Hearty chickpeas meet vibrant veggies and fluffy rice in this vegan pilaf with chickpeas to create a super simple yet delicious plant-powered meal. Serve it as a main or side — it’s equally mouthwatering and nourishing!
This vegan pilaf with chickpeas is a straightforward yet delicious dish combining grains, chickpeas, sweet apricots, and sweet potatoes. A sure way to add a punch of taste and nutrition to your mealtime!
Besides being super easy to make and extra tasty, this pilaf is a great way to incorporate plant-based protein and fiber into your diet.
The fresh ginger gives this easy rice pilaf a zesty twist, while the sweet dried apricots provide an unexpected, delightful contrast.
With the hearty chickpeas and aromatic spices mixed with long-grain rice, it's a very satisfying dish that works well as a main, side, or even as a healthy filling for wraps and pittas.
Why you’ll love this vegan pilaf with chickpeas
- A true flavor party — This vegan pilaf is a symphony of spices, combining the warmth of cumin, coriander, and cardamom with the smoky hint of paprika.
- Simple ingredients — This recipe transforms pantry staples into a crowd-pleasing main dish.
- Light and packed with protein — Thanks to the chickpeas, sweet potato and rice, this meal is brimming with plant-based protein and fiber.
Ingredients and substitutions
Shallots — Shallots lend a sweeter and milder flavor that works beautifully in this pilaf. Substitute with yellow onions or even red onions if you don’t have shallots on hand.
Garlic + ginger — Fresh is always best, but ground garlic and ginger can be used in a pinch. Don't hesitate to go for the convenient pre-minced jars in your fridge.
Spices — Cumin, coriander, cardamom, and paprika are key to the flavor profile of this dish. If you don't have one of these on hand, you could experiment with other spices, such as turmeric or cinnamon.
Sweet potato — Sweet potatoes provide the pilaf with a lovely sweetness and a delightful chunky texture. Not a fan? Swap them out with butternut squash.
Chickpeas — They're not just there for the protein; chickpeas add a wonderful hearty texture to the dish.
Long-grain rice — Long-grain varieties like basmati keep their shape well and won't turn mushy, giving the pilaf its characteristic fluffy texture.
If you're looking for a healthier option, brown rice or even quinoa can make a nutritious substitute, but keep in mind they may alter the cooking time.
Dried apricots — These sweet nuggets add a beautiful pop of color and a fruity twist to the pilaf. You can also try dried cranberries, raisins, or even dates.
How to make vegan rice pilaf
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Add the finely diced shallot to the pan and sauté until it becomes translucent.
Next, add the garlic and ginger to the pan and sauté for another minute until they release their fragrance.
Add the sweet potato to the pan and stir well to ensure it's coated with the oil and spices.
Add half of the chickpeas to the pan, mixing well to combine them with the other ingredients.
Stir in the long-grain rice, ensuring all grains are well-coated with the oil and spices.
Pour in the vegetable stock, raise the heat, and bring the mixture to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Check occasionally to prevent burning, and add more stock if necessary.
Adjust the seasoning, then garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and serve.
Leftovers and storage
- Cool the pilaf fully before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Warm up the pilaf gently in a microwave, sprinkling a little water or vegetable broth to maintain the moisture.
- Portion and freeze the cooled pilaf in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Defrost and reheat for a quick meal!
Recipe notes and tips
- If you love some heat, a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili flakes won't go amiss!
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice just before serving adds a pop of freshness.
- Use this pilaf as a filling for wraps or pitas For a fun and portable meal option.
If you liked this vegan pilaf with chickpeas, you might also like some of my other easy vegan recipes with rice:
- Greek Lemon Rice
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Vegan Cajun Risotto
- Instant Pot Chickpea Rice Soup
- Mujadara (Lebanese Lentils and Rice)