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5 from 2 votes

Fall harvest tomato saffron pilaf

Fall inspired Pilaf with tons of flavor to make any day special. Vegan and gluten-free
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Indian, seasonal
Servings: 4
Author: Khushboo


  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Whole spices

  • 1 cardamom split open
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 peppercorns
  • 1 clove

Other ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala optional
  • Generous pinch of saffron
  • Salt to taste

For roasting Brussels sprouts

  • 16-18 count cleaned Brussels sprouts halved or quartered
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave or raw sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons water

For roasting Butternut Squash

  • 1 cup cubed or fries like butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Couple of twists of pepper

Additionally needed

  • Fistful of chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Dried cranberries
  • Roasted cashews or any other nuts


  • Wash and soak rice at least for 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  • After 30 minutes drain out all the water.
  • In a wide heavy bottom or a non stick pan, heat up some oil .
  • Once warm , add in the whole spices and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Now add in the onions and saute until translucent .
  • Add in the grated garlic and the drained rice.
  • Saute the rice for 1 minute.
  • Now add in the tomato paste, turmeric, cayenne pepper, garam masala , some salt and 2 cups of water.
  • Mix well and let the rice come to a boil. Now add in the saffron and reduce the heat to low and cook the rice covered until rice is tender and all the water is absorbed say about 15 minutes.
  • Check for 80 % doneness
  • Do not overcook the rice.
  • Switch off the heat and let the rice sit covered and undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  • The rest of the rice will be perfectly cooked with the steam inside .
  • Fluff rice with the fork .
  • For pan roasting Brussels sprouts
  • In a non stick pan heat oil.
  • Once warm , add in the Brussels sprouts and cook on low medium heat stirring occasionally .
  • Add in salt and water and cook for 3-4 minutes until the sprouts feel tender and charred a bit.
  • Add in agave and pepper and keep aside.
  • For pan roasting butternut squash
  • In the same pan heat up some oil.
  • Once warm add in the squash and some salt.
  • Cook on a low heat for 8 – 10 minutes or until tender.
  • Assembling the Pilaf
  • Add the sprouts and squash to the Pilaf and give it a gentle mix ..
  • Add in fresh mint, handful of dried cranberries and nuts.
  • Serve warm .


You can roast the squash and sprouts in the oven instead of pan roasting them.
Use ghee instead of coconut oil
Make this Pilaf up to 2 days ahead of time .
Add 1-2 tablespoon more water to rice if needed.
Whole spices makes the Pilaf more fragrant and flavorful. Skip if unavailable.


Serving: 4g