“Yes. Rice. Not pasta. Rice”. That was my answer to the endless scrutiny of “the food critic” in the house. My easy Lemon Pesto Parmesan Rice with Sweet Baby Peas will all make perfect sense when you try it, I promise.
Ironically, I actually created and made this terrific side dish with my rice-loving hubby in mind, (a.k.a. the Food Critic Wannabe and Mr. Picky Pants!) Pesto is actually a wonderful addition to rice! Especially with creamy butter, a light touch of lemon, lots of delicious, sharp, real parmesan cheese, and a nice handful of sweet baby peas! And you can even drizzle your serving with a little extra EVOO and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you’d like. Think of it as an easy alternative to risotto! (After all….what is risotto made from? Arborio rice. 😉 ) Boom. There ya go! 🙂
I came up with this quickie idea when I was preparing to make my newest pepper recipe, “Mozzarella and Pesto Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers with Roasted Tomato Gravy” (coming next!!), and needed a side dish to go alongside. I wanted to concentrate on the main dish, and not have to fuss too much with a side dish, be as frugal as possible with what I have, and instead of a pasta or risotto, I reached for my simple bag of rice instead.
I love making homemade rice! I swear it’s easy, comes out delicious every time, and is always a huge help in the kitchen when I just have too much going on and don’t need any extra stress. I’m sure we all know how important that can be at times!
The rest of the ingredients simply came together by foraging and gathering from the fridge and freezer, and wa-lah! Dinner was simple, delicious, and complete! Our tummies and tongues were happy campers, and this new Lemon Pesto Parmesan Rice with Sweet Baby Peas is going to be a favorite, handy, go-to recipe!
And, you can of course, customize this to your own personal likes, as always. Think of recipes as just a guide to launch you to wherever you want to go, but just don’t always know where to begin and how to get started. For the lemon lovers, up the lemon juice, (and even add a little lemon zest for the die-hard lemon fans!) Don’t care for, or happen to have on hand, any parmesan cheese? Use romano or asiago! Garlic lovers? Add some sautéed garlic to keep the Halloween vampires off the porch, and for onion lovers? By all means! Add some sautéed onion in there if you like! Up or lessen the pesto to your suit your tastebuds, and just have fun! 🙂
The hubs ended up loving it, I loved it, and I’m sure you’re going to love it, too!
Homemade instead of instant packets! You control the sodium, less chemicals, frugal,
and more in the pot to go around!
I hope that this tasty recipe helps you out, too, when you need a side dish,
but don’t need any extra fuss after a stressful day!
*Link to new Stuffed Pepper recipe (as seen above top right) will be added soon!
- 3 Tbl. butter
- 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 2 cups plus 1 Tbl. water
- 1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
- 1 Tbl. lemon juice, fresh or concentrate
- 3 Tbl. basil pesto, or as much as desired
- ¼ cup finely grated real parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup frozen sweet baby peas, unthawed
- 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, optional
- fresh grated parmesan cheese, a drizzle of EVOO, and chopped fresh parsley to garnish if desired
- lemon wedges on the side for extra fresh-squeezed lemon juice if anyone would like
- Into a medium to large saucepan, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add rice and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring. Add water, chicken base and lemon juice. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and bring to just a boil over medium heat. Stir, recover, lower heat to Low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Do not lift lid.
- After 15 minutes, add pesto, parmesan, sweet baby peas, (and lemon zest for lemon lovers), fold and fluff in, put lid back on, and let rest at least 5 minutes.
- Serve as is, or garnish with a drizzle of EVOO, a fresh squeeze of a lemon wedge, shaved parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh parsley.