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Pesto Rice Cups

Yield 6 (3/4-cup) servings.
The pesto mixture that flavors the rice in this recipe has the traditional Italian flavors of pine nuts, basil, and Parmesan. But you save on fat and calories by using oil-free Italian dressing instead of olive oil.


  • 1 large sweet red pepper
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes
  • Olive oil-flavored vegetable cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-calorie margarine
  • 1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup commercial oil-free Italian dressing
  • Parsley sprigs (optional)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 208
  • caloriesfromfat 24 %
  • fat 5.6 g
  • satfat 1.4 g
  • monofat 0.0 g
  • polyfat 0.0 g
  • protein 6.8 g
  • carbohydrate 33.9 g
  • fiber 0.0 g
  • cholesterol 4 mg
  • iron 0.0 mg
  • sodium 399 mg
  • calcium 0.0 mg

How to Make It

  1. Cut pepper in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds and membrane. Place pepper, skin side up, on a baking sheet; flatten with palm of hand. Broil pepper 5 1/2 inches from heat (with electric oven door partially opened) 15 to 20 minutes or until pepper is charred. Place pepper in ice water until cool; peel and discard skin. Dice roasted pepper.

  2. Cover sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water, and let stand 5 minutes. Drain.

  3. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add margarine; heat until margarine melts. Add rice, and saute 3 to 4 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add green onions, and saute 1 minute. Reserve 3 tablespoons diced red pepper; add remaining pepper to rice mixture. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; uncover and let stand 10 minutes.

  4. Position knife blade in food processor bowl. Drop garlic, pine nuts, and tomatoes through food chute with processor running; process 5 seconds or until garlic is minced. Add basil and chopped parsley; process 10 seconds or until herbs are minced. Add Parmesancheese, and process until blended. Slowly pour Italian dressing through food chute with processor running, blending until mixture is smooth.

  5. Stir pesto mixture gently into rice mixture, and heat thoroughly. Sprinkle reserved red pepper evenly into 6 (3/4-cup) molds. Spoon rice mixture into molds, packing gently with the back of a spoon. Unmold onto individual serving plates. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.

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