Thursday, May 31, 2007

Basil and Parmesan Rice with Pine Nuts

Over the long holiday last weekend I had some friends over for dinner, and this was one of the things I tried out on them. My friends are so nice about eating my experiments, even the ones that turn out to be not quite blogworthy. Luckily that wasn't a problem with this dish. It's a continuation of the theme of Parmesan and pine nuts that worked out so well on the stir-fried green beans, but with the wonderful addition of chopped fresh basil stirred in right before serving. This wouldn't be worth eating with dried basil, but when you have fresh basil in your garden, it's delightful.

You may not realize that basil is considered one of the World's Healthiest Foods, but the flavonoids and volatile oils in basil have both been proven to have health benefits. The flavonoids have anti-bacterial properties, and the volatile oils have anti-inflammatory effects. Basil also contains vitamin A, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. Fresh basil should be added at the very end of the cooking process for maximum flavor. Basil can be frozen, which means it makes good sense to grow your own and preserve it to keep that basil flavor going all winter.

Basil and Parmesan Rice with Pine Nuts
(Makes 3-4 servings, recipe adapted from

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 T olive oil
1 C long-grain white rice (use Uncle Ben's Converted Rice for the South Beach diet)
2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup or more fresh basil, finely chopped

In heavy dutch oven type pan, brown rice in olive oil over high heat for 2-3 minutes, until rice is starting to look slightly toasted. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. (Stock will spatter when it's added to the hot pan, so be careful.) When stock starts to boil lower heat, cover pan with tight-fitting lid and simmer 20 minutes. After that much time, check to be sure all the liquid is absorbed. When it is, turn off heat and let rice sit 5 minutes.

While rice sits, toast pine nuts in dry skillet until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Shake pan a few times and watch them closely so they don't get too brown. Wash basil, spin dry, then chop finely with chef's knife.

After the rice sits for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork, stir in Parmesan, chopped basil, and pine nuts and serve immediately. (This does not reheat well, since it loses that fresh basil flavor when it's reheated, so you'll have to eat it all, which probably won't be much of a problem.)

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South Beach Suggestions:
This would make a great side dish for phase two or three of the South Beach Diet. Uncle Ben's Converted rice is very low on the glycemic index compared to most white rice, so it's a great product for South Beach Dieters or anyone interested in low-glycemic eating to increase energy or lose weight.

You Can Make So Many Good Things with Fresh Basil:
(Recipes from other blogs may not be South Beach friendly, check ingredients.)
Spicy Cherry Tomato Sauce for Pasta
Italian Sausage and Zucchini Soup
Caprese Salad with Apricots from Rand
Basil and Garlic Marinated Mozarella Sandwich with Tomatoes from Lucullian Delights
Thai Basil Fried Rice from Is it EDible?
Basil Chicken with Coconut Curry Sauce from Simply Recipes
Spring Peas, Onions, and Artichokes with Lemon Basil from Erin's Kitchen
Chilean Sea Bass with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Mousse from Beyond Salmon
Thai Basil Hummus from 28 Cooks
Thai Tomato Basil Salad from Tigers and Strawberriescounter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:




  2. A lovely side dish with a twist! I find plain rice rather boring, this is so much nicer!

  3. Kalyn, rice is BIG here in Brazil - we'll have it almost everyday. What a delicious way to make it - I love it!

  4. Hi Kalyn,
    I'm French, live in Paris, am a low-carber and love your website (Asparagus for ever! Yeah!).
    I had a funny food conflicting dream last night. You were visiting Paris with your pupils and asked me to host you all with some low-carb' treats that would please them and suit you.
    And I found it to be so terribly challenging.
    I woke up craving for chocolate cupcakes instead of low-carb'cheesecake.
    Do you sometimes bring low-carb' treats to your pupils?

  5. That sounds great! I'm always looking for new ways with rice....and I love toasted pine nuts. Perfect for summer!
    Something I discovered - snipping basil (like chives) with a scissors can be really quick - at least for me...

  6. Yum again! Basil is a nice touch on anything! I just love it! And I am sure the pine nuts add a nice crunch. Keep trying new recipes...I think you are on a roll:)

  7. I love basil and have been looking for some new things to try making with it...this looks great!

  8. BC, welcome. Glad you like the blog.

    Pille, I agree, plain rice is nothing special. This was so good.

    Patricia, Interesting. I think I don't know much about Brazilian food. I am always interested in learning more.

    Bennett, what a funny dream. The kids are into candy more than anything else. I actually don't take them treat that much at all. But I do have a class "store" where they can buy things (with class money.)

    Katie, love the idea of snipping the basil with scissors. Sounds like it would work well.

    Maria, hope so. Basil is so great, isn't it?

    Meeso, hope you like it.

  9. As usual, an amazing and tasty dish Kalyn! Love the pine nut addition.

    I am so looking forward to meeting you in Chicago!


