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  • Makes 6 cups pilaf + 1⅓ cups topper
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Red rice is named for its red bran layer, which gives it a higher antioxidant content than brown rice. Here, this vibrant grain is cooked in a medley of warming Middle Eastern spices to produce the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors. Cubes of earthy acorn or butternut squash and a sprinkling of tangy raisins add delightful contrast to the fragrant rice, absorbing the flavors and adding a slightly creamy texture to the chewy grains. A cooling garnish of minted cucumber adds brightness to the rich dish, ensuring each serving is equal parts comforting and refreshing. Serve this red rice pilaf alongside a hearty main course, such as a falafel platter complete with homemade hummus

For more vegan pilaf recipes, check out these tasty ideas:

By Juliana Hale,


  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or ¾ teaspoon paprika plus ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2½ cups dry red rice
  • 1¼ cups chopped peeled acorn squash or butternut squash
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • 1⅓ cups finely chopped cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted


  • In a large saucepan cook onion and garlic over medium 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Stir in Aleppo pepper, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Cook 1 minute.
  • Add rice and squash; stir to coat. Add 3½ cups water and the raisins. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.
  • For topper, in a small bowl stir together cucumber, mint, and sesame seeds. Serve with rice mixture.

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About the Author

headshot of Juliana Hale

About the Author

Juliana Hale

Juliana Hale is a senior culinary specialist with 20 years of experience in recipe testing and development. She works closely with AllRecipes, Forks Over Knives, Midwest Living, and Traditional Home overseeing testing in the test kitchen for those titles.
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