Red Lentil Pilau

One of the first dishes I made that I was really happy with was from a red lentil pilau recipe that I discovered a couple of years ago.  I cooked this a few times for Leslie back in Auburn Hills, and choose to bring it as a side-dish when Twinkle hosted Thanksgiving last year.  Last night I made it again for the first time in a year, and was quickly reminded why I love it so much: the ingredients are inexpensive, preparation is straight-forward, you can let it cook essentially unattended, and it re-heats extremely well for an easy lunch the next day.  Also, it’s delicious.  Here’s the recipe, slightly modified based on my own experiences:


  • 3 tsp Garam masala (you can find this spice mix at Indian grocers and sometimes at larger grocery chains)
  • 3 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 cups hot vegetable stock
  • 1 or 2 spring onions, thinly sliced


  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan (it will need to hold all of the rice, lentils, onions, and stock).
  2. Stir the garam masala into the oil.
  3. Add onions and garlic.  Cook over medium until the onions soften (about 3 minutes).
  4. Stir in the rice and lentils and cook (stirring constantly) for 2 minutes.
  5. Slowly stir in the vegetable stock.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is cooked and all of the stock has been absorbed (about 30-40 minutes).
  7. Move the mixture to a serving dish and fluff the rice with a fork.  Garnish with spring onion and serve!

2 thoughts on “Red Lentil Pilau

  1. I have my in-laws coming round for dinner next week and I can’t give them pasta again: mind if I steal this recipe? (How about if I promise to do the rice properly rather than just boiling the crap out of it?)

    I particularly like the “can be left unattended” and the “can be eaten for lunch the next day” notes – that’s the kind of intel I’m looking for in a recipe! Especially when trying to juggle cooking and entertaining.

    In fact I may even try it in the slow cooker – I’ll let you know how that works out.

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