Healthy Vegetable Pulao Recipe

Vegetable pulao recipe with raita





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An easy Indian vegetable pulao recipe made with the goodness of wholegrains like brown rice, green gram, black gram and spinach. Healthy, vegan one pot meal meal.


Pulao is a traditional Indian dish made with aromatic spices and vegetables.

Some call it pilav, or veg pulav, or even pilao. Whatever you refer to this Indian rice dish as, it is one of the most popular accompaniment to many Indian dishes or in this case a one pot veg pulao main dish.

Ingredients Needed to Make Healthy Vegetarian Pulav

The difference between this veg pulao recipe to the others in the type of grains used.

This dish is a cross between khichdi and pulao which is what makes this a wholesome, healthy one pot dish .

Here is a rough idea on the main ingredients you will need to make wholegrain  Indian veg pilav at home. The amount is mentioned in the recipe card below:

Fresh and Pantry Items Needed 

Wild Rice

Brown Rice

White Rice

Whole green gram

Whole black gram

Spinach – fresh or frozen





Vegetable stock or a stock cube dissolved in water

Salt to taste

Oil or ghee

Spices Used

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Cinnamon – 1 inch stick

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1tsp

Cumin powder- 1 tsp

Green Cardamom 

Garam Masala Powder – 1 tsp

Optional Ingredients 

⇒  All the items listed in the recipe are not a must have. You can use or omit some of the whole grains and few spices if you do not have them.

You can add 1 star anise or black cardamom for added woody flavour if you have them.

Substitute Suggestions 

Do not have some ingredients but still wish to make vegetarian pulao? No worries go for the substitute or skip a few ingredients.

Omit Ingredients – You no not need all the ingredients listed. Skip the following items if you do not have them or go are an alternative:

  • whole green/ black grams
  • wild rice/brown rice
  • green cardamom
  • garam masala

Substitute for whole green/black gram – Use split legumes such as split yellow lentils or green lentils.

Substitute for for brown rice –  Use a pack of mixed rice.

Substitute for spinach – Use any mixed veg of your choice . Frozen mixed veg also works.

Substitute for sugar – Use alternative natural sweetener or stevia or skip it.

How To Make Vegetable Pulao – Method with Images 

Below is the step by step method of making veg pulao at home.


Soak the legumes over night.

Soak wild rice and brown rice for 3 hours before cooking. (see cooking notes below)


Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add whole spices, cardamom, cumin seeds, cinnamon to it.

whole spices in warm oil


Next add the tomatoes and cook until pulpy.

Add tomatoes to spices


Add the pulses and rice , spices, salt and sugar mix well.

Add wholegrains for vegetable pulao rice


Add the stock/water and the spinach cover lid and cook on high for 10 minutes and low for another 20 minutes.

Add water and spinach to the rice


Serve hot multigrain pulao rice with raita.

Vegetable pulao recipe with raita

Cooking Notes and FAQ’s

Soak the legumes ( black and green grams) in water for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight for best results

How to reduce the cooking time of brown and wild rice?

Most wholegrains are tough and can take time to cook. 

One way of reducing the cooking time is to soak the grains in water for a minimum to upto overnight. 

The grains will adsorb water and double in size as well as cook faster. 

You can also add 1/4 of making soda for faster soft boiled whole legumes. 

Is vegetable pulao healthy?

The mix of vegetables and rice in one pot make any type of veg pulav recipe that you wish to make healthy and easy.

Vegetable pulao is an ideal meal for the fatigue driven post surgery, pregnancy or feeling down days.

This particular recipe is healthier because it is made with a mix of whole legumes, less white rice and spinach.  Wholesome and delicious one of the best vegetable pulao recipes.

Can you eat vegetable pulao while on a weight loss diet?

This recipe is low in carbs as there are more whole grains like legumes, brown rice and white rice. They keep you full for longer making this a good keto friendly pulao dish perfect for those on a weight loss diet.

What to eat with vegetable pulao?

Veg pulav is a one dish meal in itself. You can serve it with a plain simple raita or even spicy Indian pickle (achar) if you wish.

If you also serve it as an accompaniment to a main dish such as chicken curry, veg curry, daal or any Indian veg or non veg main.

When in doubt with what to cook that is wholesome, easy and healthy, especially for the kids, I resort to making different kinds of Pulao and serve it with chicken nuggets 🙂

Can you make Pulao rice without the pressure cooker?

Yes, you can the but  in doing so it is best to soak the legumes overnight as it may take longer to cook.

Also add one extra cup of water/stock to cook.

Use a tight lid and low the heat down to minimum.

What is the difference between Pulao and Biriyani VS Khichdi

An Easy Indian pulao recipe made with the goodness of whole grains

Pulao as most of us who like Indian food know is a dish made with rice and sometimes includes other vegetables, cooked in a spiced broth, covered and brought to a boil.

In India, there are mainly three kinds of rice dishes  Pulao, Biriyani and Khichidi.

Pulao is less complex, easy to make which can either be eaten as a side dish or a main depending on the ingredients used.  It is generally made with whole spices when compared to a biriyani.

Biriyani, is a more complex rice dish. It uses a two-way process of cooking the rice and the curry separately and then mixing them in layers. The spices can be complex and intense or easy and simple depending on the recipe.

Khichidi, on the other hand is a one dish meal made with rice and lentils with the least amount of spices and almost runny consistency.

If I were to go with a proper take on this recipe its more like a khichdi, which literally means a ‘mish-mash’ in Hindi, than a pulao.

I call the dish pulao, as it’s not as fluid and has spices not normally used in khichdi.

Other Indian Vegan Recipes 

20 Minutes Mushroom Spinach Pulao 

Spicy Garlic Potatoes and Dill 

Sweet And Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

vegetable pulao recipe pinterest image


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Do you find this recipe fuss-free?

I like easy, simple quick recipes that add flavour in just a pinch! Do you think this recipe ticked those boxes?

Or perhaps you have a rice recipe to share that your family loves. Would love to hear from you.

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Wild Rice - 1/2 cup
Brown Rice- 1/4 cup
White Rice - 1/4 cup
Whole green gram - 1/4 cup
Whole black gram - 1/4 cup
Spinach,chopped - 1/2 cup
Tomatoes, chopped - 1
Ginger, grated - 1 tsp
Garlic,minced - 2 tsp
Sugar - 1 1/2 tsp
Vegetable stock or a stock cube dissolved in water - 3 1/2 cups
Salt to taste
Oil or ghee - 3 tbsp
Spices Used
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1tsp
Cumin powder- 1 tsp
*Ingredients Needed


Soak all the grains together in water for a minimum of 1/2 hour before cooking.
In a pan heat the oil or ghee and add cinnamon stick and cumin seeds to it. Fry till it becomes light brown in colour.
Now add ginger and garlic and saute for about a minute, before adding chopped tomatoes to it.
Add a bit of salt and sugar to the tomatoes and cook until it becomes pulpy and water starts to come out of it.This should take about 3- 4 minutes.
Once you see the tomatoes turn pulpy add the pre-soaked grains, turmeric, chilli powder and cumin powder to the pan and mix it well with the tomatoes.
Add about 3 1/2 cups of vegetable stock and spinach to the rice. Adjust salt and bring it to a boil.
Cover and cook for at least 15 - 20 minutes or until the rice and pulses are cooked.
Serve hot with plain yogurt and/or tangy pickle.