Brown rice is made up of mainly carbohydrates, and it is relatively high in calories–about 215 calories per cup of cooked rice. Here’s a way to enjoy the taste and texture of rice, but decrease the calories and carbs in each serving:

Brown Rice and Veggie Pilaf with Almonds and Feta Cheese
Makes 12 approximately 1 cup servings

  • Start with 1 cup dry brown rice. Cook in 2 cups of reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth.
    • Use heavy sauce pan, put rice and broth in pan, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for  45 minutes.
  • In the meantime, finely chop 1 medium to large onion, 2-3 cloves garlic (or use 2-3 teaspoons pre-chopped garlic),  one large bunch broccoli (about 6 cups chopped) and about 1/3 cup raw almonds.
  • When rice is close to being done (about 40 minutes into the simmering), heat heavy, large frying pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil. When the oil has coated the pan, add the garlic and onion. Sauté until soft. Add the broccoli and sauté until tender crisp (3-5 minutes).
  • By now the rice will be done, add the cooked rice to the frying pan and mix in with the vegetables. If the pan is too dry, add just a little bit of water, and toss until all the water is absorbed.
  • Toss in 1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese and serve.


  • Instead of broccoli, use 4 to 6 cups of any vegetable or combination of finely chopped vegetables (e.g., zucchini, cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms, bell peppers–mixed colors would be pretty, green beans… creative!). I used broccoli above, because that is what I had in my fridge when I wanted to come up with a new rice dish.
  • Add some flavor with herbs like fresh basil, oregano, thyme, sage or rosemary, or spices like Thai green curry powder, chili powder and/or cumin……again use your creativity!
  • Add a handful of raisins or craisins to give some extra zing.

The basic recipe above makes ~12 servngs, each serving contains about 125 calories, 4 gm protein, 17 grams carbohydrate and 5 gm fat (1 gm saturated fat,  3 gm monounsaturated fat and 1 gm polyunsaturated fat); addition of 1/4 cup raisins or craisins adds about 10 calories and 2.5 gm carbohydrate per serving.