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Beetroot Rice With Coconut And Chilli

beetroot pilau

Beetroot rice that’s spicy and flavourful – my kind of dish… This pilau rice is naturally vegan and absolutely delicious. It works as both a light main dish or a sumptuous side to accompany something heavy.

beetroot pilau profile

This recipe is a wonderful way to use grated beetroot. No more waiting hours for those beetroot pieces to soften in the oven. This recipe just takes 10 minutes to cook the beetroot into a soft and silky sauce to accompany the rice.

It’s always a struggle to understand how to cook beetroot in ways that aren’t just overused. Beetroot are wonderfully earthy and tasty but they’re often relegated to side dishes or overcrowded trays of roast veg. Don’t get me wrong I love a salty tray of vegetables just like the next man, but there’s so much more to beetroot.

Beetroot are an amazing addition to the vegan cooks arsenal. Bolstering your table with vegan beetroot recipes will brighten your dishes and give you great nutritional value. Beetroot are great sources of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. So make these guys a regular part of your diet.

beetroot pilau zoomed

How to cook beetroot rice

Rice and beetroot are a match made in heaven. The earthy tones of the beetroot, mellowed by the coconut milk is an amazing way to enjoy chewy rice. You can follow this recipe for a sure fire way to make a deliciously spicy and fresh rice dish, but making other variants of beetroot rice or pilau is super easy. Here’s my formula

500g grated beetroot cooked for 10 mins in 400ml of flavourful cooking liquid + 2-4 aromatics (spices, fragrant vegetables)

mixed with

300g rice (rinsed and cooked)

= an amazingly tasty dish. And the best thing is you can use whatever rice you have. So if you have any leftovers in the fridge, just bung it together with the beetroot and hey presto you’ve re-invigorated tired rice!

Here’s some ideas for beetroot rice variants:

  • Even more fragrant pilau with cardamom pods, cinnamon and coriander seeds (using coconut milk as cooking liquid)
  • Miso and tamarind fried beetroot rice (using vegetable broth as cooking liquid)
  • Smoky paprika and tomato beetroot paella (using chopped tomatoes as cooking liquid)

I hope this formula works for you. But if you’re looking for something outside of just rice, why not try some of my other recipes on the site. My delicious beetroot and lentil ragu is sure to please in any household, or check out my roast beetroot and carrot recipe for a seasonal salad that packs a ton of flavour.

When to eat beetroot rice

Beetroot is in season from July until around February in the UK. Outside of these dates Spanish beetroot plugs the gaps in the British seasonal calendar. If you’re looking to substitute beetroot from this recipe outside of the main UK season why not try using Spinach instead. This will change the dish to something completely different, but equally delicious. Use around 1kg of spinach and wilt it in the coconut sauce before combining with the rice.

Beetroot And Coconut Pilau

A rich and spicy beetroot rice dish. This pilau rice packs tons of flavour – it's the perfect way to use up leftover rice.
beetroot pilau
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Course Main Course, Rice

This meal is around 83% less polluting than the average UK meal.

Eating this recipe will save around 2.44 KG CO2e per person.

That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving 20.20 KM in a modern car.

How do I calculate this?


  • 300 g Basmati Rice
  • 500 g Raw Beetroot (peeled and coarsely grated)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (finely diced)
  • 1 Medium Onion (finely diced)
  • 1 Medium Green Chilli (finely diced)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 (400ml) Can Coconut Milk
  • 20 g Fresh Coriander (finely chopped)
  • 75 g Unsalted Peanuts
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil


  • Preheat your oven to 200°C/425°F (fan oven).
  • Wash the 300g rice in a few changes of cold water until the water is clear. Drain the rice then place into a small saucepan and cover with 500ml of water. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Remove the rice from the heat and allow to sit in the pan until needed.
  • Heat the tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Toss in the 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and toast until they begin to give off a strong fragrance.
  • Add in the 1 diced chilli, 1 diced medium onion and 3 cloves of diced garlic. Sautee the mixture for about 5 minutes until the onion has started to take a little colour.
  • Tip the 500g grated beetroot and 1 can coconut milk into the pan and stir to combine. Bring the milk to a rolling simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Whilst the beetroot is cooking you can roast the 75g of peanuts. Loosely chop the nuts and then spread onto a baking tray. Place into the oven and roast for 10 minutes until starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and season with a generous helping of table salt.
  • Once the beetroot has simmered, uncover and season to taste. Then tip in the cooked riced, stir well. Once the beetroot is evenly incorporated with the rice, fold in the 20g chopped coriander.
  • Serve the beetroot rice with the roasted nuts scattered over the top.

Hi i'm Hugo

I started Lowly to help more people discover sustainable food. Planet-friendly food doesn’t have to be bland and boring. My recipes celebrate how diverse and flavourful it truly is.

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