This is not only a vegetarian main dish but can be a side dish with grilled meat or fish, or even store-bought roasted chicken.
In a saucepan, warm the oil and sautee the onions and garlic until the onion is transparent. Add 2 cups water, the rice, the carrots, the salt and the optional saffron. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, about 16 minutes, until the rice is just cooked.
Remove the cover and sprinkle the red pepper, peas and chickpeas over the rice. Cover and simmer a few minutes longer, until the rice is done and the liquid is all absorbed. Season with black pepper and stir. Makes 4 main dish servings.