Chicken and broad bean pilaf

Broad beans

Chicken and broad bean pilaf from the Hairy Dieters contains a wonderful mix of flavours – chicken, vegetables, rice, spices and herbs which combine together to form a really satisfying dish for just 310 calories. And despite the long list of ingredients it’s very cheap and simple to make in just one pan.

This meal can be rustled up in under half an hour but definitely plan ahead by getting the chicken thighs marinating and ‘double-podding’ the broad beans, which can be a labour of love. If you’re vegetarian, or planning to have a ‘meat-free Monday’, you can leave out the chicken and still enjoy a brilliant recipe for only 218 calories.

Recipe: Chicken & broad bean pilaf

Calories: 310 calories per portion

Serves: 4

Book: Hairy Dieters – Good Eating

Prep time: Approx 30 mins (plus marinating time for the chicken)

Cooking time: Approx 25 mins


  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion (finely diced)
  • 1 small courgette (cut into small dice)
  • 1 small piece of cinnamon stick
  • 5 cardamom pods (lightly crushed)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 175g basmati rice (well rinsed)
  • 300ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 250g broad beans (fresh or frozen)
  • A large bunch of parsley (chopped)
  • A small bunch of dill (chopped)
  • 75ml low-fat natural yoghurt
  • Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 15g chunk of fresh root ginger (finely grated)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Ground black pepper.

Cost per portion: Approx *£1.64 *cost based on Tesco prices – December 2022

Method: Mix together the yoghurt, lemon juice, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add the pieces to the marinade in the bowl and leave for an hour.

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, courgette and spices, then cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until you can smell the wonderful aroma of the spices.

Add the chicken, scraped most of the marinade, and stir it for a couple of minutes so it mixes well with the other ingredients and starts to brown slightly.

Add the rice and give everything a good stir to make sure the rice is well coated. Pour in the stock and season well with salt. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the pan and leave for 10 minutes. While the rice is cooking, remove the skins from the beans – this is known as double podding! Using your thumbnail, slit the skin and pop out the bright green bean. Set the beans aside. If you’re using frozen beans, defrost them first.

When the rice has been cooking for 10 minutes, add the broad beans. Leave to cook for another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Fluff up the rice with a fork, turning it over gently so the broad beans mix well with everything. Stir in the herbs, season with salt and pepper if needed and pile the pilaf on to a large serving plate.


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