  10. Hi, Kalyn, I love pinenut and basil, but never thought of having them with rice. Gotta try, thanks!

  11. Kalyn, this sounds wonderful. I love basil and pine nuts - winning combo I think.

    And you remind me of a Thai-inspired fried rice recipe which uses a lot of Thai Basil. I gotta dig out the recipe and test it.

  12. Kalyn, I love the way you put your posts together. Plus the recipes of course.I have just sent the link to your blog to a friend.This is a very nice recipe. i am such a big fan of rice!!!

  13. I just got the Healthiest Foods book - I've glanced through it and can't wait to spend some quality time with it!

  14. That looks great! It would be a good side dish!

    And I love basil! it is my favourite herbs, so I am very glad to hear it is one of the World's Healthiest Foods! I will be quoting that now!

    Thanks for all the great links!

    I once read a review of the children's author Karen Cushman. It said that you absorb so many facts when you read her books, without even realising it and I would say the same about your blog!

    PS try some of her books out! Catherine Called Birdy is particularly good, it is the diary of a Medieval girl, lots of food descriptions! It's very funny!

  15. Thanks Jasmine. Really looking forward to meeting you too!

    Lululu, it was a great combination.

    Anh, look forward to seeing that Thai fried rice recipe! (And I do have Thai basil in my garden!)

    Valentine, thanks for the nice compliment. My posting has gone through a few styles, but I do like how I'm doing it now too.

    Cyndi, must look for that book. I love their site.

    Holler, thank you! I don't know if you know I'm a teacher, so maybe I'm always "teaching" even when I'm blogging. I hope so. I love learning things from other blogs, so I'd like it very much if people learn new things here.

  16. Kalyn,
    I love rice almost as much as I love pasta. This one looks great. I like the pine nut and basil idea. I'm looking forward to trying this as my new side dish.

  17. This would be delicious with orzo, too. Now that my basil is in, I'm always on the lookout for new recipes to try.

  18. I LOVE this recipe Kalyn! Pine nuts, parmesan, basil, rice... it doesn't get much more delicious than that.

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  19. I didn't know you are a teacher Kayln, but i should have, you sneak those facts in!
    What age do you teach/
    By the way I like your blueberry banner!

  20. Chigiy, hope you like it. (You amaze me with your surfing.)

    Lydia, I agree that Orzo would be great in this recipe.

    Ari, thanks. It was pretty delicious, I do admit.

    Holler, thanks. My brother the uber-talented Rand does the banners. I've taught fourth grade for years, but next year I'm changing to third.

  21. This looks delicious, Kalyn! I'm looking forward to when our basil really establishes itself in the garden. I've only just recently transplanted it and daren't disturb it until it has leafed some more.


  22. I like to make the Uncle Bens 90 second Whole Grain Brown rice in the little bag. I'm wondering how this delicious sounding recipe would be made if I were to use one of my bags.

    I'm thinking that I can put all of the ingredients (except for the chicken stock... or maybe using a small amount for flavor) directly into a sauce pan just for 5 minutes or so. Do you think any other ingredients (like the olive oil) would need to be adjusted?

    Tammy from W. Palm Beach, FL

  23. looks delicious - and you are so right that it would not be the same with dried basil - fresh basil looks and smells of summer!

  24. Elizabeth, isn't it great when the basil starts to take off and you can dream up great ways to use it. I usually cheat and buy a few big plants to get me started!

    Tammy, I think you could just make the rice in the bag and toast the pine nuts while the rice is cooking. Then I'd just mix the basil, parmesan, and pine nuts into the rice. I don't think you'd need chicken stock or olive oil with that type of rice. Let me know how it turns out!

    Johanna, thanks. The only time I ever used dried basil is for roasting tomatoes or in long-cooked sauces. I agree, fresh basil just smells like summer.

  25. This looks delicious! I love the basil, parm, and pine nut combo, a definite keeper for me. Thanks!

  26. I agree with Sammy, so it´s a must try with me, as usual with your fantastic recipes. :)

  27. Wha a delicious way to change up a plain rice dish! I love pine nuts and basil, both, so I'm putting this one in my "to make" file. Thanks!

  28. amy from pittsburghJune 8, 2007 at 8:19 AM

    I made this twice in the past week. It is so delicious! My picky 4-year-old gave it "thumbs up to infinity!" I don't see how one could get a higher rating than that :)

    I love your blog. Thank you for putting so much time and love into it.

  29. Amy, basil and parmesan are two of my favorite flavor combos too! Thanks.

    Maria, you are too sweet, thank you.

    Cookie baker Lynn, I do hope you like it!

    Amy from Pittsburgh, wow, you just made my day! Sometimes I wonder if any of my recipes are "kid friendly." (That's a section of the recipe archives I need to work on!) I am so happy to hear that it's a thumbs up! It sure was for me.


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