Mixed Vegetable Pilaf

This is a quick and easy rice dish that is packed with vegetables and is one of those recipes I turn to again and again when I am in a pinch and need to make dinner fast.


A tried and true recipe from my Mom

My Mom used to make this vegetable pilaf (called pilau in Hindi) with frozen mixed vegetables when she was late coming home from work and needed to whip something up fast, delicious, and filling – a one pot meal of sorts. I’ve pretty much been making my pilau the exact same way Mom taught me years ago. Why mess with a good thing?


Perfect for lunch with a friend or two

Serve pilau with raita and fresh fruit and this can even become a wonderful light lunch or dinner option with a friend or two.  Give it a try!


Mixed Vegetable Pilau


  • 2-3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups long grain rice like Basmati rice
  • 1 onion finely cut
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp garam masala.  If you don’t have garam masala spice blend handy substitute with 1 cinnamon stick, 3-5 whole cloves, a few green cardamom pods gently crushed, 1 star anise and few whole pepper corns.  Just add these whole spices to oil before frying the onions.
  • Salt
  • Chili powder (optional)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Oil


  • In a large pot or in the instapot heat 2 tbsp oil. Toast cumin seeds and bay leaves in oil for a few seconds until the cumin aroma is released and the seeds are dark brown. Add cut onions and sauté onions until translucent about two minutes.
  • Next add the frozen vegetables and garam masala. Cook the veggies for 5 – 7 minutes until they are slightly tender.
  • Add rice and mix into the vegetables and lightely toast the rice for a minute or two. Next add 5 cups water and salt to taste and bring the rice to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and cover the pot. If using instapot change the setting to the rice function. Let the instapot cook the rice. Or on the stovetop cook rice for 15 minutes until the rice is cooked tender.

13 thoughts on “Mixed Vegetable Pilaf”

  1. Kalpana, Pulao is a dish that i never make in a Hurry . I like to spend Time making it the right way . If i am in ahurry, i make Upma or Spagetti. In fact m, deepika is more particular than me … She soaks the Basmati Rice for at least 30 minutes and then adds little salt while the Rice is cooking . Deepu does not cook the Rice fully … All this while cutting all fresh vegeatables like Potatoes, Carrots , Cauliflower, Green Pepper Grren Beans etc . Then she sautes the Onion and adds tomatoes and vegetables. She prepares fresh Garam masala and while adding all this to the Cooked rice , she also adds Fresh Green powdered Cardomoms and Anise seed making it flavorful . If it is thanksgiving dinner , she makes the Pulao festive by adding Cashews and Raisins .. I taught Deepu also to add Safforn to give Pulao an appealing Color … This is the way my mom made Pulao and this is the way i taught my girls and Guess what they have become experts … Their pulao always comes out Fluffy and makes Thanksgiving Dinner look like a Work of Art, notwithstanding the Turkey . Lot of work but worth it…

      1. My version is called Navratan Pulao and i add Cinnamon Stick too In the Puao but keep aside a small portion as my grand child is allergic to Cinnamon. i also add Pomegranate pods to make it a Kashmiri Pulao … Really , Pulao can be easy to make as you suggested depending on the Occasion and the contigency

Leave a Reply