Spring Vegetable Pulao

This spring vegetable pulao recipe is a comforting dish made with a blend of vegetables, spices, and basmati rice. Bonus: it’s ready in just 20 minutes!

Spring is upon us! We’re saying hello to longer, brighter days with our newest recipe on the blog: Spring Veg Pulao! This staple rice dish is all decked out in some of our favorite seasonal veggies and we’re so excited to be sharing it with all of you.

What is Pulao?

Pulao, also known as Pilau (/ˈpiːlaʊ/), is a savory Indian rice dish prepared by cooking rice with various spices. While Indian Pulao usually contains only vegetables, you can also add meat or poultry to switch up the flavors!

Pulao vs Biryani

You might be thinking that this is just another recipe for Biryani, but that’s where you’re wrong! While there are several differences between these popular rice dishes, the main difference is how they are prepared. Biryani uses the draining method of cooking while Pulao uses the absorption method and its liquids are fully absorbed into the rice.

Additionally, Biryani tends to contain more spices and layers, often leading to a richer tasting dish. The secret to rice cooking all lies in the amount of water you add and the time allotted to cook, which is what makes these two meals deliciously unique!

What’s in Vegetable Pulao?

The key pulao ingredient is the rice. The most popular variety of rice used in Pulao is basmati rice. This long, fragrant rice can be traced back to the Middle East in the 1700s! The best part? It can be ready in as little as 20 minutes. The quickest way to cook this type of rice is to boil water, add rice, and bring back to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes partially covered. After that, drain the water and put the rice back in the warm pan to sit for about 10 minutes, off heat. That’s it! So easy.

Whether you’re preparing your Spring Pulao in a pot, rice cooker, or Instant Pot, you’re going to need to add some yummy produce! There are so many tasty options for this dish and, not to mention, many that are currently in season. You can add in your favorites, including any of these springtime veggies: asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, kale, mushrooms, onions, peas, radishes, spinach, swiss chard, and turnips. Don’t be afraid to try some new combinations — you never know what you might end up loving!

Ghee, or clarified butter, adds the perfect amount of creaminess to all of those amazing veggies you just picked out. If you don’t have ghee, don’t worry! You can substitute oil in and get a similar effect.

And now, for the ingredient that ties it all together — the spices! It’s important to only use whole spices for a couple reasons. Firstly, they can easily be fished out while eating if you prefer. Also, the burst of flavor that accompanies them when used in their original form is spectacular. It’s truly unparalleled. Try it and see for yourself!

More Vegetarian Indian Recipes:

Spring Pulao
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5 from 4 votes

Spring Vegetable Pulao

This spring vegetable pulao recipe is a comforting dish made with a blend of vegetables, spices, and basmati rice.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword pulao, veg pulao, vegetable pulao
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water*
  • 2 quarts pot with matching lid
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (diced)**
  • 2 Tbsp ghee or cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion , sliced fine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt , to taste


  • Wash and rinse the rice in a sieve. Let it soaked in the measured amount of water for 10 minutes.
  • Heat oil in the pan and fry the whole spices and onions until onions become translucent.
  • Add the mixed vegetables and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add the rice and water and cover with lid. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down and allow rice to simmer until it's cooked.


  • *You can substitute vegetable or chicken stock for part or all of the water.
  • **Use whatever blend of vegetables you have on hand. Just make sure they're cut into bite-sized pieces. 
  • To make rice in an Instant Pot, add equal amounts of rice and water and press the rice button.

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