Rice Pilaf With Crispy Chickpeas & Cashews

September 20, 2019
11 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin. Food Stylist: Olivia Mack McCool. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This rice pilaf is pretty hard to screw up, but here are a few pearls of wisdom so you can make it perfectly: 1) Ground spices burn quickly, so be sure to only let them bloom for 30 seconds before adding the onion and garlic. 2) Make sure the chickpeas are very dry before putting them into the oven, as this is crucial to achieving a crispy texture. 3) While putting a kitchen towel over a pot of rice might seem like an annoying extra step, know that it’s the best way to ensure the rice will be extra fluffy. —Rebecca Firkser

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup long-grain rice, like basmati or jasmine, well-rinsed
  • 1 cup English peas (frozen or freshly shelled)
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 cup mixed tender herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, basil, and mint, roughly chopped
  • Limes wedges, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Toss cashews with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a big pinch of salt on a sheet pan and toast until deeply golden, tossing halfway through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool and increase oven temperature to 425°F.
  2. Dry chickpeas well on kitchen towels. Spread on the sheet pan and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Bake until crispy, tossing halfway through, 25 to 35 minutes (the drier the chickpeas were when they went into the oven, the crispier they’ll get). Set aside.
  3. While chickpeas bake, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Combine red pepper flakes, paprika, cumin, and turmeric in a small bowl, then stir into the hot oil. Let bloom for 30 seconds. Add onion and garlic, season with salt, and cook for 5 minutes, until the onions are soft. Add the rice, stirring often, and cook until the grains just being to toast, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water and another good pinch of salt, making sure to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Let rice cook for 12 minutes. Uncover the pot, remove from heat, and stir in the peas. Cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel, replace the lid, and let rice steam for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Crush the cashews and stir half of them into the rice along with chickpeas, sour cherries, and half the scallions. To serve, pour rice into a shallow serving dish and top with herbs, and remaining cashews and scallions.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Reno
  • Rebecca Firkser
    Rebecca Firkser
  • Janet Damian
    Janet Damian
  • NXL

14 Reviews

NXL October 24, 2020
Great flavors! I used brown basmati rice, so I let it cook for 30minutes, then steam with towel on top for 10. The recipe does not specify raw cashews, but I assumed that I shouldn't roast again my roasted cashews.
Abby July 29, 2020
So good!!! It's super easy to make as long as you have the Dutch oven! I would have baked the chickpeas at like 400 degrees instead because mine burnt a bit at 425. Still so tasty tho!
Absolutely top with Greek yogurt and Sriracha!
Bread &. October 7, 2020
Anyone have advice for making this without a Dutch oven? It sounds great but all I have is a regular saucepan and I’m worried the rice won’t cook properly.
Abby October 7, 2020
I've made it without a dutch oven and it still worked out perfectly. Just use a larger pot than you normally would for cooking rice and don't forget to cook it with the spices first before adding the water :)
Chaz March 6, 2023
Once the rice/water comes to a boil place a kitchen towel across the top of your pot ( make sure the ends are no where near the burner), turn the heat to its lowest and put the the pit’s lid on tight (with towel between lid and pot) do not open for 15 min. For extra flavor, use chicken or vegetable stock instead of water and sautée the rice slowly in butter ( ? And onion and/or gar?) until just a tiny bit crispy then proceed as usual.
lauren H. October 21, 2019
I love this type of cooking. When I was growing up, we always put yogurt on our rice. Try a big dollop of Greek yogurt on top of this dish. You will love it.
Rebecca F. October 21, 2019
yogurt on rice is wonderful! such a great suggestion.
Reno October 20, 2019
Amazing recipe! Can’t wait to find some cherries to add, but even without it was great! I can see changing it up with different dried fruit and other nuts. I will be making this over and over!
Ilieva October 7, 2019
This was legitimately one of the worst dishes I've made in recent memory. I followed the instructions and was left with a gloopy pile of rice that had a weird mish mash of flavors that did not work well together. Rarely do I throw something out, but this dish was not worth trying to eat or save.
Karen F. November 17, 2019
I'm making it now...lots of work to prep all the ingredients. I cooked the rice for 12 mins then steamed for 10. Rice wasn't nearly done. The package says it needs 40 mins to cook! Sad about this b/c it sounded good on paper!
Janet D. March 29, 2020
what kind of rice did you use? I just made this and it turned out great, however... I did add an extra 1/4 c of water and let it steam a little longer, the Basmati rice I used wasn't done. The flavors and textures were wonderful.
JDS September 30, 2019
I made this last night and it was a hit! I made this with a side of roasted broccolini and my husband, who is a big meat eater, couldn't stop raving about it. Great flavor and textures plus super filling! I can't wait for leftovers for lunch today. I subbed golden raisins for the cherries since I could only find sweetened cherries. Will be making this again soon!
Beth L. September 27, 2019
It was really good. I used brown basmati rice, so my cooking time could have been five minutes longer. Substituted raisins for the cherries, since they are hard to find locally. Will make again.
Karen September 22, 2019
This sounds really delicious and healthy...going to make this one