Potato Rice and Grain Recipes

Quinoa, Bhutanese-Red-Rice and Lentil Pilaf Salad with Leeks, Carrots and Herb Vinaigrette

This is a recipe from an old cooking demonstration. It involves good knife work, the pilaf method of preparing grains, infused oils and a sense of timing.  It results in a tasty and filling salad in all a good teaching recipe. The idea comes from Labensky and Hause, On Cooking, much modified here.  To save time and energy, we are going to prepare the rice, quinoa and lentils separately on the stovetop and finish them together in a 400F oven.  This salad is served at room temperature, but can be served hot.  Of course, each of these recipes can be prepared and served alone.

Caution:  This recipe calls for not one, but three saucepans in and out of a 400F oven.  It is strongly recommended that you leave a hot pad on the handle of a saucepan after placing it on the range or counter top from a hot oven.  Even pro’s forget that a pan sitting out innocently may have a blazing hot handle.

Quinoa, Bhutanese Red Rice and Lentil Pilaf Salad with Leeks, Carrots
and Herb Vinaigrette

Yield:  12-15 servings as a side dish

See Abbreviations, if needed

·   1 C     quinoa pilaf (see recipe)

·   1 C     red rice pilaf (see recipe)

·   1 C     lentil pilaf (see recipe)

·   ½ C    carrots, finely diced (brunoise), blanched

·   ½ C    leeks, finely diced (brunoise), blanched

·   5 oz    herb vinaigrette (see recipe)

·   S/P     to taste

1.  Place 1 cup of lentils in 5 cups of water in a saucepan and let soak for one hour

2.  On the stovetop, prepare the quinoa, red rice and lentils in separate saucepans

3.  Preheat the oven to 400F

4.  When all three are ready, bring each to boil and then place them all in a 400F oven

5.   Bake for 17 minutes and remove from the oven and test for doneness, let cool

6.   While the grains and lentils are in the oven and are thereafter cooling:

·   Neatly very-small-dice the carrots and leeks, blanch separately, chill shock, drain and set aside

·   Make the vinaigrette and let stand to infuse the oil with the herbs

7.  With all the ingredients at room temperature, mix the quinoa, rice, lentils, leeks and 3/4ths of the carrots together in a large bowl

8.  Add the strained vinaigrette and toss

9.  Add S/P to taste.  (It will likely need additional salt)

10. Spoon the salad nicely into a large serving bowl

11. Garnish the top with the rest of the carrots


Quinoa [KEEN-wa] is a popular grain in South American cuisine.
(See Orzo and Quinoa for more background information.)

Quinoa Pilaf

See Abbreviations, if needed

Rule:  1 part quinoa and 2 parts liquid (1:2)

·   1 C  quinoa

·   4t     butter

·   1      medium sized shallot (or small onion), finely chopped

·   2 C  chicken stock or canned broth

·   1t     thyme leaves

·   1t     freshly ground pepper

·   1t     salt (much less if using canned broth)

1.  Preheat oven to 400F

2.  Rinse and strain quinoa

3.  Sauté shallots in butter to translucent in a small saucepan

4.  Add quinoa and coat grains with the butter

5.  Add chicken stock, thyme leaves, salt and pepper

6.  Stir and BTB

7.  Cover tightly and place in oven for 17 minutes

8.  Remove from oven and let cool

Bhutanese Red Rice

Lotus Foods, a purveyor of premium rice, available at Dean & Deluca, describe their Bhutanese Red Rice as an “ancient, natural colored-bran, short grain premium rice with a nutty and earthy flavor.” It is grown in the high mountain paddies of Bhutan, the Himalayan neighbor of Nepal. This rice has a soft texture and a unique red russet color, says Lotus.

Of all the major plant foods, Davidson, in his Oxford Companion to Food, complains that rice is the most perplexing in its classification and nomenclature.  In color alone, we have white, purple, red and black.  Davidson says that the red rice of Asia is either ordinary polished rice, dyed red or unpolished rice with color.  It appears that this stuff is indeed natural colored bran.  That is, an unpolished rice whose bran coating has a very red hue.

Anyhow, its neat stuff and tastes and looks delicious. We are going to make it in the same manner as the Basmati rice pilaf, but rinse and drain the red rice first.  (See Rice Pilaf  and Basmati Rice for more information.)

Bhutanese Red Rice Pilaf 

See Abbreviations, if needed

Rule:  1 part rice and 1.5 parts liquid (1:1.5)

•   1C      red rice or any long grain rice

•   ½       onion, diced

•   1T      butter

•   1.5C  chicken stock or chicken broth

•   3        bay leaves

•   S/P     to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400F

2. Sauté finely chopped onions in butter to translucent in a small saucepan

3. Add cup of rice and coat the grains with the butter

4. Add chicken stock, bay leaves and S/P. (Don’t salt if using canned chicken broth.)

5. Bring to boil

6. Cover tightly

7. Place in oven for 17 minutes

8. Remove from oven, remove bay leaves and let cool


Lentils are dried legumes and not grain, but we will press on regardless. Lentils are quite rich in flavor, so for this salad we will not include veggies or herbs but rather relay on those attending the rice, quinoa and vinaigrette.  There are three main varieties of lentils and each has a slightly different cooking time, so a taste-test is required.

Lentils Pilaf

See Abbreviations, if needed

·   1 C     green, red or yellow lentils

·   5 C     cold water

·   2t       salt

1.  Place the lentils in a sieve and rinse and pick over

2.  Turn them into a saucepan and pour in the water and let soak for 1 hour

3.  Preheat the oven to 400F

4.  Pour out and reduce the water level to one inch above the lentils

5.  Add the salt and bring to boil on the stovetop

6.  Turn off the burner and skim off any surface scum

7.  Cover and place in the oven along with the grains

8.  Remove lentil pan from the oven and taste-test.  The lentils should be crunchy but not at all brittle.  Return to the oven if not done

9.  Drain the cooked lentils and let cool

Herb Vinaigrette

(See Vinaigrette for background information)

See Abbreviations, if needed

Yield:    About 6 oz, strained

·    3 T    seasoned (with sugar) rice vinegar

·    1 T    mustard

·    2 T    herbs de Provence or your own mix of basil, parsley, thyme, sage, etc.

·    S/P   to taste

·    9 T   EVOO

1.  Combine the ingredients and blend until smooth with a stick blender,

standing blender or food processor

2.  Let stand for 20 minutes to infuse the oil with the herbs

3.  Pour the vinaigrette through a strainer to remove the crunchy

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