Black Rice & Spring Vegetable Pilaf

Asparagus, broccolini & edamame are mixed with a black rice pilaf to make a healthy spring entree. Herbs & a lemon yogurt sauce top this gluten-free dish.

I love foods when they’re bright in flavor and in color. This recipe 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.

Black Rice & Spring Vegetable Pilaf

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 as a main, 4 as a side
  • ½ cup uncooked black wild rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced (or a small onion)
  • ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder (or seeds from 3 or 4 pods)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ bunch thin asparagus, tender parts chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 1.5 cups)
  • ½ bunch broccolini, sliced into 1-inch pieces (about 1.5 cups)
  • ¾ cup edamame
  • 2 radishes, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • Squeeze lemon juice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
For the yogurt sauce:
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons water
  1. Soak the 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 about 60 minutes, until water is absorbed and rice is tender.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and add the sliced shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the 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.
  3. Make the yogurt sauce: Whisk together the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, agave or honey, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. As needed, stir in a tablespoon of water to thin.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat a bit of olive oil and add the 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.
  5. Plate the rice and sautéed vegetables. Top with the yogurt sauce, sliced radishes, chives, mint, and a squeeze of lemon juice and serve.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Danguole from

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

  2. Joanne from

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

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

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

  5. 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.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.