This dish is super adaptable to whatever vegetables you have on hand and makes a satisfying plant-based main or a tasty side dish. This vegetable rice pilaf is another one of those recipes. Basmati rice and a selection of vegetables are simmered together in a mix of fragrant spices then garnished with toasted cashews and fresh cilantro. Not only is this vegan dish easy to make, but it’s also ready in less than 30 minutes.

Feel free to change up the vegetables based on what you have handy; any combination of veggies would be delicious.!


  • 2 cups medium or long grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped OR 1 large scallion, sliced or chopped
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas*
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped*
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped*
  • 1 or 2 small pieces (2 to 3″) of cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 4 1/2 cups (about 1 liter) of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads


  1. In a saucepan, heat the stock almost to boiling and hold warm.
  2. Heat the saffron threads carefully for a minute in a small skillet, just until dry enough to crumble. Crush them and add to the stock.
  3. While the stock is heating, combine the remaining ingredients in a deep skillet or 4-quart pot. Cook the rice and vegetables over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the stock and saffron to the rice, stirring only once. Bring the stock to a simmer and taste for salt. Adjust the seasoning as desired.
  5. Cover the rice, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently and undisturbed, for about 25 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  6. Fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.