HomeCasseroleVegan Baked Chana Pulao – Spiced Chickpea Rice Casserole

Vegan Baked Chana Pulao – Spiced Chickpea Rice Casserole

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Baked Vegan Chana Pulao is a simple and easy, baked chickpea rice pilaf casserole that comes together quickly but is loaded with flavors. Serve with my quick raita. 1 Pan Gluten-free Soyfree Nutfree.

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Chana pulao is a popular Indian one-pot chickpea rice dish that is made with fragrant basmati rice, protein-rich chickpeas, onions, fresh tomatoes, veggies, and bold warming Indian spices. You could also call it Chickpea pulao, chickpea pilaf, or simply chickpea rice. This easy meal is traditionally served with a side dish of raita or plain yogurt.

This recipe for Indian vegan chickpea rice casserole is not made on stovetop but in the oven! So simple, so genius. The roasting method concentrates the flavors and natural sweetness of the veggies added. We start with roasting the vegetables, then add in the rice, chickpeas and spinach and bake everything until the rice is cooked and fluffy.

This is  a One Pan casserole dish! No standing around sautéing needed!

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Before adding the rice to the casserole dish, we soak it in water. This cuts down the cooking time and also ensures we get evenly fluffy rice. For the baked chana pulao obviously, you can either cook the chickpeas from dried chickpeas (pressure cook 40 mins) or use canned chickpeas.

This baked chickpea rice casserole makes for a filling, comforting and satisfying meal that is best accompanied with some homemade raita, or a side salad.

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Why will you love this a chickpea rice casserole

  • It’s a 1 Pan meal casserole
  • No standing around sautéing the onion and spices or cooking the veggies needed
  • Rice, chickpeas, veggies and Indian spices make a fabulous combination
  • its a versatile casserole. Change up the beans and use white beans, kidney beans or other beans. Use quinoa or other grains!
  • Change up the Indian spices and use chipotle chili powder blend or Ethiopian Berbere, Jamaican curry powder or Creole seasoning for variation
  • the casserole is by default Glutenfree, Soyfree and Nutfree!

More rice dishes from the blog:

Print Recipe

5 from 23 votes

Chana Pulao Casserole or Baked Spiced Chickpea Rice Casserole

Baked Chana Pulao is a simple and easy, baked chickpea rice pilaf that comes together quickly but is loaded with flavors. Serve with my quick raita. Gluten-free.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: baked chickpea casserole, chana pulao recipe
Servings: 6
Calories: 282kcal
Author: Vegan Richa

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or use paprika for less heat
  • 1 – 2 teaspoon garam masala or curry powder or biryani masala
  • 1 cup (149 g) vegetables such as chopped peppers, carrots, peas, green beans, or other vegetables of choice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup (74.5 g) chopped tomato
  • 1 cup (156 g) frozen spinach, thawed or 2 cips chopped or baby fresh spinach
  • 15 ounce (425.24 g) can chickpeas drained or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup (185 g) white basmati rice washed and soaked for at least 15 minutes
  • 2 cups (475 ml) water
  • cilantro and lime juice for garnish

Instructions

  • To a 9×12 or similar size casserole dish, add the oil and spread. On one half of the dish, Add the onion, garlic, and toss to coat with the oil. Then add in all of the spices, generous pinch of salt and bay leaves and mix well.
  • To the other half of the dish, add the vegetables and a generous pinch of salt and toss well.
  • Bake at a preheated 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 C) oven for 14-16 minutes or until the onion is golden.
  • In the meanwhile, wash your rice if you haven’t already and soak and set aside.
  • Once the onion is golden, take the casserole dish out of the oven. Add in chopped tomato and mix well.
  • Add in spinach, chickpeas, rest of the salt, drained rice, and water and mix well. Then even it out. Cover with a foil or a clean baking sheet and put it in to bake for 35-45 minutes.
  • Check at 35 minute mark if the rice is done. Also stir at that point. Depending on your oven, the rice and the baking dish, the rice will get done in the 35-45 minute range.
  • Then take the dish out. Let it sit covered for another 5 minutes then fluff it up. Taste and adjust flavor if needed. garnish with some cilantro and lime juice.
  • I like to serve this with a simple Raita (Indian yogurt dip, see below) or with chutneys or salsa or with Indian curries or dal.

    Storage: store refrigerated in a closed container for upto 4 days.

  • For the raita, in a bowl mix 1/2 cup non dairy yogurt, 1/4 cup of more water, add in finely chopped 1/4 cup onion or cucumber, some chopped cilantro, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cumin and some cayenne as needed. Mix and serve on the side.

Notes

  • Change up the beans and use white beans, kidney beans or other beans. Use quinoa or other grains instead of rice! 
  • Change up the Indian spices and use chipotle chili powder blend or Ethiopian Berbere, Jamaican curry powder or Creole seasoning for variation. I love berbere or Jamaican curry in this pilaf! 
  • No onion garlic: omit the onion and garlic, use julienned zucchini instead., add 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves with the spices. The zucchini will cook faster than the onion so check at 12 mins.
  • No Oil: use a glass or smooth finish ceramic baking dish. Use 2-4 tablespoons broth or water instead of oil. The onions will cook faster without the oil. Check earlier, stir 2-3 times in between. Then continue as the recipe. Or sauté the onion mixture on a skillet until translucent and then just combine everything in the casserole dish to bake.
  • Brown rice: brown rice takes much longer to cook and will need an hour or so bake time and that will overcook the veggies. – Add hot boiling broth and bake, check at 50 minutes. – Or parboil the brown rice for 20 minutes, then add to the casserole dish, use 1 cup hot water/broth instead of 2 cups and continue recipe as written. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Chana Pulao Casserole or Baked Spiced Chickpea Rice Casserole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 282 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 336mg15%
Potassium 457mg13%
Carbohydrates 52g17%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 4716IU94%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 95mg10%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Ingredients:

  • white basmati rice, washed and soaked for at least 15 minutes. Or use quinoa or couscous
  • onion and garlic are minced, then tossed with spices and baked along with the veg
  • chickpea pulao spices: bay leaves, coriander,  turmeric,  ground cardamom, black pepper and cayenne or use paprika for less heat. Garam masala or curry powder or biryani masala
  • vegetables: I like chopped peppers, carrots, peas, green beans, small chopped cauliflower, spinach and tomatoes but you can use any vegetables you like
  •  you can use canned chickpeas or cook them from drained chickpeas. Use other beans for variation such as black eyed peas, kidney beans, white beans etc
  • cilantro and lime juice for garnish

Tips:

  • Basmati rice is my top choice but you can also go for Jasmine rice which has a delicate and light floral aroma.
  • Yes, you got to soak the rice! Rice generally tastes better and has a better texture when it has been soaked. For this recipe, the Basmati Rice is soaked at room temperature before cooking to release and enhance the natural flavor of the rice.
  • Feel free to up the amount of spices or add some more curry powder or garam masala or a bit of chili powder

What to serve with Chana Pulao

  • Pulao are usually served with non dairy yogurt or yogurt dip (raita)
  • you can also serve with Indian curries or dal.

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How to make vegan chana pulao:

To a 9×12 or similar size casserole dish, add the oil and spread. On one half of the dish, Add the onion, garlic, and toss to coat with the oil. Then add in all of the spices, pinch of salt and bay leaves and mix well.

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To the other half of the dish, add the vegetables and a good pinch of salt and toss well.

Bake at a preheated 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 C) oven for 14-16 minutes or until the onion is golden.

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In the meanwhile, wash your rice if you haven’t already and soak and set aside.

Once the onion is golden, take the casserole dish out of the oven. Add in chopped tomato and mix well.

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Add in spinach, chickpeas, veggies, rest of the salt, drained rice, and water and mix well. Then even it out. Cover with a foil and put it in to bake for 35-45 minutes.

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Check at 35 minute mark if the rice is done. Also stir at that point. Depending on your oven, the rice and the baking dish, it will get done in the 35-45 minute range.

Then take the dish out. Let it sit covered for another 5 minutes.

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Fluff the rice and then garnish with some cilantro and lime juice. I like to serve this vegan pulao with a simple Raita (Indian yogurt dip) or any curry or dal.

Store refrigerated in a closed container for upto 4 days.

For the raita, you can use about 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup of more water, add in finely chopped 1/4 cup onion or cucumber, some chopped cilantro, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cumin and cayenne as needed.

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