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indian stew with rice and lentils, served in a white bowl with cilantro on top
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5 from 6 votes

Rice and Lentils with Indian Spices

Rice and lentils are combined to create a complete protein in this one pot vegetarian meal. Fresh vegetables and Indian spices give this pilaf a rich depth of flavor.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Calories: 210kcal
Author: Anjali Shah


  • 1 cup dry brown lentils rinsed and sorted
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt more to taste
  • cilantro for ganrish optional


  • Bring lentils and 4 cups of water to a boil in large pot or Dutch oven. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until lentils are firm-tender. Drain and transfer lentils to bowl.
  • Wipe out pot; heat oil over medium high. Sauté onion in oil 4 minutes, or until just golden.
  • Add carrots and rice, and cook 3 minutes, or until rice is toasted and fragrant, stirring constantly.
  • Add garlic, ginger and garam masala, and cook 1 minute more.
  • Stir in tomatoes, broth, salt, and lentils, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 20 minutes, or until liquid is mostly absorbed and rice is tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 5 minutes.


Top Tips for Making Indian Stew with Rice and Lentils
  • To save time use pre-prepared lentils (like the steamed lentils from Trader Joe's)
  • Use low-sodium vegetable broth to reduce overall sodium.
  • If you'd like to make this more of a pilaf than a stew reserve 3/4 cup of the lentil cooking water, and add it to the pot when you add the tomatoes and broth.
  • If you want to add more veggies, add 6 oz (about 6 cups) of chopped fresh baby spinach to this recipe. You can add in the spinach at the same time you add in the broth and tomatoes.
  • If you're making this for kids, feel free to reduce/adjust the spices or make them a plain version without spices on the side!


Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.3g | Protein: 9.2g | Fat: 4.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 606.9mg | Potassium: 358.6mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 5.7g