch), 1/4 tsp. garlic salt with parsley, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp. salt-free seasoning and 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once butter is melted, add the flour and spices.  Whisk together and cook, stirring with whisk, for about a minute. 

Slowly add 1 1/4 cup milk and continue whisking until mixture is well blended.  Continue to simmer sauce for 4 – 5 minutes if using flour, whisking occasionally.  ++  If using cornstarch, the simmering time will be less.   ++  If sauce becomes too thick when using cornstarch, add a bit more milk.

REMOVE SAUCEPAN FROM HEAT.  Add 1 1/4 cup shredded cheese and whisk until cheese sauce is smooth.  Add toasted pine nuts.

Remove baking sheet from oven after 10 minutes.  Using a spatula, gently turn the partially cooked cauliflower and red pepper strips.  Drizzle cheese sauce slowly over veggies.

Return baking sheet to oven and roast for another 15 minutes, or until tops of cauliflower are nicely browned.  Serve & Enjoy !!

Roasted Cauliflower Gratin with Toasted Pine NutsRoasted Cauliflower Gratin with Toasted Pine Nuts