Instant Pot Veg Pulao is an easy one-pot vegetable and rice medley. This is a vegan pilaf with fragrant basmati rice, veggies, and whole spices. In our family, this Pilaf features on our weekly meal plans once every week. Quick and easy to rustle up, we love this vegetable-loaded rice with a light curry or dal.
Before I share how to make mixed vegetable pulao in the Instant Pot, let me tell you why you should absolutely rely on this recipe-
Works for everyone- for dorm-cooking, bachelor-cooking, and for anyone who is tired but still wants to rustle up a healthy meal.
Vegan-friendly and gluten-free.
Comes together in less than 10 mins of hands-on cooking.
Feeds a crowd easily.
Makes for a filling school or work lunch.
Ingredients- Substitutes and Replacements
We are going to be using whole spices, veggies and aromatic Basmati rice.
Basmati rice- While this is the most ideal choice for any Pulao, Jasmine rice and good old Sona Masuri will work too. For cooking Jasmine rice pulao, follow the timings for cooking Jasmine rice from our Thai Basil fried rice recipe.
Whole spices- While I have used a combination of whole spices here, you can adjust them based on whatever is available in your pantry. Generally, I do not like adding cumin seeds to veg pulao. Somehow, I feel it begins to taste like Jeera rice. But you can add cumin seeds if you like the flavor. I highly recommend adding cloves, bay leaf, and cardamom though.
Mint leaves- Fresh mint gives a beautiful aroma to the Pulao. You can also use crushed dried mint instead. Use 1/2 tsp crushed dried mint for this recipe.
Veggies- A combination of carrots, green peas and beans works very well every time in this recipe. You can also add cauliflowers, potatoes, broccoli florets and chunks of paneer. If you are adding paneer, add it after the Pulao finishes cooking. Adding it along with rice and veggies while they cook, will make the Paneer rubbery and chewy.
Frozen veggies for Pulao- I chop the veggies while the rice soaks. But you can also use frozen mixed vegetables to make this Instant Pot Vegetable Pulav. Use 1.25 c frozen mixed veggies. You need not thaw the veggies. Just add them as they are, after the onions are sauteed.
In a typical restaurant-style veg pulao, they do not add any spice powders. However, you can also add ground paprika/ cayenne ( red chili powder) instead of green chilis in this recipe. You will need 1 tsp of ground paprika or red chili powder for this. Use cayenne pepper if you want a spicier version.
A sprinkle of Garam Masala after the veggies are sauteed will also give a nice flavor to the pilaf. You can even add store-bought Pulao masala instead of Garam masala. Use 1/2 tsp of Garam masala or Pulao Masala for this recipe.
For a richer version of this easy veg pulao, add cashews and raisins fried in oil/ ghee in the end as a garnish.
Vegan Rice Pilaf with Vegetables
This is a naturally vegan recipe for Instant Pot Veg Pulao. You can use any neutral vegetable oil or cold-pressed coconut oil for making this. In case you are not looking to make this vegan, add ghee or butter for this pilaf.
Here are some combinations you can use to make this Pulao-
Use just potatoes to make an Instant Pot Potato Pulao. Add spice powders like ground coriander, garam masala or Pav Bhaji masala in this version.
Add some broccoli florets or cauliflower florets along with peas instead of adding all the veggies. A combination of ground turmeric, paprika and garam masala works beautifully for this version. For a better idea, check out our cauliflower peas pulao recipe.
Soaking the rice
Before you begin making this, we need to soak the rice. For this, we need to wash our aromatic Basmati rice under running water until water runs clear. This is an important step in making fluffy pulao.
Washing the rice well gets rid of the starch. This in turn prevents the rice from sticking to the pot and gives us a fluffy pulao.
Place the basmati rice in a colander. Wash under running water until water runs clear. Combine the washed rice with 1.25 cups water and soak for 10 mins. While the rice is soaking, prep the veggies.
Making Instant Pot Veg Pulao
Cooking on Saute Mode
Place the inner pot in the IP. Turn on Saute mode on Normal for 7 mins. Wait for the display to read HOT. When hot, add the oil to glaze the pot. Add the whole spices to the pot and saute for 20 secs. Next, add slit green chilis and ginger garlic paste.
Immediately, tip in the finely chopped onions and mix well. Cook this for 1.5 to 2 mins until the onions turn pink and soft.
