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Rice Recipes | Two Easy, Aromatic & Healthy vegetable Pilaf with Flax Seeds

5 March 2012 25 Comments

Do you follow any particular recipe for making pilaf/pulav? I am afraid I don’t… If there is ample time and the cooking is for some special guests, my Pilaf will have a mix of home ground spices and some exotic ingredients such as poppy seeds, coconut & cashew paste. On a normal day it’s just a few whole spices, veggies, fluffy Basmati rice and my quick aromatic pilaf. And how versatile & flexible a recipe could get, you don’t need to follow any particular recipe and yet come out with some extraordinary results, yes such is the magic of Pilaf!

My favorite is always this simple and quick Pilaf or Pulav recipe, wherein the subtle flavors of Basmati rice, a mild punch of few whole spices and the real taste of fresh veggies could be enjoyed in best form.

Adding Flax seeds to most of the curries & rice recipes apart from baked goodies is a wonderful idea both in terms of flavors and health quotient of the recipe. I like the crunch and nutty flavor it provides to any recipe and for instantly increasing the health component of the same.

A Pilaf is a rice dish cooked with spices and veggies where the rice grain remain separate and fluffy, more about pilaf here. For this first vegetable pilaf recipe I served the dish with a small bowl of fresh roasted Flax seed alongside and sprinkled flax powder on individual demand, as I was not sure of children liking the taste of this new ingredient. I mixed Flax powder in the Spinach pilaf recipe before serving and the guests really enjoyed this simple way to make a meal healthy yet scrumptious.

Vegetable Pilaf with Flax Seeds

Healthy flax seed vegetable pilaf

Colorful veggies make the recipe come alive..



(serve 2)

  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil/ghee
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. spring onion
  • 1 tsp. crushed black pepper
  • 1 green chilly
  • Salt as desired
  • 2 cups assorted veggies*
  • 2 tbsp Flax seeds/powder

Whole Spices

  • 1 small stick cinnamon bark
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 star anise


Healthy flax seed vegetable pilaf

Sprinkled with roasted Flax seeds..


Method;Wash and soak Basmati rice for 1 hour. Dice all the vegetables into fine pieces.

Rice; To cook rice for pilaf you can pressure cook the rice (1 cup rice: 3/4 cup water) for just one whistle or follow this method to get fluffy and long strands of rice.

Heat 2 cups of water and add washed rice, cook at high flame for about 7-8 minutes. Check if the rice is almost done but is slightly hard when pressed between two fingers. Take off the flame and drain excess water from the rice.

Heat oil in a wok/kadai and add cloves, cardamom bay leaf, star anise and cinnamon stick sauté for a few seconds.

Add sliced onion, slit green chilly and fry for 1 minute till becomes light brown in color. This will give a lovely brown hue to the rice, avoid this step if you like your rice to be white in color.

Healthy flax seed vegetable pilaf

Add rest of the veggies, salt and cook for 3-4 minutes at high flame.

Add cooked rice and gently stir all the ingredients with a fork taking care not to break the long strands of rice.

Close the lid tightly and let it stand for 10-15 minutes to let the rice get fully cooked in its own steam.

Quick and easy way; To avoid cooking the rice separately and making it a lot more easy, use ‘Dum’ technique to cook pilaf as explained in this Biryani recipe. Follow the above steps till you add the veggies in the seasoning, add rice in the same and sauté for 2 minutes. Close the vessel tightly with a lid and place it on a hot tawa or girdle on slow heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes till the rice is done. Stir the pilaf gently once in the whole process of cooking.

Take off from the heat and add shredded spring onion, crushed black pepper powder and Flax seed powder and mix well. Serve hot with yogurt Raita.

Spinach Pilaf with Flax Seeds

Healthy flax seed vegetable pilaf


  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil/ghee
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small onion
  • Salt as desired
  • 8-10 Cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp. Falx seed powder

Whole Spices;

  • 2 cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 3-4 peppercorns
  • 1 star anise

Ground paste;

  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 green chilly
  • 1 tomato
  • 1” ginger

Method; Wash and soak rice for one hour.

