Indian Lentil Pilaf – For Lucinda

Indian Lentil Pilaf

Vegetarian Times Issue: November 1, 2006  (slightly changed by Marie)

Ginger and garam masala, a traditional Indian spice blend, give this zesty rice dish authentic flavor. If you’re not a lentil lover, try the recipe with 2 cups cooked chickpeas.

Ingredient List

Serves 6

  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 tbsp. mild flavored olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 3 large carrots, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice (or any brown rice)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.)
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garam masala (a curry-like spice you can find at any grocery store with the spices/herbs)
  • 1 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • cilantro for garnish, optional


1. Bring lentils and 4 cups water to a boil in large pot or Dutch oven. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until lentils are firm-tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup cooking water, and transfer lentils to bowl.

2. Wipe out pot; heat oil over medium high. Sauté onion in oil 4 minutes, or until just golden. Add carrots and rice, and cook 3 minutes, or until rice is toasted and fragrant, stirring constantly. Add garlic, ginger and garam masala, and cook 1 minute more.

3. Stir in tomatoes, broth, reserved lentil cooking water and lentils, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork, then spoon pilaf into shallow bowls, and garnish with cilantro, if desired. Serve hot.

For some green mixed in, when the liquid is absorbed, stir in about 10-16 oz of fresh baby spinach. The heat and steam will wilt it nicely and it adds beautiful color and your daily dose of green, leafy vegetables.

Nutritional Information

Per SERVING: Calories: 302, Protein: 13g, Total fat: 4g, Saturated fat: 2g, Carbs: 54g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 624mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugars: 7g

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One Response to Indian Lentil Pilaf – For Lucinda

  1. Lucinda says:

    and better yet . . . I think I have all the ingredients in the house!! THanks Marie:)

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