Dill, Lemon and Green Bean Pilaf

“It’s usually at about the sixth attempt that I finally stop my fork pecking at a plate of this. It is crazily moreish,” says food writer Mark Diacono. “By all means, make this with coriander, mint, lovage or chervil in any combination, but this is one of the places I love dill, and plenty of it. Whichever herb/s you choose, go big.”

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Serves: 4-6


  • 300g basmati rice
  • 400ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 30g butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Big bunch of dill, stalks and leaves separated, and both finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 200g green beans, stalk end trimmed (or use thin slices of zucchini)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 40g shelled pistachios (or use whole almonds), roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Natural yoghurt and lemon wedges, to serve


Soak the rice in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes, then drain well. Bring the stock to a bare simmer.

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Melt the butter in a wide pan over a low-medium heat and cook the onion, garlic, bay leaves and dill stalks for 10 minutes until soft. Add the spices and half a teaspoon salt and cook for a minute.

Add the rice to the pan, along with the beans and half of the dill leaves, stirring for 30 seconds to coat well and so it doesn’t burn. Cover the rice with the hot stock, add the lemon zest and check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Put the lid on and cook for five minutes over a high heat, then turn it down to the lowest heat and cook for 10 minutes until the stock is absorbed and the rice is just tender. Turn the heat off, remove the lid and place a tea towel over the pan, then return the lid and leave to rest for five minutes.

Fluff the rice with a fork, then scatter over the remaining dill and the nuts and serve immediately with yoghurt and lemon wedges on the side.

Herb by Mark Diacono is published by Quadrille, photography by Mark Diacono, available now.

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What is your favourite herb for cooking? Share your favourite rice dish in the comments section below.

– With PA

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