Persian Jeweled Rice

I found this recipe in Milk Street magazine and adjusted it a bit. It is so good! You could make this non-vegan if you prefer to use actual butter instead, but it really doesn’t need it. I served this with a vegan grilled cheese and mushroom rye sandwich. Enjoy.


· ½ teaspoon saffron threads

· 4 Tablespoons of vegan butter (such as Melt or Earth Promise)

· 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

· 3 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided

· ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

· 2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained

· 2 teaspoons ground cumin

· 1 ¾ teaspoons ground cardamom

· 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded (on large holes of a box grater) about 1 cup

· 1 cup dried cranberries (I used Trader Joe’s orange flavored cranberries)

· 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

· ½ cup chopped pistachios


1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the saffron with 2 2/3 cups water. Microwave until the water has a yellow hue, about 1 minute; set aside.

2. In a 12-inch skillet over medium to medium low heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and 2 teaspoons salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in rice, cumin, cardamom, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring, until the grains are lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Stir in the saffron water, carrots and cranberries. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover, reduce to low and cook until the rice has absorbed the liquid and the carrots are tender, 12-15 minutes.

5. Fluff the rice with a fork, then stir in the orange zest and the chopped pistachios.

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