This Turkish rice pilaf with tomatoes and greens is one my favorite recipes. The tart flavors of sumac, lemon, and greek yogurt go perfectly with the savory sautÃ©ed onions and greens. Plus, this recipe comes together in one pan making it a simple weeknight staple!
Other Mediterranean recipes
I like to layer some basic flavors in the pan before I add my rice, starting with sauteing some onions with sumac to create wonderful patina in the pan. Then, when deglazed with the tomato juices and stewed with garlic, bay leaf, fresh thyme, and red chilies sets up a base of flavor for the rice to soak up when cooking.
Adding some chopped greens also adds great texture and substance in this dish, plus it's healthier! Traditionally, this Turkish uses spinach but I don't limit myself to that. You can use any greens that you have around, since I often grow kale, collards, mustard greens, and beets in my garden, I will use those greens instead. It will change the flavor slightly, but pretty much any greens will work well.
My version of this recipe is vegetarian, but if you are vegan you can easily leave out the yogurt-lemon sauce. However I would recommend serving it with a good squeeze of lemon!
Some other great rice dishes to try
Turkish Rice Pilaf with Tomatoes and Greens
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 white onion, (sliced thinely)
- 2 teaspoon sumac
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, (minced)
- 1 tsp red chili, (such as thai pepper, minced)
- 4 cloves garlic, (minced)
- 12 oz canned chopped tomatoes
- 3 cups greens, (such as spinach, collards, or kale, chopped roughly)
- 1 cup long grain rice, (jasmine or basmati)
- 2 cups boiling water
- salt and cracked pepper (to taste)
Yogurt Lemon Sauce
- 1 clove garlic, (minced)
- 1 lemon, (juiced)
- 2 tablespoon greek yogurt
- salt, (to taste)
- fresh mint, (for topping)
- Start by bringing a large saute pan or sauce pan to medium heat and add the olive oil, onions, sumac, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute the onions for about 5 minutes or until lightly translucent.
- Next, add the bay leaf, thyme, red chili, garlic, and tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes reduce slightly. Then add the chopped greens, cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes and then stir the wilted greens into the sauce.
- Add the rice and boiling water, season with a pinch of salt, and bring back to a boil. Then cover the pan and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, keep the lid on the pan and turn off the heat and let sit for about 5-10 minutes to steam. Uncover and fluff the rice.
- While the rice is cooking make the yogurt lemon sauce. Combine the garlic, lemon juice, yogurt and salt and mix well. Serve on top of the rice pilaf with some chopped mint.
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