Wash and chop spinach, ginger, tomato and onion. Grind chopped spinach leaves, green chilly, tomato and ginger into fine paste. Fry the cashew nuts in a little butter/oil till they turn golden brown in color.

Boil 2 cups of water, cover it and keep aside. Heat oil in a wok/kadai and add all the spices, sauté for a second. Add diced onion and fry for one minute. Add the ground paste, salt and cook for 5-6 minutes on low flame stirring it constantly.

Drain the water from the rice and add the soaked rice in the wok with spinach paste. Saute the rice for 4-5 minutes in the ground paste. Pour hot water and cook for 5 minutes on high flame. Reduce the flame and cover the wok tightly.

At this stage most of the water is absorbed by the rice and if you cook it on slow flame the rice will be very fluffy. Using the technique of Dum (slow cooking) is the best to get fluffier rice.

Heat a flat tawa or girdle on flame and keep the tightly covered wok with cooked rice over it. Cook the pilaf on slow flame for about 10-15 minutes.

Take off the flame and separate the cooked rice with a fork, garnish with fried cashew nuts, sprinkle powdered Flax seed and serve the healthy Spinach Pilaf with a fresh yogurt Raita.

Healthy flax seed vegetable pilaf

How to Roast Flax seeds; The seeds get burnt easily when dry fried, to avoid this take one cup plain salt and heat it on a large wok and, add the whole Flax seeds in it. Dry fry it on low flame stirring continuously for about 5-6 minutes. Take off the flame and sift the salt with a mesh or filter to separate salt from the Flax seeds.

Use the roasted Flax seeds for any recipe or just enjoy them as a healthy snack.


  1. Dice beans and carrots into very small pieces, it will help cook all the veggies at the same time.
  2. Add an extra green chilly if you like your pilaf to be spicier.
  3. Dry roast the Flax seed  on slow flame for 5 minutes and powder to get a wonderful nutty aroma and crunchy bite to the pliaf recipe.
  4. A tsp of ginger-garlic paste will enhance the taste and flavors of the Pilaf.
  5. Use tomatoes which are slightly sour while grinding with other ingredients for Spinach pilaf.
  6. A teaspoon of lemon juice added to the cooked rice will give that extra zing and a lovely citrus flavor to the recipe.
  7. Basmati rice is a prudent choice over other varieties of white rice as it has low GI which makes it longer to digest thereby releasing the sugar in the blood at a much slower rate.
  8. Use brown rice to make this pilaf, I avoided as I was cooking for my guests and did not want to overload them with my fetish for healthy eating.
  9. Use a pinch of Ajinomoto while cooking if you want your pilaf to get that restaurant kind of recipe feel. Ajinomoto gives a lift to any recipe but should be avoided due to harmful effects on health.


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  • sayantani said:

    the spinach pilaf looks delicious….love your idea of adding flax meal to rice dishes. beautiful clicks.

  • the wicked noodle said:

    WOW – love these rice recipes!! I wouldn’t have thought to add flax to rice, what a great idea. Love the presentation, too!
    the wicked noodle recently posted..breakfast quinoaMy Profile

  • Deepa said:

    I like the dum style and love the addition of flax seeds here. very colorful and delicious

  • Maureen said:

    Beautiful, healthy and delicious. You rule!
    Maureen recently posted..Lemon Filled Blueberry Muffins To Save the ChildrenMy Profile

  • jeyashrisuresh said:

    fantastic pilaf and nice clicks sanjeetha. Quite healthy one
    jeyashrisuresh recently posted..MAWA PISTACHIO BUNDT CAKE – EGGLESS RECIPEMy Profile

  • Deepa said:

    Loved this..nice one

  • Faith said:

    Your rice dishes sound wonderful! So healthy with all those colorful veggies and perfectly seasoned with all those aromatic spices — delicious!
    Faith recently posted..My First Guest Post — Heba of MidEATSMy Profile

  • Divya Yadava said:

    Love the spinach pilaf! I’m mildly intolerant to rice, so I like using barley or quinoa in my pilafs. That way I’m getting more fibre too :).
    Divya Yadava recently posted..Banana coco-chai smoothieMy Profile

  • Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb said:

    Yes, Flaxseeds are a great addition to pilav, it certainly fits well and as u said the nutty flavoure will give it all a nice rounding to the dish. I am not convinced about the palak version though, I am not much of a spinach liker in general so I d prefer the Veggie flax seed versioan of yours. =) thanks for the inspiration!
    Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb recently posted..Shakshuka – Israels favourite breakfastMy Profile

  • Swati Sapna said:

    Hey Sanjeeta!

