Veggie-Packed Vegan Red Rice Pulao For Weeknights
Image Credit: Red rice pulao is a one-pot vegan dish. Image courtesy: Facebook/Suyash Jolly

When it comes to healthy meals, nothing beats a one-pot meal. Not only are one-pot meals easy to whip up—and don’t require a lot of cleaning up afterwards—but they are also healthy because every ingredient goes into one pot. So, the flavours and nutrients are locked in one container. What’s more, one-pot meals are very filling and wholesome. And when it comes to healthy one-pot recipes, this Red Rice Pulao ranks at the very top of my list. 

Red Rice, which is also known as Matta Rice and Palakkadan Matta Rice, originates in the state of Kerala. The grains are thick and nutty in flavour, and get their popular name from the brick-red hue of the red rice. For many, Red Rice is an acquired taste but a must-have for health. It is, in fact, one of the healthiest grains out there, and for good reason. 

Packed with plenty of dietary fibre, Red Rice is one of best sources of healthy carbohydrates. Red Rice is also brimming with high-quality plant proteins, which makes it a great source of the nutrient for vegetarians. Red Rice ranks low on the glycemic index, so it is perfect for diabetics. Chock full of antioxidants, Red Rice is a nutrient-dense ingredient which promotes heart health, proper digestion, lung health, kidney health and bone health. So, the addition of Red Rice to a one-pot dish to amplify your health is a great idea.  

But there’s more you can do to make this one-pot Red Rice Pulao even healthier. The addition of a variety of colourful veggies won’t just make this dish more vibrant, but also healthier. Everyone knows that carrots, peas and onions are brilliant sources of nutrition, so adding them to the Red Rice Pulao makes sense. Add mushrooms, and the pulao will turn into a protein-packed deal for vegetarians and vegans. The inclusion of whole spices also adds to the flavours and nutrition of the dish. Overall, this one-pot Red Rice Pulao is one of the healthiest meals you can whip up on any given day.  

To make the cooking of this Red Rice Pulao easier, you should ideally soak the Red Rice overnight. As for the veggies, go with your gut and the season. If spring onions are in season, use them instead of or along with onions. If you want to add broccoli, beans, cauliflower and dry fruits to the pulao, do so. Here’s the basic Red Rice Pulao recipe. You can build on that as per your imagination and the availability of ingredients. 


2 cups red rice, soaked overnight 

½ cup peas 

1 onion, chopped 

1 carrot, chopped 

½ cup mushrooms, chopped 

1 bay leaf 

1 cardamom pod 

1 black cardamom pod 

1 cinnamon stick 

2-3 cloves 

6-8 black peppercorns 

½ tsp cumin seeds 

½ tsp garlic, minced 

½ tsp ginger, chopped 

2 green chillies, chopped 

2 tbsp ghee 

Salt, to taste 

2 cups water 


1. Heat the ghee in a large wok. 

2. Add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, ginger and garlic. 

3. Stir everything, then add the onions, carrots, mushrooms and peas. 

4. Mix well, then add green chillies and salt. 

5. Saute the veggies, then add the red rice. 

6. Mix everything together for 2-3 minutes. 

7. Adjust the salt, then add the water. 

8. Mix well, then cover the wok and cook for 20 minutes. 

9. Check if the rice and veggies are cooked, then serve the Red rice Pulao hot.