Black rice & spring vegetable pilaf

I love foods when they’re bright in flavor and in color. This starts with a spiced wild rice pilaf and is mixed with fresh asparagus, broccolini and edamame, but feel free to use the vegetables you love most. I’ve been using black wild rice more and more lately (which is actually a grass and not a rice). It makes for a gorgeous presentation, and has the added benefit of being higher in protein than other rices.

The warm nutty rice gets flavored with garlic, cardamom, cinnamon and cumin. In the end the pilaf is topped with a bright pop of mint, lemon, and a cooling yogurt sauce.

serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side.


1/2 cup uncooked black wild rice
3/4 cup edamame
1/2 bunch thin asparagus, tender parts chopped into 1 inch pieces (approx. 1.5 cups)
1/2 bunch broccolini, sliced into 1 inch pieces (approx. 1.5 cups)
2 radishes, sliced thin
2 shallots, thinly sliced (or a small onion)
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (or seeds from 3 or 4 pods)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 tablespoons mint, chopped
squeeze of lemon juice
olive oil

yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
drizzle of olive oil
pinch of salt
1 or 2 tablespoons of water


Soak black wild rice for 30 minutes or up to a day. Cook rice in 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water in a rice cooker (I hit the “brown rice” setting on mine) or in a saucepan for approx. 60 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat butter and add sliced shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add garlic, cardamom, cinnamon, and cumin and cook for 30 more seconds until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir into cooked rice while the rice is still hot so the flavors marry. Set aside.

Mix yogurt sauce by whisking together yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, agave or honey, olive oil and salt. As needed, stir in a tablespoon of water to thin it out.

In a medium saucepan, heat a bit of olive oil and add asparagus, broccolini, edamame (you can add it frozen or thawed), and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are tender, but still vibrant green.

Plate rice and vegetables. Top with yogurt sauce, chives, mint, a squeeze of lemon juice, and serve.


If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. This photo is absolutely gorgeous! That looks delicious. Black rice became one of my favorite things a couple years ago, now I always try to have it in the pantry, specifically for dishes just like this. Going to check out the recipe now 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  2. Such a pretty little dish! I love colorful salads with grains.

  3. Kimberley from on said:

    That is the prettiest pilaf! I can’t wait to get inspired again by spring produce.

  4. Joanne from on said:

    I saw this post over at Healthy Green Kitchen and loved how vibrantly delicious it sounded and looked!

  5. Danguole from on said:

    I love the texture of black rice (and gorgeous spring produce)!

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