Brown rice pilaf with beets, feta & spring onion 


125g brown rice or wholegrain basmati

1 red onion

300g tomatoes

200g beetroot

about 3 tbsp good olive oil

1 tsp finely chopped medium-hot red chilli

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

300ml chicken or vegetable stock

sea salt and black pepper

1 x 200g block of feta cheese drained on kitchen paper


a handful of snipped dill

3 spring onions trimmed and thinly sliced

dressed crisp green salad of your choice

● Soak the rice in cold water while you prepare the vegetables. Peel and chop the onion; coarsely chop the tomatoes discarding the cores; trim, peel and halve the beetroot and slice thinly.

● Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion for 7-8 minutes until lightly golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chilli and tomatoes and fry for a minute or two longer until starting to soften. Stir in the beetroot, then add the balsamic vinegar and simmer to reduce it by about half. Drain the soaked rice, add to the pan, pour in the stock, season and ensure that everything is submerged. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook over a low heat for 45-50 minutes until it appears dry. Leave to stand for 20 minutes; the rice will continue to absorb liquid.

● About halfway into resting, heat a small nonstick frying pan over a medium heat, add a splash of oil and fry the block of feta for 5 minutes until golden and crusty (it turns gooey initially but then crisp). Carefully turn using a spatula, scraping the crispy bits on top, and cook for another 5 minutes.

● Scatter the dill over the pilaf and gently mix in. Break up the feta with a fork and serve dotted over the pilaf. Scatter with spring onions and serve with green salad on the side.