This is such a simple dish and it packs a huge amount of gastronomic satisfaction into something so easy to make! Don’t let the name fool you, this dishes main ingredient is ground beef or ground lamb, so I have know idea why it is called Bazila (Lebanese for peas) and Riz (Lebanese for rice). Made often by my Lebanese Mother-in-Law, it was a favorite of my husband Matt, while growing up in Buffalo, NY.
The key to this dish is the Lebanese 7 Spice Blend . It is what creates all the deliciousness and will have you going back for more. The blend is a mixture of many “warm” spices such as allspice, cinnamon that typically in the USA are used in baking, not savory cooking. However, when these spices are added to savory foods, such as beef and lamb a whole new flavor dimension is created.
If you are not crazy about peas, substitute a package of frozen green beans. If you are Keto or low-carb, pass on the Lebanese Rice. Lentils would make a good substitute for the rice as they are least a bit lower in carb. However, in our house the Lebanese Rice always wins out! It’s just makes the whole dish!
Guaranteed this dish will be added to your winter comfort food repertoire. You might even find yourself making it in July.
(means ‘double health’ and is typically used to wish someone just before or after their meal. It is a gesture that can be used between friends, family or colleagues)
For the Main Dish:
I Large sweet onion, diced into ½” dice
¼ Cup of O’Live A Little’s Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Cloves of garlic, minced
2# ground beef or lamb
½ Teaspoon salt
1-2 Tablespoons Lebanese 7 Spice Blend (see below to make your own or it can be ordered on Amazon)
1 bag of frozen peas
2- 28 OZ cans of whole San Marzano Tomatoes
For the Lebanese Rice
¾ Cup of cut vermicelli
3 Tablespoons O’Live A Little’s Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cups uncooked long grain rice
1 Teaspoon Salt
For the Lebanese 7 Spice Mixture:
2 Teaspoons Ground Allspice
1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
½ Teaspoon Ground Clove
¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese)
½ Teaspoon Ground Coriander
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom ground
Method of Prep
For the main dish:
In a large fry pan heat the ¼ cup of the Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium to medium high heat and then add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the Lebanese seven spice mixture and stir until well combined and fragrant. Add salt
Add the ground beef or lamb and garlic and cook till meat is brown. Drain any rendered fat that has accumulated.
Empty both cans of the tomatoes into a bowl and with your hands, break up the whole tomatoes into smaller pieces. Add tomatoes and all juice into fry pan.
Continue to cook over medium to med high heat until tomatoes have broke down and the entire dish starts to thicken as the juices from the tomatoes reduce.
Add the peas ( it’s ok if they are still frozen). Cook till peas are hot and the entire dish is thick and juicy, but not watery.
Serve the meat over the Lebanese rice.
For the Lebanese Rice
Break up vermicelli into approx. 1” pcs.
Heat olive oil over med to med high heat and then add the vermicelli and sauté in the olive until browned. Be careful, it burns quickly.
Add the long grain rice and salt and stir over heat a bit
Add 4 cups boiling water.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender