Jump to Recipe

Print - members only.  Please log in or JOIN HERE!

Want more foolproof and delicious recipes?
Sign up for our newsletter and get recipes and inspiration into your inbox.

By: Chef Laura Bonicelli

This Lentil Rice Pilaf with Cilantro is one of my favorite ways to prepare lentils. The lentils are al-dente and delicious with a background of aromatic spices and fresh cilantro and lime. Buy your ingredients at your favorite Farmers Market! 

lentil rice pilaf

about Indian Lentil Rice Pilaf with Cilantro

One of the things I love about Indian cooking is the anticipation built by the food’s cooking aroma. The scent of cinnamon, cloves, cumin, garlic, and ginger combine in a magical way that creates a sense of wellbeing and makes you hungry. The addition of turmeric and sugar adds warmth and a bit of sweetness to the Lentil Rice Pilaf with Cilantro. But, finally, the lime and cilantro brighten the dish with a zingy finish.

putting the Lentil Rice Pilaf with Cilantro together

We start with sautèing the cinnamon, cloves, and cumin seed. I consider this an important step; it releases and intensifies their flavor. Then add in the ginger and garlic. I’m using stock in the recipe, but I often make the Lentil Rice Pilaf with Cilantro with water instead of stock. That makes the pilaf a little lighter in color and flavor.

I have the lentils cooking for 8 minutes before you add in the rice. You might think that the lentils will overcook, but actually, the timing with the rice works out perfectly. It is essential, though, that you use brown lentils; red and yellow lentils vary in cooking time. Also, this recipe uses white basmati rice. Brown basmati rice takes longer to cook. Brown basmati rice is a whole grain because the bran and germ of the grain are still intact. Like any whole-grain rice version, the amount of water and cooking time is more than their more processed counterparts.

To serve with the Lentil Rice Pilaf with Cilantro, I would opt for a salad or a side dish with a highly acidic dressing. I have listed some possibilities for you below. Eat well and have fun!

don’t forget

Make sure you sign up for our newsletter to get more recipes and take a look at joining the Bonicelli Cooking Club! We’d love to have you!

adding lentils
herbs and lime

I hope you love this recipe! 

Buon Appetito!
email signature

Step by Step Instructions

Indian Lentil Rice Pilaf

Indian Lentil Rice Pilaf with Cilantro

© Chef Laura Bonicelli
Indian Lentil Rice Pilaf is one of my favorite ways to prepare lentils. The lentils are al-dente and delicious with a background of aromatic spices and fresh cilantro and lime.
5 from 2 votes

Print - members only.  Please log in or JOIN HERE!

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
10 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 451 kcal


  • 1 cup dried brown lentils
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 3- inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic -- finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


  • Rinse and drain the lentils.
  • In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves, and cumin; sautè for about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger, stirring for about 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the stock, salt, sugar, and turmeric. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add the lentils and cook, uncovered, for 8 minutes. Turn up the heat to high. Add the rice and boil for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the lentils and the rice are tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cloves and cinnamon; stir in the herbs and lime juice.


Calories: 451kcalCarbohydrates: 76gProtein: 22gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 1512mgPotassium: 781mgFiber: 16gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 35IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 5mg
Keyword cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, ginger, turmeric
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More Recipes

Weeknight Pasta Recipes

Weeknight Pasta Recipes

Who doesn't love a great pasta dish? We have four of them here, and every one of them is delicious. Penne with Broccoli Pesto Sauce and Sesame Soba Noodles with Broccoli and Chicken go together reasonably quickly. Ratatouille Stuffed Shells and Chicken Tetrazzini...

Green Beans and Coconut

Green Beans and Coconut

By: Chef Laura Bonicelli Green Beans and Coconut is a spicy, sweet side dish that always gets compliments, second helpings, and multiple recipe requests. Buy your ingredients at your favorite Farmers Market! about Green Beans and CoconutOne of my favorite things about...

Indian-style Saffron Rice

Indian-style Saffron Rice

By: Chef Laura Bonicelli Indian-style Saffron Rice is a beautifully colored, sweet, savory, and crunchy rice dish. Buy your ingredients at your favorite Farmers Market! about Indian-style Saffron RiceIndian-style Saffron Rice is full of surprises. First of all, the...

Want more fool-proof and delicious recipes?
Get recipes and culinary inspiration in your inbox every week!
en papillote

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest recipes and updates!

You have successfully subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest