Spiced Vegetable Pulao is a Must-Have Side

Vegetable pulao, ready to serve
20 min
20 min
2 servings

This vegetable pulao is just the dish you need for busy weeknights. I have memories of coming home from school on cool evenings and being welcomed by the soul warming scent of my mother’s pulao. We’d enjoy it with tangy homemade yogurt, and spicy, lemony onions. In this one-pot Indian classic, fragrant basmati rice is studded with nutritious veggies, hearty potatoes, and comforting whole spices. Feel free to make this your own by adding cauliflower, broccoli or even chickpeas for a perfect complete gluten free, vegan meal!

Related: Tangy, Herby Chicken Malai Tikka Rolls



1 ¼
cups basmati rice
Tbsp neutral oil
1 ½
tsp cumin seeds
inch cinnamon stick
pods green cardamom, cracked open but seeds intact
black cardamom pod
bay leaf
1 ½
cups mixed frozen vegetables
medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
tsp ground turmeric
tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
tsp grated fresh ginger
tsp crushed garlic
1 ¾
tsp salt, or to taste
tsp lemon juice, plus more to serve
sprig mint


Ingredients for vegetable pulao
Step 1

In a medium sized bowl, add the basmati rice and rinse with cold water until the water is no longer cloudy, straining the water out about three times. The best technique here is to gently rub the rice between your fingers to help remove some of the starch, this results in fluffy individual grains, as opposed to stickier rice.

Step 2

Cover the rice with 1 inch cold water, then set aside to soak for 20 minutes.

Rice soaking in a bowl
Step 3

Place a medium sized pot over medium heat, then add oil.

Step 4

Once the oil has warmed through, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, black cardamom, bay leaf, and cloves. The spices will sizzle slightly. Stir until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Whole spices sizzling in a pot of oil
Step 5

Add the frozen vegetables, diced potatoes, ground turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger, and garlic. Mix well to coat.

Vegetables and spices sizzling in oil
Step 6

Add 1 cup of water to the pot, cover and simmer until the potatoes are starting to soften, about 5 minutes.

Vegetables and spices simmering in a pot
Step 7

Strain the soaked rice. Add the rice to the pot along with 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.

Vegetable pulao ingredients in a pot
Step 8

Stir the rice gently, season with salt, squeeze in 2 teaspoons lemon juice, then turn the heat down to low and cover the pot.

Step 9

Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the rice is fluffy and cooked through.

Step 10

Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for about 5 minutes. Gently fluff with a fork, being careful not to break the grains of rice. Plate, top with mint and squeeze lemon juice over top. Enjoy warm.

Vegetable pulao in a pot

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