Vegetable-Pilaf Stacks

James Carrier

"Eye appeal enhances the meal," says Nancee Melin. These vegetable and rice stacks are an example of the fun vertical foods she likes to create. Assemble them through step 4 up to 1 day ahead and chill airtight; bake as directed in step 5.

Yield: Makes 4 servings
Recipe from Sunset

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 285
  • Calories from fat: 20%
  • Protein: 8.7g
  • Fat: 6.4g
  • Saturated fat: 2.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 53g
  • Fiber: 6.1g
  • Sodium: 755mg
  • Cholesterol: 7.8mg

Ingredients

  • 1 package (6 oz.) seasoned precooked dried white rice
  • 2 onions (about 1 lb. total), peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 3/4 pound broccoli florets (about 1 qt.)
  • Salad oil
  • 1 jar (about 13 oz.) canned peeled roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, rinsed
  • Parsley sprigs
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper

Preparation

  1. 1. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, cook rice as directed on package.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, stir onions in butter until limp and just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a bowl.
  3. 3. Add broccoli and 1/4 cup water to pan. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until broccoli is barely tender when pierced, about 5 minutes. Drain.
  4. 4. Remove labels from 4 empty food cans (about 2 3/4 in. wide and 4 1/4 in. tall; 14-oz. to 1-lb. size), each with 1 end removed; wash cans with soap, and dry. Rub interiors of cans lightly with oil and set, open end up and slightly apart, in a 10- by 15-inch pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons hot cooked rice into each can and press down with a spoon to compact and make level. Spoon 1/2 cup broccoli onto rice in each can, then 1/4 cup onions and 1 1/2 tablespoons roasted peppers, spreading each level. Continue to layer all ingredients, packing down with a spoon to compact layers as you add each, ending with rice.
  5. 5. Bake in a 375° regular or convection oven until stacks are hot (about 145°) in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest in cans in pan for 5 minutes. One at a time, invert a dinner plate over each can; hold together and invert can onto plate. With a can opener, cut each can end free; press end down lightly and lift up can to release vegetable-pilaf stack. Lift off can and can end. Garnish plates with cherry tomatoes and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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