Mother´s Day is around the corner, and food is being thrown at us from every direction. As we all very well know, moms tend to have a special place in their hearts for sugary treats, and buying baked confections or making them at home is high on the list of best gifts for her on this once-a-year event. But before the awaited dessert, a whole meal needs to be prepared for the family, and even though this is, in fact, Mother’s Day, most mamás put their aprons on and work away in the kitchen to get the job done. After all, this is why we celebrate them: because they care so much for us, that they won’t stop working even on their day to show how much they love us. Motherhood is a very special thing indeed!

Thinking of this, one of my favorite rice pilafs came to mind, since it’s so easy to make, and sure to please everyone. Making this pilaf is easy for mom, if she wants a hassle-free meal that will still allow her to relax a bit and enjoy all the pampering of the day. But it is also great for teenagers and husbands who want to take control of the kitchen for the day and please her. What’s great about it is that it is the perfect dish not only for this day, but for any other occasion, and it’s good for pros and beginners alike. All you have to do is mix the ingredients, add the delicious red wine syrup made with Holland House red wine vinegar, y listo! A healthy, nutritious, -and most importantly- delicious meal that will leave everyone satisfied and with a smile.

The very adaptable recipe also allows you to add or skip ingredients according to your family´s taste. I love it with lots of olives and roasted and fresh peppers, but you may add bacon, cheese, or any other vegetable, like green peas or artichoke hearts. Sometimes I even transform it into a salad, using the same ingredients, with added baby spinach and blue cheese (or goat cheese, which I love and goes amazing with red wine vinegar). When I do this, I splash the dish with a red wine vinaigrette, instead of the syrup of the pilaf…and just like that, you have a whole new dish!

ingredients for simple balsamic olive and pepper rice pilaf recipe


2 cups white rice (Basmati or jasmine is fine)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 tablespoon onion, diced
1 cup green olives, sliced
1 cup black olives, sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup raisins or cranberries
½ cup almonds, sliced and toasted
Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons Holland House red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar


simple balsamic olive and pepper rice pilaf recipe

In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and stir until aromatic. Don´t let them turn golden. Immediately add the rice, stirring for a few minutes, add salt and pepper (be careful with the salt because the olives are salty), and boiling water to cover. Put the lid on, lower the heat to a minimum, and cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the red wine syrup: In a pan over high heat melt the sugar, add the vinegar, add salt and pepper, and bring to a boil for 3 minutes.

Uncover and stir with a fork to separate the rice grains. It should be fluffy. Add the green and black olives, red pepper, raisins, or cranberries.

Serve the rice sprinkled with the toasted almonds and the Holland House red wine syrup.


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Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored series to develop recipes using Mizkan products. All opinions are our own. 


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