Side dishes just don’t get the credit they deserve. Like an area rug that pulls the room together, a good side dish can take an ordinary meal and really make it shine.
Have you ever noticed that we put as much thought into our sides as we do our mains, but we continue to relegate them to the edge of the plate? It’s time for that to stop. It’s time for side dishes to get their moment in the spotlight.
If you want to get people talking about stunning side dishes, bring our Golden Oat Pilaf to the potluck you score an invite to; it’s going to get some attention. First of all, it’s made with steel cut oats, which most people might not be used to seeing away from the breakfast table. In fact, they might not recognize them at all.
Golden-hued from the turmeric and studded with bright green peas and grated carrot, this pilaf bears little resemblance to your morning porridge. And, no matter what protein you serve it with, or if you choose to serve it as is, its bright colors will look fantastic on the plate.
But, if appearance isn’t enough to convince you, let us assure you that it’s absolutely delicious. Remember, we did promise you something flavorful. This pilaf definitely delivers. Boldly seasoned with shallots, garlic and cumin, it’s got that little something different your potluck needs to shake up the usual menu.
What makes this pilaf a real winner, though, is how easy it is. We’re talking weekday easy. It will cook in the time it takes to grill up some chicken breasts, so you don’t even have to wait for an opportunity like a potluck invitation or a holiday to make it.
It’s as simple as sautéing your shallots, tossing in the rest of the ingredients, and letting it simmer for about 20 minutes. That’s it! The hands-on part of the preparation will only take you about 5 minutes. And that includes getting the bag of peas out of the freezer.
You’ll know your pilaf is ready once the oats are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Then, it’s ready to take its rightful place – in the middle of the plate. Just top it with that grilled, sliced chicken breast or a perfectly fried egg for a delicious, protein-packed meal that is anything but ordinary.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil, (15 ml)
- 2 small shallots chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp turmeric (5 ml)
- 1/2 tsp cumin (2.5 ml)
- 1 carrot grated
- 1 cup steel cut oats (250 ml)
- 3 cups chicken stock or water (750 ml)
- 1/2 tsp salt if using water or no-salt chicken stock (2.5 ml)
- 1/2 cup peas frozen, thawed (125 ml)
- In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, sauté shallots in oil until softened.
- Add garlic and spices and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
- Add carrot, oats, stock or water, and salt (if required).
- Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to med-low and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats have absorbed most of the liquid.
- Stir in peas and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes before fluffing with fork.