Add salt next and mix well. At this stage, add the mint leaves and veggies. Mix well to combine. Continue cooking on saute mode for 2 mins. Add the soaked rice along with the water.
Stir to combine. Add the lemon juice and Kewra Pani ( Screwpine extract) and mix. Allow the water to begin to boil. Press cancel button to end the cooking process in Saute mode.
Ensure that the sealing rid is fitted properly in the IP lid. Close the IP and turn the valve to sealing position. Turn on the Pressure cook mode on low pressure for 5 mins. Allow the cooking cycle to complete.
Natural Pressure Release
When the cooking cycle has completed, wait for the pressure to release naturally. It took 18 mins for me. When the pin falls down, you will know that the pressure has released.
Fluffing and serving
Now open the lid and fluff the pulav by mixing gently. Serve hot.
- Please follow the soaking time, cooking time and pressure release method to get the perfect results. Over soaking rice or cooking for longer than mentioned here will make the pulao mushy.
- You can easily double this recipe. For 2 cups of basmati rice, you will need 2.5 c water.
- Follow the same recipe and instructions to make vegetable pulao in a Mealthy Multipot or any electric pressure cooker.
- I generally do not use the RICE mode for cooking any Basmati rice based dishes in my IP. In my experience, delicate rice varieties like Basmati cook better in Manual mode. Also, in the Manual mode ( Pressure Cook mode), its easier to adjust cooking time, temperature and pressure levels.
Pressure Cooker Veg Pulao
Say, you do not have an IP. You can still make this in a regular pressure cooker. Skip soaking the rice for this version. Heat a 3 liter heavy bottomed pressure cooker and follow all the instructions mentioned till closing the IP lid. Use a medium flame to saute onions and veggies.
After adding the rice and water, close the lid of the PC. Put the weight on and cook on low flame for 1 whistle. Wait for the pressure to release naturally. Once done, open and fluff with a fork.
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Instant Pot Veg Pulao
- Instant Pot 6 qt
- 1 c Basmati rice
- 1.25 c Water
- 1.5 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 2 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 mace
- 1 star anise
- 2 green cardamoms
- 1.25 tsp Ginger garlic paste
- 1 c finely chopped onions
- 1.25 tsp Salt or to taste
- 10 to 12 fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 c frozen or fresh green peas
- 1/2 c cubed carrots
- 1/2 c finely chopped french beans
- 1/2 tsp Lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Screwpine extract optional but recommended
Soaking the rice
- Place the basmati rice in a colander.
- Wash under running water until water runs clear.
- Combine the washed rice with 1.25 cups water and soak for 10 mins.
- While the rice is soaking, prep the veggies.
Making Instant Pot Veg Pulao
Cooking on Saute Mode
- Place the inner pot in the IP.
- Turn on Saute mode on Normal for 7 mins.
- Wait for the display to read HOT.
- When hot, add the oil to glaze the pot.
- Add the whole spices to the pot and saute for 20 secs.
- Next, add slit green chilis and ginger garlic paste.
- Immediately, tip in the finely chopped onions and mix well.
- Cook this for 1.5 to 2 mins until the onions turn pink and soft.
- Add salt next and mix well.
- At this stage, add the mint leaves and veggies.
- Mix well to combine.
- Continue cooking on saute mode for 2 mins.
- Add the soaked rice along with the water.
- Stir to combine.
- Add the lemon juice and Kewra Pani ( Screwpine extract) and mix.
- Allow the water to begin to boil.
- Press cancel button to end the cooking process in Saute mode.
- Ensure that the sealing rid is fitted properly in the IP lid.
- Close the IP and turn the valve to sealing position.
- Turn on the Pressure cook mode on low pressure for 5 mins.
- Allow the cooking cycle to complete.
Natural Pressure Release
- When the cooking cycle has completed, wait for the pressure to release naturally.
- It took 18 mins for me.
- When the pin falls down, you will know that the pressure has released.
- Fluffing and serving
- Now open the lid and fluff the pulav by mixing gently.
- Serve hot.
For Instant Pot & Air Fryer Recipes
Instant Pot timings may vary based on your geographic location. Air fryer settings and timings may vary based on the capacity and the model of the Air fryer.
Nutrition values are provided here as a courtesy and are only a rough guide. Please consult a health care provider if you have any concerns.