    So glad to connect with you here 🙂 You have a beautiful blog and the pilaf pics look smashing! Never thought of using flax seeds this way…

    And thanks for your kind comments about my blog 🙂 Looking forward to browsing ur site at leisure and bookmarking more such interesting recipes!

  • Deeps @ Naughty Curry said:

    the spinach pulav looks to die for, cant wait to make it! and a very healthy alternative the flax seed version looks
    Deeps @ Naughty Curry recently posted..Pita Bread- Homemade & it couldnt be easier!My Profile

  • Sadhana said:

    Yummy looking colorful pilaf.

  • Harini said:

    Fancy that! I never thought of flax seed powder in pulao! A good addition. We too like spinach pulao.
    Harini recently posted..Broccoli and pea soup with sour creamMy Profile

  • Mari @ Mari's Cakes said:

    Looks great, I have a small amount of flax seed left, I didn’t know what to prepare with it, but looking at this tasty pilaf I am inspired. Thanks 🙂
    Mari @ Mari’s Cakes recently posted..Jalea de Batata, DULCE de BATATAMy Profile

  • Spandana said:

    Love the recipes.. adding flax seeds is a nice idea!! Lovely pics!

  • Annapet said:

    After reading @kathygori’s post, I jumped so quickly here to check out what you have in store for us! Thank you for sharing this, Sanjeeta! Missing all the tweets and posts as of late…Will get caught up eventually!
    Annapet recently posted..Yuzu Cream Filling for MacaronsMy Profile

  • Sara said:

    yummy & healthy pilaf! lovely pics as well!
    Sara recently posted..Confetti Salad – A Medley of Sweet Roasted Peppers & Carrots with Orange & Marcona AlmondsMy Profile

  • Magic of Spice said:

    These look fantastic! I love the idea of adding flax seed to a pilaf…going to be a new trend for me from now on 🙂
    Magic of Spice recently posted..Carpaccio style Portabella Mushrooms and Asian Pears~A guest postMy Profile

  • Jennifer (Delicieux) said:

    These recipes are fantastic. I love your addition of flax seeds, and your instructions on how to roast them. Flax seeds are an ingredient that is not that familiar to me, so it’s always great to get tips on how to deal with them.
    Jennifer (Delicieux) recently posted..Yoghurt Cake with Sangria Poached PearsMy Profile

  • Junia @ Mis Pensamientos said:

    totally bookmarked. i love pilafs and the simple flavors that spices add! flax seed is a great addition too. your kids must enjoy eating healthy by now! 🙂
    Junia @ Mis Pensamientos recently posted..Greenslove: Adzuki Miso Greens Stir FryMy Profile

  • Baker Street said:

    The spinach pilaf looks great!
    Baker Street recently posted..Nutella Peanut Butter Chocolate BrowniesMy Profile

  • Jamie said:

    Wonderful post! I do sometimes vary my pilaf recipes but never like this! I love the idea of coconut and cashew paste, actually. Adding so many vegetables makes it less and side dish and more of a meal.

  • Terra said:

    I love both of the recipes, but really adore the spinach pilaf! That bowl is really beautiful, perfect for the rice pilaf:-) Hugs, Terra
    Terra recently posted..Chocolate Chip Cookies With A Little Surprise + PinterestMy Profile

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com said:

    Love the recipes — never thought of adding flax in rice pilaf. Will definitely change that, thanks my friend 🙂
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com recently posted..Fenugreek-moong lentil soupMy Profile

  • mjskit said:

    In this household we just love rice and anything, but finely chopped veggies are our favorite! Both of these pilafs are fabulous! The seasoning and the spinach paste – YUM! I would never have thought to use cardamom and star anise in a veggie pilaf, but I’m definitely going to be giving it a taste! Great pilafs!
    mjskit recently posted..Kabocha Squash and Fennel SoupMy Profile

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