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Plated Dish

One of the things about a great cookbook is that all of the recipes actually work. Kathy Hester’s The Great Vegan Bean Book has tried and true recipes with great taste.

If you’re short on time and want to pull a meal together quickly, the Easy Lentil Biryani is a winner.  It has all the components of an exotic Indian dish. Don’t let the long list of spices overwhelm you–there’s a chance you have them in your pantry already. You won’t be disappointed with this flavourful, protein packed dish that is soy-free, gluten-free and oil-free.

Throw everything into one pan or your rice cooker and dinner will be ready in no time!

Super Easy Lentil Biryani

1.5 cups (280g) brown basmati rice* (see below)

4 cups (950ml) water, plus more if needed

½ cups (96g) lentils

¼ cup (35g) chopped cashews (omit if you have  nut allergy)

¼ cup (35g) raisins

¼ cup (33g) minced dried apricots or dates

2 teaspoons minced ginger

½ teaspoon turmeric

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

2 cinnamon sticks or ½ teaspoon ground

3 cardamom pods or ½ teaspoon ground

4 whole cloves or ¼ teaspoon ground

8 whole black peppercorns or ¼ teaspoon ground

10 coriander seeds or 1 teaspoon ground

½ teaspoon garam masala

¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste

Mise en Place


Stove-top Directions


Put all the ingredients except the salt into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and decrease the heat to low and cook until the rice and lentils are tender, 40-50 minutes. Check after 30 minutes and add more water if needed.

Add the salt and adjust other seasonings if needed and remove the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods before serving.


Rice Cooker Directions

The difference between cooking this on the stove top and in your rice cooker is that you will use 2 cups (380g) brown basmati rice (use the measuring cup that came with your rice cooker) and add water to fill to line 2 in your rice cooker plus 1 cup (235ml) water in a regular measuring cup.

Put all the ingredients into the rice cooker and cook on the brown rice setting if you have one.

When your rice cooker is done, add salt, and taste again. Adjust the other seasonings if needed and remove the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods before serving.

* I was very short of time and used white basmati rice, using the same amount of water as the recipe calls for, on my stove top. While the dish was cooking I prepared some pappadams and set the table with bowls of spicy hot lime pickle and chili chutney. The meal was ready in 20 minutes!  I love the vibrant yellow colour from the turmeric. Black sesame seeds were used to garnish the healthy bowl of goodness.

Plated Dish

You can prepare the ingredients for this dish in under 10 minutes. The recipe feeds four people, has zero cholesterol (yes you read that right), packs 10g of protein and  has approximately 375 calories per serving. You could reheat the dish if there are leftovers but reheat slowly with some water in the bottom of the pot.

Happy Cooking!






Jill DiGiovanni

So, what do you think ?