Red lentil, cauliflower & spinach pilaf


An easy to make supper dish that utilises easy-cook rice, bought in panic at the start of lockdown when Basmati rice was unavailable, red lentils, a larder stand-by and the remains of a cauliflower that might otherwise be wasted. This recipe is based on khichdi, but bulked out to make a more substantial meal.

You’ll need a heavy based frying pan as this is the ultimate one pot meal. I don’t generally used cups as a measuring too, as I ‘measure’ by eye but I realise this isn’t ideal for many so in this case I’m using an actual coffee mug for ease of translation.

Cooking time around 20-25 minutes.


1 mug rice (I used easy-cook but any longer grained rice is fine)

½ mug red lentils (these cook quickly and are ideal for this dish)

1 onion-chopped

½ cauliflower-chopped

2 good handfuls of spinach (I have spinach in the garden which is starting to bolt but it’s still usable when chopped)

Black mustard seeds

Ground turmeric

1 medium chilli-finely chopped (or dried chilli flakes/powder to taste)

3 teaspoons of garam masala (substitute with a mix of ground cumin/coriander/fenugreek)

A jug of stock (cube or home-made)

A tblsp vegetable or coconut oil

Salt to taste


Gently toast the mustard seeds in the heavy based pan, add the oil and onions and gently stir until the onions soften. Add the chilli and turmeric and stir or a couple of minutes taking care not to let it burn. Add the rice, stirring to make sure it gets coated in the oil & spice mixture, then add the lentils, chopped cauliflower and enough stock to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook gently while the liquid is absorbed. Add more liquid if required, test the rice and lentils as you go as you’re aiming for soft but not sloppy. When the rice is cooked stir in the garam masala and the spinach, this will wilt down in a couple of minutes, add salt to taste if needed.


Serve with chapati or naan bread or with a crisp salad.