Love this colourful flavour burst with simple rice.

Jewelled Pilaf!

Pilaf, or pilau or even pilav are not words I often use, simply because rice is not something I eat regularly! I have always been a bit cautious with rice – ever since I learnt that it’s one of the main culprits of food poisoning! So, I usually only eat if if I’ve cooked it myself and generally only brown rice, and I try to cook and eat it within two days. So, this recipe was a bit of a surprise to myself and I have made it several times already as it is really so very tasty!

Jewelled pilaf

The Pilaf Recipe

This recipe is fantastically adaptable to you! Yes, this is another recipe you can personalise as much as you like, so long as you just follow a few basic steps.

Firstly, the choice of rice is up to you. I almost always use brown basmati rice, but you can choose your favourite whether that be white, long grain, wild rice, basmati, jasmine, red rice or any other you may love!

Next you need a tin of beans, or chickpeas or both! A handful of pre-cooked veg – such as these roasted vegetables, or cajun beans, (or alternatively just simple steamed vegetables), and a few raw salad veg (I used yellow peppers). If you have golden sultanas they really make this dish pop, as do a handful of nuts (raw or toasted) and a scattering of sesame.

Jewelled Pilaf

Packed full of flavour and texture, this rice dish can be served hot or cold.

Course: main, Side Dish
Keyword: all in one meal, biryani, pilaf, pilau, pilav, rice, risotto
Created by:: Laurena @LifeDietHealth
  • 125 g brown basmati rice (or other rice of choice)
  • 300 ml boiling water
  • 1-2 tablespoons golden sultanas
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas mostly drained (or beans)
  • 1 x 400g tin borlotti beans drained (or other beans)
  • 1-2 cups roasted vegetables (peppers, aubergine, courgettes, onion, broccoli) (or any pre-cooked vegetables)
  • *optional 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • seasonings to taste (salt & pepper)
  • small handful raw salad vegetables chopped (e.g. peppers, beetroot, artichoke)
  • 1-2 tablespoons mixed nuts (e.g. pecans, almonds, cashews)
  • sprinkle of pomegranate seeds
  • 1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds (raw or lightly toasted)
  1. It is easiest to use a small mug to measure the rice – you need approximately 1 mugful. Tip into a fine sieve and wash. Transfer the rice to a medium sized lidded pan and add the boiling water (just over 2 cups – about 2 and 1/4). Bring back to the boil and using a spoon, scoop of any scum which appears and discard. Once it looks good (no scum), reduce the heat and cover with the lid. Set a timer for 20 minutes.

  2. Keep an eye on the rice whilst it's cooking and once the timer goes off, just check that all the water has been absorbed and the rice is just tender. Turn the heat off. Remove the lid, add the sultanas and quickly replace the lid. Leave for 5 minutes.

  3. If your pan is large enough to add the other ingredients, skip this step, otherwise get a pan large enough to hold the rice and the remaining ingredients, and warm through.

  4. Heat the chickpeas and beans through in the pan and add the pre-cooked vegetables. If using the existing pan, add these and stir through with the heat back on low (and lid removed). Add the rice (if not in the existing pan), nutritional yeast if using, then season to your liking. Note: If your vegetables are already seasoned you will need to add less than you usually would.

  5. Remove from the heat and stir in or sprinkle over the remaining ingredients – raw salad vegetables, nuts, pomegranate seeds and sesame.

  6. Serve and enjoy!

What do I need?

This section would usually show you a selection of items I think would help you create this recipe. However, as Amazon have updated their links, please bear with me until I sort them out! Instead you can search here for items such as chopping boards, kitchen knives, mixing bowls, baking trays and other items which you might need.


Serve your pilaf freshly made as it is! I eat this as a main dish, but you could always have it as a colourful side dish too. If preferred, you could serve the pomegranate, nuts and sesame seeds separately so each person can add their own.

Colourful pilaf


As aforementioned, rice is one of those things which I prefer to eat immediately. However, if you cool it quickly, cover it and keep refrigerated, it should be fine to eat the following day. Rice can also be frozen for when you need some quickly. If freezing, cool fully, portion, label, date and freeze. Although the pilaf can be frozen once assembled, it would be better just to freeze the rice, then add the extras afterwards – at at least just with the beans, chickpeas and pre-cooked veg.


This is a great dish for sharing and you could easily make a few variations according to your families (or friends) tastes.

As always, I love hearing about any recipes of mine you try, any ideas you adapt or suggestions you have for future recipes. Please share and tag me @LifeDietHealth or using #LifeDietHealth on InstagramPinterest,  Facebook or X.

Leave me a comment below… I love to chat!

I hope to speak with you soon

Laurena x

Pilaf full of texture, colour & flavour


  • evagallon 11th April 2024 at 17:29

    …or Pilafi as Cypiots call it lol. Whatever variation, I love it! I used the last of my father-in-law’s borlotti in something similar recently: with white basmati (I like long grain brown but can never get the texture right 🤪), broccoli, carrots and a few seeds; I use nuts in salad sometimes but forget I can use it in rice/grain dishes 👍

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 18th April 2024 at 11:33

      ooo, ‘pilafi’ I like that! Oh no, you need to experiment with the brown until you get it perfect – cup measuring usually gets it right, start with one cup of washed rice and 2 of water (with a bit extra on standby if needed). What seeds did you use? and did you toast them first?

      • evagallon 18th April 2024 at 17:28

        I no longer toast seeds as Dr McGregor said not to as it can be ‘toxic’. He also warned against eating brown rice as it contains more pesticides than white🤪I know, I know… I moved away from these celebrity vegan doctors years ago but have found myself back in that sphere after wanting to do the starch solution again…she says- I won’t be nowhere near as disciplined this time! x

        • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 19th April 2024 at 18:39

          Ah Dr McGregor! Well, lightly toasting them (not cooking too much or burning them) is ok! Or, if you soak them first (& nuts), then dehydrate, it will give them a crunchiness and a different taste. Ah that brown v white rice (& arsenic) conversation! Then re the starch solution… if you are thinking you will struggle to be disciplined, try something else instead!?

          • evagallon 20th April 2024 at 20:37

            Thanks for the tips👍It’s going to be loosely based on the Starch Solution this time hehe: I’m not giving up my dairy kefir or plain yoghurt and am no longer ‘brainwashed’ against olive oil, as is what is usually pushed in these circles😋

          • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 25th April 2024 at 16:54

            Can you get a plant based kefir there? or a nice vegan plain yogurt (I’ve tried making a coconut yogurt but the recipe needs a bit more work)!

          • evagallon 25th April 2024 at 19:00

            I’ve not found vegan kefir here but I do sometimes buy vegan yoghurts 🙂

  • cookingwithshy 12th April 2024 at 01:45

    This looks so delicious and flavorful

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 18th April 2024 at 11:33

      Thank you Shy, do you cook something similar?


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