While I’ve never fallen head over heels for Spanish rice dishes like paella, there was something about a recipe for baked rice with garbanzos that caught my attention. I’m a big fan of vegetarian Spanish rice recipes, and I adapted this one from the fantastic Claudia Roden Foods of Spain cookbook. I added a few small twists to make it even more delicious (in my humble opinion!). The best part? It’s super easy and really pretty– aka perfect for company. It’s also vegetarian friendly and pretty healthy.
Baked Rice with Garbanzos and Dates
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 whole head of garlic, trimmed (take about ¼ inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- ¾ cup of assorted dried fruits (like prunes, dates, and apricots), chopped
- 1 onion, sliced Julianne style
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon pimentón dulce (sweet Spanish paprika)
- 2.5 cups vegetable stock (for the vegetarian version) or chicken stock
- 11/4 cups of Spanish bomba rice
- ¼ cup almond slivers (or raw almonds that you've crumbled with a rolling pin into large chunks)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
- Ideally you will use an oven safe pan such as cast iron for this baked rice recipe. If not you'll have to switch pans before adding the rice (below)
- Sauté the onion in two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until caramelized
- Add the minced garlic for 30 seconds
- Add ½ of the chopped dried fruits and sauté for two minutes
- Add the tomato paste and cherry tomatoes and stir
- Add the paprika, chickpeas, stock and salt and bring to a boil
- Add the rice and stir (if not using a cast iron pan that can go from stove to oven, transfer the stovetop mixture into an oven safe casserole pan before adding the rice)
- Place the whole head of garlic in the center of the pan and sprinkle the rest of the dried fruits on top of the rice
- Drizzle the head of garlic with a bit more olive oil (about a tablespoon)
- Bake the rice for thirty minutes at 400°F
- In the meantime, place the almonds in a hot frying pan (with a touch of olive oil if you wish). Sauté constantly until browned. Don't let them burn!
- Top the finished dish with the toasted almonds and enjoy.
See also: Easy vegetable paella recipe
Delicious, right? Let this baked rice with garbanzos and dates grace your dinner table this winter and everyone will be happy!